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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The History of the Torch

Olympic Torch Nail Art!

via sweetlyfez.tumblr.com

(Note: All links lead to the Tumblrs and images of fans.)

One element of the Olympics most prominent on the minds of fans has been the passage of the Olympic Torch. The Torch passing through one’s town can be a point of personal pride, or even just a reason to party, or make commemorative nail art. There are also several people who have held the torch  in their towns — and so have acted as momentary local ambassadors to the world because of this.

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