On a lighter note: Olympics satellite operators, fighter pilots and British competitors are ready (for a sit down)

by | Jul 26, 2012 | History, On a Lighter Note | 0 comments

At the official start of the London 2012 Olympics, it is not just the Olympic competitors that are prepared, satellite operators have been putting out press releases noting that they are also ready for action .  Eutelsat Communications notes that coverage of the London Olympic Games, the world’s leading international multi-sport events, is expected to generate over 2,000 hours of satellite transmissions. Capacity on four Eutelsat satellites has been booked by broadcasters from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South America to transmit live coverage of 300 events in 36 sports as well as official ceremonies, interviews and breaking news.

Also ready for action are the United Kingdom’s armed forces and security services around the games, but perhaps a little too much so.  The Olympic games is rapidly getting the feel of a modernised version of the Battle of Britain, with the latest Eurofighter Typhoon jets scrambling from the Battle of Britain air station at RAF Northolt instead of the Hawker Hurricanes that flew from there in 1940 (there has been only one jet scramble alert so far over an apparently unresponsive aircraft near Heathrow); and with modern-day Rapier and Starstreak surface-to-air missiles aiming at the skies over London rather than World War II-era 40mm Bofors and 3.7 inch anti-aircraft guns.    All we need now is a modern-day Observer Corps on the top of London’s roofs and all will be complete.

Mind you, all this might be pointless as the Germans have already got their targets: all the best Olympics tickets (and sunbeds) at London 2012 J. They did this via their infinitely more sensible first-come first-served ticket booking service, while all this writer could get via the British ticket lottery system was some to women’s boxing!  Ah well, at least his wife might now learn how to box his ears with a little more finesse. J

Graffiti artist Banksy used his stencil art to highlight the militarisation of the Olympics by depicting an athelete about to-throw a scaled-down AIM-9J Sidewinder missile as a javelin.  Courtesy: Banksy

More seriously, whether security is perceived as too overt or not, no-one involved actually wants any military or diplomatic incident to ruin what should be a peaceful and fun Olympic games.  Unfortunately Olympics’ organisers nearly did this this by inadvertently depicting the North Korean women’s football team with the South Korean flag before their pre-opening ceremony football game. The organisers quickly apologised for their error.

While some have complained that the Olympics have become overly commercial, perhaps they have become a little too competive as well. It is noted here that most British atheletes and runners could not make the opening ceremony due to last minute training abroard.  Whether these atheletics competitors perform well or not, the British medal haul will probably have some gold in it – at least if the rowing, sailing and cycling competitions go as planned.  Actually, the Brits tend to do very well at those sports where they can have a sit down.  J And, by the way, they should defiintely bring back poetry and etching as Olympic competitions, as we might have had a good chance in those as well.

Of course, the British do other things well sitting down too but it might be best not to disclose this or even note any preference for it.  The now-deceased but much loved comedy film actor, Sir Peter Ustinov, found this out when he was called up to serve in the British Army in 1942 during World War II.  At the time Ustinov was hoping to be promoted to an officer but his plans for promotion were dashed by him not “showing the right military spirit” at his officer selection board. 

When asked at the board interview if he had any preferences as to the arm he wished to serve in, he replied that we wanted to serve in tanks as he “preferred to go into battle sitting down.”  The amusingly honest Ustinove was sent back to an infantry regiment as a private. 🙂



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