Memorable Summer Olympic Backdrops?

The diving pool in Barcelona '92 and Bird’s nest stadium of 2008 stick in the mind but without being too parochial about it I reckon London 2012 is racking up a few notables as well.

The Beach Volleyball in Horseguards parade is stunning, the Mall and Hampton court finishes to the Cycling is pretty darn special, as is the equestrian at Greenwich. Rowing has Windsor Castle as a backdrop and even the Sailing has a proper English seaside scene behind it.

If you ask me it is the purpose built venues that lack something in impact.

And above all we have the good old English weather as a constant companion. Ever-changing. When you see those lumpy grey and brilliant white clouds scudding past you appreciate why Constable and Turner painted as they did.

I like the idea of this thread, but frankly can’t think of much that stands out in memory for the Summer Olympics. The Winter Olympics has had some cool venues (the Viking Ship for speedskating in Lillehammer and the speedskating arena in Vancouver), though.

Unfortunately the backdrop for the gymnastic events tends to be someone else running by or flipping around in the background. Kind of distracting for the viewer.

Yes, quite. Sort of my point really. Apart from a very few previously (see OP) I can’t bring too many others to mind.

Perhaps the London games may prompt other cities to use more photogenic venues.

Athens 2004 used Olympia (the site of the ancient Olympic games) as the venue for the shot put tournament. Archery was held in the Panathinaiko Stadium, which was also the finish line for the marathon.

I love “the marshmallow”.

Like the OP, was trying to come up with some examples myself while watching volleyball. Wasn’t very successful unfortunately. The scene at Horse Guards Parade will probably be the iconic image from these games and was a absolute master stroke my the London OC.

In absence of any other great ideas, I’ll mention that I spent a few mental cycles imagining what cool backdrops Chicago could have arranged had they won the bid for 2016. Obviously Volleyball on North Avenue or Oak Street beaches would have been pretty great with the lake on one side and the skyline on the other. The rowing events in the Lincoln Park Lagoons would have been pretty cool too, though I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be wide enough for 4 across rowing. The Chicago River, under all the bridges and between the sky scrapers, would be epic. Not sure where the London games are doing the rowing but it’s certainly not on the Thames downtown.

The Thames is tidal, so presumably wasn’t deemed suitable (even though it hosts many major regattas and the Oxford-Cambridge boat race). Also, it isn’t wide enough for six boats side by side.

They always seem to host the rowing on a lake, which is presumably wide enough and calm enough, so I’m not sure your Chicago river would work either.

A lake also doesn’t have any bends in it. Part of the strategy of the Oxford-Cambridge race is dealing with the side of the river you’re on and the advantage that it might confer dependent on the bends. Given this is decided by the toss of a coin and there’s only two boats, you’d struggle with 6 on the river and some being at a major disadvantage due to their position on a bend.

On topic, the marathon can provide some of this stuff. There’s a great picture of Abebe Bikila winning the 1960 marathon in Rome, running down the cobbled Appian Way in his bare feet. Also, old and decrepit though it might be, the LA Colosseum in 1984 looked like a great venue with arches at one end and everything. The Birds Nest is a great stadium - but from the outside - you don’t generally spend the athletics looking at the outside of the stadium. Better that it look really good on the inside.

This year, there’s also the Archery - I think it looks pretty good in front of the pavilion at Lords.

I’m pretty sure the rules say it has to be on a lake, with no current to screw things up. The rowing events are being held at Dorney, near Eton (the lake was built by the famous Eton school). It is beside the Thames, at least. :slight_smile: