Friday, 3 September 2010

UK School Games - the opening ceremony

I'm back from the opening ceremony of the UK School Games, held at Gateshead International Arena. It was pretty good - a lot less funpacked than Cardiff or Bath - clearly the recession has hit funding - but at least it wasn't hammering down with rain, as it was in Cardiff. I was with the Welsh fencers this time - they're very funny and enthusiastic, considering some of them set out at 5 a.m. this morning.

Unfortunately, this is the colour of my kit. It looks even worse on my sallow corpse.

We all paraded in, with big screens capturing shots of athletes throwing shapes etc. etc. Then Jill Douglas (apparently a BBC sports presenter, very good at making the old 'Is there anyone from…?' routine sound quite fresh) compered while speeches were made by the local mayor, Jeremy Hunt (yes, it is rhyming slang in this case: he's the Tory Scum minister for culture and sport - the great broadcaster John Simpson has some harsh words for him), Amy Williams (won gold at the Winter Olympics in the skeleton) showed up with a medal, and Jonathan Edwards the world record holding triple jumper, who made quite a good speech once he stopped talking about training in Gateshead, going to the pub then driving back to Durham drunk (it was unclear who was driving, so I'm not accusing him of drink-driving). There was a team of break-dancers and some flashy graphics, Mexican waves, wolf-whistles to Mr. Edwards, then we all went home.

I took a few pictures (full set here), but we were a fair way back and the lighting was difficult. Click on these examples for bigger ones.

Jonathan Edwards. Apparently no longer a God-botherer.

Jill Douglas, Amy Williams and her Olympic gold medal

Now I'm about to patrol the accommodation for a while. Deep joy.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Nice to see that Jonathan 'no longer bothered about God' Edwards has gone for the Swedish International Playboy look. Which is an interesting look to go for when addressing the UK School Games.