london 2012

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A Very English Day: St. George and Shakespeare

Today, Monday 23rd April, is a special day for England in more way than one. Not only is it the day of the country's patron saint- St. George, but it also marks William Shakespeare's birthday. With national excitement already growing for the summer's Olympics, there are a number of events happening to commemorate Shakespeare and St. George as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

St George's Day

St. George is the patron saint of a number of different countries, including Russia, Bulgaria, Egypt, India, Greece and Portugal amongst many others. Each year on the 23rd April, they all celebrate St. George's Day. According to tradition, St. George was a Roman soldier in the third century AD. According to legend he killed a dragon to rescue a princess, and in doing so he converted the grateful town's inhabitants to Christians.

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London 2012 Olympic Slogan Announced As 100-day Countdown Begins

As you may have heard, the Olympics are being held in London this year, and today marks the start of the 100-day countdown. As the day of the London 2012 opening ceremony draws nearer and nearer, we look at today's events celebrating the landmark.

Perhaps the most important news to come out today is the revealing of the official London 2012 slogan. And the slogan is...(drum roll please)... "Inspire a generation". Head of the organising committee Lord Seb Coe explained that the typically dull slogan "should come as no surprise as it is the heartbeat and DNA of the London Games".

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One-Year Countdown to London 2012

Events were held throughout London yesterday to celebrate the start of the one-year countdown to the 2012 Olympics. To mark the occasion, a ceremony was held in Trafalgar Square where the likes of Princess Anne, Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor Boris Johnson unveiled the medals that will be awarded to successful athletes.

The gold, silver and bronze medals (pictured above) have been designed by British artist David Watkins and have the usual symbolism that sports bodies enjoy but which makes little sense. The backs of the medals (on the right of the picture) supposedly have a number of symbolic images, including a grid of ‘radiating energy that represents the athletes' achievements and effort', a dished background that ‘suggests a bowl similar to the design of an amphitheatre' and a ribbon that represents the River Thames and ‘adds a sense of celebration'.

Regardless of what they are meant to symbolically represent, there is a general consensus that the medals do encapsulate both the history of the Olympic Games and the modernity of the London 2012 edition.

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Olympic Football Named ‘The Albert’

After more than 12,000 suggestions, the name for the London 2012 Olympic football has been chosen. And the winning name is....'The Albert'.

Adidas, who are to make the ball, ran a competition inviting anyone and everyone to send in their ideas for names, before eventually choosing the name suggested by Robert Ashcroft- a 45-year-old from Derbyshire. Whilst the connection between a football and the name Albert may seem a little odd, it is actually from cockney rhyming slang, where ‘Albert Hall' (pictured above) means ‘ball'. For this reason, Mr. Ashcroft believed "The Albert was the obvious choice for me. It made perfect sense to name a ball with the rhyming slang heritage."

An Adidas spokesman agreed, revealing that:

"The London 2012 Games are becoming synonymous with the East End of London and it was important to us that the name reflected this strong heritage - 'The Albert' creates mass appeal to the British public as well as creating global intrigue."

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