Olympics to be star-studded affair
From recorded music by Elton John and Muse, to videos featuring Hollywood stars like Charlize Theron, to live sports commentary provided through earphones, organizers are promising to enhance the experience for spectators at the London Olympics.
Exactly one month before the July 27 opening of the games, organizers announced a series of measures Wednesday to inform and entertain fans inside and outside the venues.
For the first time at a Summer Games, spectators will be able to listen to live commentary and analysis via earphones — a service particularly tailored to sports in which a number of events are happening simultaneously. The wireless devices will cost 10 pounds ($15).
”With athletics or gymnastics, there is so much going on at one time,” said Debbie Jevans, sports director of organizing committee LOCOG. ”In-ear commentary can enhance that and direct the spectator in the stadium to let them know what’s going on.”
LOCOG has also produced videos that will be shown before each competition providing a look at the history and rules of the sport.
”A lot of people have bought tickets for sports they will be seeing for the first time,” Jevans said. ”When watching handball or water polo for the first time, these videos will help you actually understand what’s going on.”
Music will also play a big part in the Olympic experience.
British trio Muse has recorded the official song for the games, a thundering rock anthem called ”Survival” that was broadcast for the first time on Wednesday on BBC radio. The song will be played during the Olympics as athletes enter the venues and before medal ceremonies.
”I wrote it with the games in mind as it expresses a sense of conviction and determination to win,” Muse frontman Matt Bellamy said.
Four other official tracks have been composed for the games, and recorded by Elton John with Pnau, Delphic, Chemical Brothers and Dizzee Rascal.
Organizers have also compiled a catalog of 2,012 songs tailored to different sports as part of their ”Rock the Games” program. Scissor Sisters and Rizzle Kicks are among 13 artists who will play live gigs at some venues.
The entertainment lineup will also feature performances by military bands, ballet troupes, street dancers, cheerleaders and jump-rope teams.
Videos have been recorded by celebrities that will be shown at the end of each sports session to say goodbye to the fans. Among those appearing are Hollywood actresses Theron, Geena Davis and Helen Mirren, ”Harry Potter” stars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, and Olympic greats Mark Spitz and Nadia Comaneci. Spectators are reminded to ”mind the gap” when they take the Underground train home.
Jevans said the music, videos and other entertainment won’t distract spectators or take away from the sports action — including at Wimbledon, where the Olympic tennis tournament will be played just three weeks after the tradition-laden Grand Slam event.
”When there is a tennis match, there will be silence when the athlete serves,” Jevans said. ”We’re not suddenly going to play Muse when the athlete throws the ball up to serve.
”We’re not going to turn tennis into beach volleyball, or gymnastics into basketball. The sport’s integrity is maintained. We’ve just enhanced the way that we’re going to showcase it.”
Jevans spoke to The Associated Press after organizers held their first news conference at the main press center, which officially opened Wednesday in the Olympic Park in east London. The center, which covers 333,000 square feet over four floors, will provide working facilities for 6,000 media personnel.
Associated Press writer Martin Benedyk contributed to this report.