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Friday, July 27, 2012

The Olympics are coming! The Olympics are coming!

VIDEO: Opening Ceremonies tonight on NBC
By Will Collette

Boyle shows off a mock-up of the design for the opening ceremonies
I really love the Olympics. I'm not a huge sports nut and am only vaguely aware of how the Red Sox are doing. Don't care about the Celtics or the Bruins. I do enjoy the Pats.

But the Olympics are in their own category and from the opening pagentry through the competitions - I'm partial to swimming, diving, much of the track and a few of the arcane events. I root for long-shots. Get embarrassed at the "USA! USA!" jingoism. Am sick to death of Michael Phelps. Am hoping Elizabeth Beisel comes home with gold.

I like the opening ceremonies, only I wish they were edited down to a reasonable length. I will never forget Pavarotti closing the show a the opening ceremony for the Torino Games, or Muhammed Ali carrying the torch to light the Olympic flame.


Tonight's show could be a mind-blower, as they are being produced by Danny Boyle, the same director who did the movie "Trainspotting." Trainspotting  is easily one of the most disgusting films I have ever almost sat through. How he will craft tonight's opening should be a big surprise.

He's going to do a sort of strange, fictionalized version of the mythical English countryside and then all sorts of dramatic stuff is going to happen.

If it's anything like Trainspotting, I will run out of the room in horror. I am especially interested in what Boyle will do with the London Olympics bizarre mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville.

For some strange reason, every Olympics comes up with surreal, sometimes scary looking figures to serve as symbols of the games. They almost always look ridiculous and leave people wondering how much the Olympic organizers paid to have these creations done.

But Wenlock and Mandeville, who look like a cross between space aliens and sex organs, have been the butt of jokes worldwide. If Danny Boyle decides to put Wenlock and Mandeville into a blender as his own tribute to National Barbie in a Blender Day, I might actually last through the whole ceremony.

But should they survive tonight's opening ceremony intact, we should be seeing a lot of Wenlock and Mandeville. To learn more about them, watch this touching video on how they came to be: