Symbols of London 2012: Chris Hoy’s Imagined Community (Guest Post)

This essay is from my friend David Tobia, an undergraduate at USC taking Sports Diplomacy. More from this great class to come!

Great Britain's Chris Hoy carries the flag during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Great Britain’s Chris Hoy carries the flag during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

It’s 11:58 local time in London when the host nation finally enters Olympic Stadium. David Bowie’s Heroes blasts through speakers as the crowd sings “I – I will be King. And you – you will be queen.” Scottish Cyclist Sir Chris Hoy carries the British flag to honor his Olympic teammates as well as all the citizens of Hoy’s imagined community: Great Britain.

“Though nothing will drive them away. We can beat them just for one day – we can be heroes” the crowd continues, emphasizing the refrain: “We can be heroes!”

For the 2012 London Olympic Games, “we” includes 541 athletes – more than any other nation[1]. And “we” does not just include English athletes, but also Imogen Bankier, a badminton player from Glasgow, Scotland and Ryan Giggs, a 38-year old Welsh footballer revered for his illustrious career with Manchester United, who has never appeared in any major international tournament.

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Symbols of London 2012: The Power of Orange

via BBC

via BBC

The biggest defeat on the part of Team Great Britain in the London 2012 Olympics was to the Dutch. More specifically, it was to the color orange. What had been set up as a must-win for Team GB – as it was their home turf and a return to a men’s hockey semifinal match after a quarter of a century – ended up being a sound defeat, with a score of 9-2. The Dutch reveled heartily, the fans and athletes alike dressed head to toe in orange.

Was this color orange the charm that led to the defeat of Team GB? Should the win be chalked up to the Dutch blinding the Team GB athletes with their overpowering orange uniforms?

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