Music and videos in store for London Olympics

2012-06-29 00:00

FROM recorded music by Elton John and Muse, to videos featuring Hollywood stars like Charlize Theron, to live sports commentary provided through earphones, organisers are promising to enhance the experience for spectators at the London Olympics.

Exactly one month before the July 27 opening of the games, organisers announced a series of measures this week to inform and entertain fans.

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 where a number of events are happening simultaneously. The wireless devices will cost 10 pounds (R130).

“With athletics or gymnastics, there is so much going on at one time,” said Debbie Jevans, sports director of organising 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 Olympics 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 frontperson 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.

Organisers have also compiled a catalogue of 2012 songs tailored to different sports, as part of their “Rock the Games” programme. Scissor Sisters and Rizzle Kicks are among 13 artists who will play live gigs at some venues.

The entertainment line-up 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 organisers held their first news conference at the main press centre on Wednesday in the Olympic Park. The centre will provide working facilities for 6 000 media personnel.

 

— Sapa-AP and Associated Press

Stephen Wilson

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