An Eternal Flame: London’s Olympic Legacy at the Museum of London

It seemed like it was an age in coming. The build up seemed endless. No one really thought we’d be ready in time, until an American Presidential Candidate questioned London’s preparedness. Then all of a sudden the Games were upon us, announcing itself in the patriotic and defiant roar of Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony. All too soon, the London 2012 Olympic Games were over, briefer than Tom Daley‘s trunks (but more on them later…)

Truly it was a golden summer of sport for Team GB, coming third in the overall Olympic medal table with a total of 65 medals. Fans of stats and obscure facts will be interested to note that if Yorkshire competed as an independent nation they would have placed12th overall. Speaking to the BBC, Andy Hunt CEO of the British Olympic Association said “This is our greatest performance of our greatest team at the greatest Olympics ever.”

The London 2012 logo on an Olympic torch
The London 2012 Olympics

But what does this have to do with the Museum of London?

Calm down, I’m getting there…

The Games had a massive and lasting impact on London – as well as the rest of the UK- and now the dust has settled, the Museum of London is catching its breath to look back and reflect. Opening the Olympics tells the story of the London 2012 Games through the outfits, objects and personal stories of those involved… I think you might guess what’s coming up now..

Those of you who follow Sharon Ament, Director of the Museum of London, ‘pon the Twitter might remember this post from back in January:

Who could resist dropping in to have a look at such an iconic piece of swimwear? Not this intrepid museum adventurer! Here they are in all their glory.

Tom Daley's, ahem, uniform
Tom Daley’s, ahem, uniform

They are ridiculously tiny! Although the 28″ trunks are the Star Piece of the display, they are a little bit difficult to spot…

Other Olympic Heroes were recognised, such as cycling-supremo Bradley “Wiggo” Wiggins, who, as well as winning Olympic Gold also won the Tour de France. Here you can see the Yellow Jersey he wore for the Opening Ceremony.

Bradley Wiggins' Yellow Jersey
Bradley Wiggins’ Yellow Jersey

The Museum invites us to look at the Jersey carefully… Do we notice anything odd? The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that it isn’t an official Tour de France jersey, but instead one the costume team sourced especially for the ceremony at the last minute to reflect his win, which happened just days before.

After mentioning that ceremony so much, it’s only right to include this picture:

Olympic Opening Ceremony costumes
Olympic Opening Ceremony costumes

The screen behind the costumes played clips of the ceremony. I was lucky enough to see Mary Poppins defeat Lord Voldemort and other villains from children’s literature, which was my favourite part of the whole show. I felt all warm’n’fuzzy rewatching it, especially in the context of looking at the London Olympics as a whole.



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