In 2012 I got the amazing opportunity to go to the Olympics in London.

My dad loves athletics and has always dreamed of going to the Olympics, his event of choice has always been mid and long distance running, he was a cross- country runner in his youth, and so when the Olympics came to London he applied for a great deal of tickets in the hope of getting to just one session.

He succeeded and I’m glad he did. Not because I love sport, I have never been the sporty type- I enjoy watching some of it- the men’d diving, gymnastics, Rugby… though I can’t say it’s always for the love of the sport.

What I found really exciting was the atmosphere in the stadium and the stadium itself. Each building in the Olympic village was completely different and yet in a strange way they all tied together.

The athletics stadium was the centre piece of the village, and in many ways the Olympic Cauldron was the centrepiece of the stadium.

The pictures don’t quite do the real thing justice.

The cauldron was designed for the 2012 Olympics by the Architect Thomas Heatherwick, as requested by Danny Boyle, director of the opening and closing ceremonies.

The cauldron was made up of 204 copper petals each carried out by and inscribed with the name of a different competing country. Each petal was then attached to steel stem and once the cauldron had been lit the petals rose in rings uniting at the top as one flame.

Watching the ceremony on the TV I was in awe of how beautiful it was, and also how unique. In terms of Olympic cauldrons, Heatherwick’s really was incredible- it wasn’t just a stationary vessel for the flame but a dynamic sculpture.

As with so many other things that I have written about in this blog, what I think makes it truly great it what it represents and how it represents it. The 2012 cauldron is a represention of how the nations come together for the Olympics, though all separate, and unique for a brief time we come together with the same goal to be a part of something incredible.

Olympic cauldrons are always sculptural, they always to their job, they are very often beautiful, but most things involving flame are, but few are this special. It did what no other cauldron has done which is allow every nation to be part of lighting the Olympic flame and made every nation an integral part of keeping the flame burning. This is a privilege which is normally reserved solely for the country hosting of course Greece, from which the flame begins its journey every 4 years.

I believe that Heatherwick’s cauldron was the perfect combination of both great art and great design since not only was it spectacular to look at but it’s function was improved by its form rather than hindered by it.

If you want to remind yourself of how it looked being lit, I recommend giving this a wee watch!

 

 

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