Look what I just woke up to! I don’t believe it. I’m supposed to be out in London taping the Olympic Torch Relay with a couple producers who just flew in from China. And we will be. In many many layers of clothing, hopping from tea shot to tea shop to keep warm. In case you can’t see it, that’s not only few inches of snow, but it’s coming down fast and heavy….
You can read about today’s London Olympic Torch Relay chaos via many news links on Google. It’s a bit odd reading about it all, having just been in the middle of it all a couple hours ago. It really was an odd day: cold, wet, police everywhere, helicopters overhead, crowds packed together, the press (me included) enclosed in our media pens.
The relay was quite a mess, really, with Free Tibet protestors and not-the-finest-planning-by-the-city-and-PR-company making it a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants affair. Nobody official could ever really tell you what was going to happen until after it happened, because it all kept changing. Furthermore, all the Olympic Torch runners were absolutely surrounded by police in their yellow jackets, so you couldn’t see the runners or the torch. That kind of chaos is far from the Olympic ideal of freedom, beauty, grace, unity, and strength, making for a day that felt more like a paradox than a parade.
One of our big stops was supposed to be at St Paul’s Cathedral, where an Olympic medalist was supposed to run in, present the torch to the Lord Mayor of London, and hand it off to the next runner. Instead, the runner was tired of having people jump at him from the crowd, and refused to finish his run. He hopped on the bus, and drove off, with the hordes of police following like a swarm of bees. So the Lord Mayor, Royal Guard Band, the press, and a couple thousand onlookers were left with nothing to see or do on the Cathedral steps.
In the end, however, we did get some shots we needed, and we did get an interview with runner Danny Crates. And just as we packed up from that interview, the sky cleared, the sun came out, and it felt like an entirely different day. We came home feeling positive and satisfied, in spite of everything.