WGSN’s Active director Clare Varga looks forward to the Olympics every four years. Here she explains why the event is so magical.
This week kicks off our Olympics Games countdown coverage on WGSN (the main site) and WGSN Insider as we gear up for the magic of the Olympics and Paralympics in Rio. This is not your average year though, there is so much else going on in the world at the moment that you might not have realised that the games were even kick-starting next week. There hasn’t been much hype on TV, or in fashion campaigns and you can barely see evidence of it in the visual merchandising of most retail stores. That coupled with the bad press around travel to Rio and Zika, has some industry professionals thinking that this might be the first year the Olympics Games will fall flat.
But that’s not what I think, in fact I would say the opposite is true, because ultimately, the second the games begin – the stories, the athletes and the magic of sport will win through; it always has and it always will.
From the second that the Opening Ceremony kicks off (this year with a full carnival party) we will be mesmerised again. We’ll watch glued to the screen to celebrate the sheer hard work and determination that the athletes have put themselves through to get to this global stage to compete. We’ll watch the dramas play out, false starts off the starting line, replay action to see who came in first, relay teammates working together and crying tears of joy when they win, and it will be amazing.
There is just something so special about a global event that brings us all together, and where we witness so many firsts. Who can forget the Olympic first in 2012, when Saudi Arabi had two women competing for their country? And this year the Rio Olympics will host a team of refugees for the first time in the sports history. The Olympic Games do not sit apart from society and the current climate, they document it all, the social protest and the activism. In fact, the Olympic Games every four years reflect the mood and the atmosphere of the time; a sports time capsule.
So every time I watch The Olympics, and the Paralympics, it gives me goose pimples: the magic, skill, the sacrifices and the celebration of hard work (particularly poignant against the backdrop of reality TV and the Kardashians).
This brilliant TV campaign by Channel 4 in the UK, has already got me sitting on the edge of my seat, eagerly anticipating the games.
So this summer you will catch me at my desk watching every sport in detail (I’ve been known to disrupt the office with screams and tears of joy at everything from the 400m race to dressage-I will watch it all).
I watch as a fan and I watch with my WGSN hat on, analysing the sports design, the battles between the brands, the sneaky marketing, guerrilla campaigns, seeing who the rising stars are, and following along on social media to see into Olympic village.
Sport is a universal language and this is most international event that displays the magic of sport and its ability to break barriers and make heroes, I hope you will join me all summer for the breathtaking fun of Rio 2016.