While London and the world were enthralled with Olympians showing us what they worked their entire lives for, there were distractions that took the focus away from the athletes. One individual who isn’t competing in the Games but has shared the Olympic spotlight was London-based street artist and Oscar-nominated documentarian, Banksy.
Before the Olympics, Banksy posted photos on his website of his latest works: “Hackney Welcomes the Olympics” and “Going for Mould.” Both stencils are Olympic-themed and may trouble the International Olympic Committee which maintains an iron fist over Olympic branding, not to mention the British Transport Police (BTP), which have been busy arresting alleged street artists and banning them from coming within a mile of any Olympic venue.
That’s why Banksy has left the locations of his most recent Olympic-related graffiti artworks a secret. That might explain why they have escaped the alleged whitewashing of other street artists and their work in the lead up to the Games.
Two pieces by the incognito artist have popped up on the streets of London that look like pictures of Olympic athletes. But like all of Banksy’s work, upon further inspection, there’s social commentary behind it. The first, titled Javelin Missile,depicts an Olympic athlete getting ready to throw a javelin made out of a missile, while the other is a bit more subtle.
The second piece, Pole Vault, looks like an actual athlete doing a pole vault over a real barbed wire fence and there happens to be a dirty mattress strategically placed in front of the piece for the athlete to land on. Call it the “ghetto-Olympics,” if you will.
Despite being an internationally renowned street artist who was nominated for an Academy Award last year for his documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop, Banksy has managed to keep his identity a secret and works solely under his pseudonym. Before the Olympics, four street artists were arrested by police in London in the lead up to the Olympic Games, on suspicion of conspiring to inflict criminal damage.
The London 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony celebrated the amazing sporting feats of the athletes who have taken part in the Games with the ultimate aftershow party.
The Ceremony featured more than 4,100 performers, including 3,500 adult volunteers and 380 schoolchildren from the six east London Host Boroughs, and showcased the great creative talent of the UK in a fun, colourful and festive atmosphere.
Following an introduction to daily life in London, the athletes entered the Olympic Stadium and volunteers were thanked. ‘A Symphony of British Music’ followed to celebrate the fact that music has been one of Britain’s strongest cultural exports over the last 50 years.
Another big surprise was the presence of Spice Girls. The band returned to perform a medley of Wannabe and Spice Up Your Life as part of a musical spectacular marking the end of the London Olympics.
At the end of the Ceremony, the Olympic Games were handed over to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games, and the Olympic Flame was extinguished, signalling the end of the London 2012 Olympic Games.