No one else could have done it with such aplomb. Boris Johnson’s performance as major of the new host city at the closing ceremony of Beijing 2008 was second to none.

  • A stadium full of the world – everyone dressed to the nines or looking immaculate or both. But Boris – well he looked scruffy, even in a suit.
  • And then there was the stage-managed procession with Beijing’s mayor – but Boris seemed in a bit of a rush, and so bounded up the dais steps two at a time and got there first. Perhaps he’d forgotten that this was the only Olympic race whose result had already been decided – it was definitely London’s for the taking. But perhaps we should give him a gold medal anyway, for effort.
  • Then the question of the flag-waving itself. Boris had claimed he’d been practising for his big moment for weeks. Fortunately, he was not the only one who found it quite tricky. Having been handed a half-unfurled Olympic flag by a PRC soldier (who’ll probably be court-martialled for his efforts) the Beijing mayor struggled – as did IOC president Jacques Rogge. But Boris manfully manged to unfurl his banner – and London could breathe a sigh of jubilant relief. Their mayor had not dropped it nor speared someone with it. His rehearsals come into their own.

All in all, it made me feel proud to be a Brit and a Londoner (in contrast, i should say, to the sight of aging rock stars and footballers on top of a fake London bus). Roll on 2012.

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. raincoaster

    I’m STILL looking for video of that moment. Until I find it, I refuse to believe it was really Boris. It was a computer-generated illusion, subbed in by nervous organizers. It is the only thing that explains why he didn’t offend someone or put an eye out with that thing.

  2. Ross

    I’m also in disbelief that BJ was our representative!
    I know his act is all very amusing and endearing for now but is ‘a bumbling buffoon’ rooted in historic inequalities, aristocratic amateurism and outdated tradition really the image we want to present to the world? It smacks of 19th rather than 21st century to me. I dread to think how he’s going to muck up Ken’s legacy of getting London on track t be a host city – just as the investment in the tube, buses, public spaces, etc. begins to make a difference I can see cuts ahead for everything apart from the flowerbeds of K_C and Noting Hill!
    By the way was the word major instead of mayor in sentence 2 a Etonian Freudian slip for what they teach and prepare you for?

  3. Jeremy

    The Chinese were horrified from what I hear, but I think enthusiastic bumbling is without a doubt the spirit of London 2012.
    And if the bus and Beckham is the best we could do with 8 minutes and £2.5 million, God help us when we have a whole ceremony to plan.

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