The United Kingdom is only topped by one other country- the US , in the number of times a country has hosted the prestigious Olympics Games.  It hosted the 1908 Summer Olympics, the 1948 Summer Olympics, and the most recently concluded 2012 Summer Olympics.  The 1948 Summer Olympics was the first Olympic Games held after World War II.  It was supposed to be held in 1944 but was cancelled because  of the war.  All these three events were held in the city of London, as other bidders specifically Manchester and Birmingham failed in their respective attempts to get the deal.

It is of special note that the first Olympics hosted by London was only the third to be held outside Athens, Greece.  It was a very productive event for UK as it finished off with the most number of medals.  It wasn’t as fortunate during the 1948 Olympics as it was only ranked 12th in the number of medals won.  In the 2012 Olympics, the British contingent fared much better, placing 3rd in the ranking of number of medals won by country.

The British Olympic Association oversees the organization of participating athletes for the team known as “Team GB” which stands for Great Britain, for the summer, winter and youth Olympics.  Countries which are considered constituents of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland include England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.  Also included are Crown Dependencies specifically Guemsey, Isle of Man, and Jersey and British Overseas Territories Anguilla, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, South Georgia, and Turks and Caicos Islands.  Great Britain holds the distinction of being one of the very few countries represented in all Summer and Winter Olympics.

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, more popularly known as London 2012 was officially opened by no less than Queen Elizabeth II.  The event required considerable redevelopment of various existing facilities and the construction of the Olympic Park.  The program featured 26 sports in all.

 

 

 

 

 

When people talk about British sports, the first thing that would probably come to mind would be football, or footsie as enthusiasts like to call it. However, there are other sports that originated in England and one of them is cricket. This sport has been around for centuries and can actually be traced back to the Tudor times in the 16th century.

Who played the first game of cricket? It really is not clear but some historians think that the game of cricket was invented by the children of workers in the farming and metalworking industries. Another theory is that cricket could have been played by Prince Edward in the 1300s. The former is actually the more accepted explanation.

Today, cricket is played by countless people in various countries. It has gone a long way from its humble origins centuries ago. Although cricket may not have reached the heights that football is currently enjoying, it really does have its own huge following.

How do you play cricket? It is played on a green field – much like many other sports. In the middle of the field, there is a flat strip of bare ground 20 meters long. It is called the cricket pitch. At each end of the cricket pitch, a wooden device is placed. This is called the wicket and it is used as the target. The cricket ball, weighing in at 160 grams and made of hard leather, is bowled by a player towards a wicket. The opposing team has a batsman who guards the wicket to avoid the ball hitting the target.

These are the basics of the game which has captured the hearts of many people around the world. You should try watching a game just to see what it’s like.

Darts, a worldwide famous sport today, traces its origins in England where most of the professional dart players today originate. Darts holds the key towards the national past time sport, similar to that of football and basketball which has been a famous activity in parts of America and Asia to date.

English Darts

Darts for its part has been known to be only a recreational activity that goes along with beer. But the level of competition that many would refer to as the Masters of Darts tournament have their own set of traditions and distinctions.

Darts actually originated in the middle ages where soldiers would hurl arrows on the upturned side of a barrel where arrows would be hurled closest to the cork bung, with the closes being the winner. Today, the concept has been totally developed into bulls eyes, where the score would be higher than that of farther hit targets in darts.

[tags]darts, sports, traditions, culture, competition[/tags]

london-2012-olympics-logoThe competition to become the host of the summer Olympics is always a tough one. After all, more than the honor and distinction that a country gets from being the Olympic host, the economy gets a major boost because of tourism.

The next Olympics, as you should already know, is to be held in London. 2012 is the year, and the UK won the bid as host. However, things are not going as smoothly as everyone has been hoping. The fact is that the British government initially was counting on private financing for a large part of the project. This is not unusual since many companies vie for a piece of the pie when it comes to this event as well. Millions of money that is spent on advertising and sponsorship will naturally turn into income for these companies anyway.

This time, however, it seems that the recession is really biting hard. The British government has been unable to get enough private financing for the 2012 Olympics. As such, they have been putting in a lot of money into the project. As a matter of fact, they recently used $491 million to create the Olympic Village. And since its taxpayer’s money that they are using, the Village is going to remain a property of the government, to do with as they wish when the Olympics is over.

While it may not seem to be a good thing for the taxpayers right now, it should work out just fine. After all, the sales and proceeds from the event will all go back to the government.

ricky-hatton280x390There isn’t much love lost between close “relatives” the Americans and the British. That much is common knowledge. Yet the two nations have much more in common than one would think. And come 2 May, it seems that there will be a juxtaposition of the British and American culture – together with the rest of the boxing world.

For those who are not really into boxing, the 2nd of May is a big day. It is the day when boxing greats Manny Pacquiao of The Philippines and Ricky Hatton of The United Kingdom. This match is expected to be one of the biggest – if not THE biggest – this year. Tempo has this report:

Las Vegas is anticipating a British invasion in the final days leading to the May 2 super fight between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton.

The 12-round super-lightweight slugfest will be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and those who won’t make it inside the 16,000 arena can still feel the electricity as the promoters are setting up closed circuit viewing stations in seven hotels also operated by the MGM-Mirage group.

Would you believe the reports are saying that 35,000 British fans crossed the ocean to see Hatton fight Mayweather way back in 2007? And of that 35,000, a mere 5,000 Britons were able to get tickets to watch the fight. As for the unfortunate rest who were not able to get tickets, they flooded the streets of Vegas in support of their countryman. With Pacquiao and Hatton being much bigger today than they were back then, this fight will surely bring in more Britons to Vegas.

'Slumdog Millionare' star Freida Pinto officially re-opens Liberty's

As I am writing this piece, my eyes alternate between the telly and my laptop screen. I am so tempted to just do away with the laptop and keep my eyes glued to the telly. Good thing I have a propensity for multi-tasking – I make use of my ears as well! Oh, and I am also monitoring the web for live blogging on the Oscars. Twitter, in particular is so much fun to follow at this time as everyone in the world seems to be glued to the Oscars. Though many quips lean towards the negative end of the spectrum, I have to say that one thing is for sure: the British are looking really really good.

Heavy favourite Slumdog Millionaire has already garnered a lot of awards. This is no surprise as the movie has won so many awards in the past month or so. Everyone has been saying that the Oscars is merely a formality – the movie has proven its worth.

Still, actually seeing the nominations on screen, hearing the winners announced, and seeing the people go up on stage to accept their Oscars is something else. There are other British players on the show but Slumdog Millionaire seems to be at the center of everything. As of this writing, the Best Picture award has not been given yet but I have a strong feeling that Slumdog Millionaire just might make it. Of course, I have been wrong before. And even if the movie does not get the award, I think that it has gone a very long way.

Meet Ricky Hatton

Ricky Hatton v Paulie Malignaggi

Boxing enthusiasts will not need to be informed as to who the man behind this name is. For the benefit of those who are not so updated, Ricky Hatton is one of the newest names to make it big in the world of boxing. Born in 1978 in Stockport, Greater Manchester, he is also known by the moniker “The Hitman.”

And one heck of a hitman he is! Look at this list of achievements (courtesy of Wikipedia):

Hatton is a two-time IBF and IBO Light Welterweight Champion, having relinquished the IBF belt, only to step back down to the weight class and beat Juan Urango. He was the WBA Welterweight Champion, but relinquished this title on 31 August 2006. Hatton is also the former WBU, WBA Light Welterweight Champion and WBC, WBA, WBO Inter-Continental Light Welterweight Champion, and current Ring Magazine Junior Welterweight Champion.

He rings in an impressive 45 wins, 1 loss, and 0 draws. Of those wins, 32 of them were knockouts, 12 were by decision, and 1 by disqualification. And guess who he lost to? No less than Floyd Mayweather, Jr. That shows you just how good Ricky Hatton is.

Still, he is not without his faults. In fact, some detractors call him Ricky Fatton, referring to his propensity to be 25 to 40 pounds over his fight weight when he is not training for a fight. This has actually been used as an explanation for his sometimes sluggish performance. But hey, a full English breakfast before his fights has not stopped him from his wins, has it?

No one knew for sure who was going to win the F1 championship this year. For the longest time, it was Hamilton who was dominating most of the races but you know, in this sport, you can never be sure about the outcome. In the end, Lewis Hamilton proved to be all that his fans have been dreaming of. The global media has been having a heyday at his win as well. This young British driver has made the headlines all over the world and countless eyes are on him. It is just fitting to show an excerpt of a news report from The Times Online, one of the leading British newspapers:

Lewis Hamilton produced the most dramatic climax to any Formula One season at Interlagos yesterday and the world’s media has responded by hailing the man many believe can go on to become one of the true greats.

Hamilton and his McLaren team kept their nerve in the rain, overtaking Timo Glock’s Toyota almost within sight of the finish line to write the 23-year-old’s name into motorsport history. Hamilton has become Formula One’s youngest champion and only the second man to win the title in his second season.

In Britain Hamilton has dominated front and back pages with The Sun leading with the headline “Phew, Lew”, the Daily Mirror saying “Lew Beauty” and the Daily Mail declaring the champion as “Last-lap Lewis, the £100m British hero”.

Naturally, not everyone is happy with his achievement. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, of course, but this is something that Britain can be very proud of.

The Beijing Olympics closed yesterday and the torch has been successfully (and grandly, if I may add) passed on to the host of the 2012 Olympics – London. I don’t know about you, but I am quite excited about this. The big even may be 4 years away but as early as now, the organizers of the next Olympics are already up and about, making preparations.

The Independent, however, has reported something that is a bit alarming. Apparently, there is still a lack of sponsors for the 2012 Olympics.

Which names do you remember from the Beijing Olympics? The Mansfield Mermaid Rebecca Adlington? The cyclists Chris Hoy or Rebecca Romero? Manulife? Atos Origin? The last two did not win gold, they spent it, but if their names have passed you by, their £50m sponsorship looks like money badly spent.
Several of the Olympics’ 12 main sponsors are questioning whether the cost has been worth it, and that is worrying London as it tries to persuade commercial companies to bridge its funding gap for the 2012 Games.

This is not good news but then again, there is still a long road ahead for the organizers. I think that many big companies were waiting for the Beijing Olympics to end before making any commitments. One good thing that can contribute to encouraging British companies to shell out some money for the London Olympics is the fact that Team GB did pretty well in the Beijing Olympics – they in fact surpassed most people’s expectations.

I guess we have to sit back, wait, and hope that the companies would have a change of heart.

The British team may not have won the most number of medals at the Beijing Olympics but as this year’s games come to an end, Britain and its culture is set to gain worldwide exposure. We all know that the next Olympic Games, to be held in 2012, are going to be in London. The country fought long and hard for it and even as the current Olympics are not even done, people involved are already making preparations for the next event.

Later on tonight, when the 2008 Beijing Olympics formally draws to an end, the organizers of the 2012 London Olympics will have the chance to put the spotlight on London and the next Olympics. The Scotsman reports:

Rock legend Jimmy Page and singer Leona Lewis will lead the way with a new version of the Led Zeppelin classic ‘Whole Lotta Love’, while footballer David Beckham will also make an appearance alongside Team GB.

The set will begin after London Mayor Boris Johnson receives the Olympic flag in an official handover ceremony, and starts with a red London double-decker bus driving around the Bird’s Nest stadium being pursued by Team GB cyclists Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Shanaze Reade.

Bill Morris, London 2012’s director of ceremonies, said they were not aiming to try to match Beijing in terms of scale at the handover ceremony but that the approach would be “simple and creative”.

I think the fact that Jimmy Page and David Beckham are going to be part of the cast is enough for me to want to watch the ceremony later on.