Discussion on the London Olympic Ceremony


Newspaper Extract

Kim Gavin, the artistic director for the London 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony criticized past Closing Ceremonies in particular Beijing 2008 Closing Ceremony, Athens, 2004 Closing Ceremony and Atlanta 1996 Closing Ceremony are his claims justified?

The Closing Ceremony is the magnificent ending of the Olympic and Paralympics Games. They are celebrated to conclude the whole event and to handover the Olympic flag to the next Host City. The next closing ceremony that will take place on 12 August 2012 in London is being designed by Kim Gravin.

Kim Gravin criticized the past closing ceremonies because he was viewing these ceremonies from his point-of-view. Kim is famous for managing concerts and tours for popular bands and he seems to concentrate on engaging audiences rather than organizing the closing ceremony in typical way as is the tradition of the closing ceremony. Gravin said that the closing ceremony should depict culture of the host country.

While watching the ceremony there seems a depiction of culture in the past closing ceremonies too. As we see the Beijing Olympic Closing Ceremony 2008, was a depiction of Chinese culture and Chinese songs and dances were included. Along with Chinese singers and dancers celebrities from other Asian countries were also invited. Similarly the main theme of Athens Olympics closing ceremony was history. As we all know that Greec are proud of their history.

Stephen Adams discussed that the choreography that is apparent in the Beijing 2008 closing ceremony cannot be compared as it is so neat and beautiful. (Stephen Adams, 2008). Stephen (2008) discussed that London Olympic Ceremony as is being criticized in the press and media and there is lot of negative comments. In fact, Beijing ceremony was successful and vey well organized with great stars like South Korean Pop star Rain. Along with him there were other Asian celebrities like actor Jackie Chan, Soccer star David Bekhum. The ceremony started with the performance of Chinese performers and was ended by the duet song of Domingo and soprano Song Zuying. (The Korea Times, 2008)

The Athens closing ceremony was also beautified with dances and songs by best Greece singers like Charis Alexiou, Dimitra Galani, Marinella, George Dalaras, Giannis Parios, Chronis Aidonidis and many more. The medal ceremony of men’s Marathan was the part of this ceremony. (Beijing Olympic website) The Athens closing ceremony cannot be stated as remarkable and Garvin’s criticism is right. Similarly Atlanta 1996 Olympics closing ceremony had the same format of songs and performance by famous stars followed by medal ceremony. In this ceremony the athletes and spectators played card trick stunt.

Question 2: Gavin wanted the London 2012 Olympics event to be about celebrating where we (United Kingdom) are culturally in the UK. I want a typically British closing ceremony — Critically discuss this statement?

As he stated his aims for 2012 Olympics closing ceremony will represent the British culture and “we will organize it in our own way.” Spilling (2000) noted that an event is an excellent way to showcase the unique characteristics of the host environment.

Legacies, such as infrastructure, programming and funding, serve as a mean to develop and improve communities. The potential impacts cover all dimensions of society. McDonnel, Allen, and O’Tool (2004) identified the categories of impacts as social, cultural, physical, environmental, political and economic. Spilling (2000) listed the impacts into four groupings: enhanced international awareness, increased economic activity, enhanced facilities and infrastructure, and increased social and cultural opportunities. However, put, special events frequently have a lasting effect (positive or negative) and commonly cross several segments of society.

Question 3: For the London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony conduct a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis, which should be taken into consideration when planning the event.


Special events have become an important commodity for countries, cities and communicate around the globe. The prospective economic, political, social and cultural impacts of these events are substantial (Getz, 1997). The evidence of this is Olympic events. Since its inception, the Olympics have been used as a forum for cultural recognition and social and political change. The strength of this being organized by Gravin that it will definitely have positive impact as he is known for successfully organizing the event that generate great revenues.

Cultural depiction has been the main theme for almost every Olympic closing ceremony. What Gravin has stated to do seems representation of British culture in such a way to engage the diverse audience. The success of a mega event relies on its uniqueness, status or timely significance to create interest and attract attention. So if organized in a proper way, it will prove to be a great success.

Nations are now recognizing the economic influence the Olympics have on host areas. The event is seen as a resource to generate revenue and prosperity for host cities, countries and regions. What makes these appealing is special uniqueness that sets them apart from fixed attractions and normal everyday programs (Getz, 1997). Hosting the 2012 Olympic Games and closing ceremony will be profitable for London.

Innovation is the greatest strength of this ceremony. Gravin is famous for organizing grand events successfully. There are expectations that he will organize the event in an artistic way such that audience enjoys the ceremony with full attention.


Getz (1997) stated that if major events are not managed properly, they can have unintended social consequences such as substance abuse, negative crowd behavior, and an increase in criminal activity. There have been many recorded examples of special event tragedy. When the Roskilde Music Festival in Denmark experienced sound problems in summer of 2000, the audience of 50,000 people begain shoving in an attempt to get closer to the stage. As the ground was muddy from rain, dozens of people fell and were trampled, resulting in nine people being killed (Stout, 2000). The Woodstock Music Festival in 1999 saw its share of controversy. Poor sanitation and security, the lack of available water, and 90-degree heat led to dangerous concert environment. Recognizing the dangerous situation, many water and food vendors requested permission to sell their goods at lower costs, but eth Woodstock organizers refused, as granting this permission would represent lost profits. Some one-dozen trailers, as small bus and a number of booths and portable toilets were burned in the fray, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

The positive or negative impacts of special events on their host communities and their stakeholders can be substantial. Impacts can have an effect in the long and short-term. Legacies that remain after staging an event are an important aspect of the event bidding process. As Gravin criticized past ceremonies and has stated that he will organize the closing ceremony in his own way. It is possible that the ceremony may face criticism.

There will be diverse audience present in the ceremony and it cannot be anticipated whether they like much focus on British culture.

As Olympic Games is an international event so there should be inclusion and representation from other cultures too. For example, in Beijing Olympic ceremony Korean singers and other Asian stars also invited.

If Gravin includes the pop stars and leaves some other singers and performers that will bear a negative impact. As it is an international event and he must consider in organizing it in traditional way with some innovation in design and segments of the ceremony.


The strength of Gravin’s as an artistic director of the event is that all the British nationals will be happy at the ceremony. It is a grand way to promote British culture too. The British pop stars and celebrities will get grand coverage and will have chance to reach a vast and diverse audience. Culture is not just traditional dances, songs and performance etc. These will also include the UK foods in the form of stalls at the event and it will be promotion of this industry too.

Getz (1997) made distinctions between various economic impacts including tourism, whereby the event generates revenue by attracting people from around the world to the host region. Millions of dollars are generated by host cities through an influx of spectators and visitors. UK Sport (1999) had a much different ideology of the identifiable impacts of special events, representing a more performance-based perspective. They identified three main impacts: winning performances, the development of sports, and economic benefits. These views provided evidence that special events create impacts in a number of different ways.

Question 4:Gavin has asked you to help with the planning, design and staging of the London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony. Can you (i) devise a vision statement with four related mission statements; and, (ii) advise Gavin on the following ~ at least two elements? Issues of cultural sensitivity in event design

Marketing of the London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony

Not until recently have special events been seen as their own sustainable and profitable industry. In the 1980s, governments and the corporate sector began to recognize the numerous benefits of hosting events. The 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles was one of the first instances in which an event of its magnitude was used as an entrepreneurial initiative. Rather than functioning solely as a sporting event, the ’84 Summer Games delivered a broader scope of entertainment never before seen or attempted. The event encompassed entertainment not only in the form of sporting competition, but also in music and arts (Masterman, 2004). It is now understood that special events possess a powerful role in the society.

2012 Olympic closing ceremony will be a mega event as it will have a large effect on the entire economy of the UK. The event is going to get huge media coverage that is why it is important to adopt right marketing strategy for this event.

Issues of human resource management

Human resource management is vey important aspect of this grand event. The better evetn mangers and event management organizations understand the labor force and employs hired for the event the better resources can be allocated to effective recruitment and retaining strategies.

Workers and employees are important part of the event. They perform day-to-day tasks that are required in order to run the event effectively. It is necessary to adopt motivation strategies for the workforce employed for 2012 Olympics. Hoy and Miskel (1982) defined ‘motivation as the complex forces, drives, needs, tensions, states, or other mechanisms that start and maintain voluntary activity toward the achievement of personal goals’ (p.137). Robbins (1997) explored behavioral motivation with an organizational context.

In 2204, the latest in the series of National Survey’s of Giving, Volunteering and participating was conducted using the Canadian population. The study found that some volunteer were motivated by a sense of obligation to an organization or their community, some were motivated by the opportunity to develop professionally, and others were motivated by the opportunity to build or maintain social connections. Almost all volunteers agreed that making a contribution to their community was the most important reason for their volunteering. The other most frequently reported reasons for volunteering the opportunity to use one’s skills and experience, being personally affected by the cause, to meet other people and because friends volunteered at that organization. The least frequently reported reasons were to fulfill religious obligations, or to improve job opportunities (NSGVP, 2004)

Pre-event research, during event evaluation, and post-event evaluation

Hallmark events refer to happenings that become so identified with the spirit of a town, city, country or region, that they consequently become synonymous with the name of the place, gaining widespread recognition and awareness (McDonnell, 1999). This event will attract tourists all over the world as Richie (1984) stated that mega events help to enhance awareness, appeal and profitability of a tourism destination in the short and long terms.

Naturally there are cases where planning and management could not predict or prepare for certain situations. The Munich and Atlanta Olympic Games saw terrorist interference and conflict overshadow the essence of the games, and have subsequently shaped the way security measured are managed today.

The 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway was the first instance in which the environment played a major role in the planning, organization, and implementation of the games. They coined the event the ‘Green Games’. The success of the event has served as a catalyst for environmentally sustainable event management.


Hoy, W., & Miskel, C.1982. Educational administration: Theory, research, and practice. NEw York: Random House.

Masterman, G.2004. In Lashley C.(Ed), Strategic sports event management: An international approach. Great Britian: Elsevier Butterworth Heinemann.

McDonnell, I., Allen, J., & O’Toole, W.1999. Festivals and special event management. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons Australia

National Survey on Giving, Volunteering and Participating. 2004. Ottawa: Stastics Canada

Richie, J. 1984. Assessing the impact of hallmark events: Conceptual and research issues. Journal of Travel Tourism, 23(1), 2-11.

Robbins, S. 1997. Essentials of organizational behavior. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Spilling, O. 2000. Beyond intermezzo? On the long-term industrial impacts of mega-events — the case of Lillehammer 1994. Evaluatio of events: Scandinavian experiences. New York:

Stephen Adams 2008. London Olympics: ‘Tacky’ 2012 handover show attacked on official website accessed online from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/2631439/London-Olympics-Tacky-2012-handover-show-attacked-by-British-bloggers.html

Stout, G. 2000. Pearl Jam’s Darkest Hour: Seattle Band Thoughts about Quitting after Concert Death. Retrieved November 14, 2011 from Seattle Post website: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/pop/per101.shtm.

The Korea Times 2008. “Rain Performs in the Closing Ceremony of Beijing Olympics” accessed online from http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/sports/2011/07/253_29912.html

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