Published in the Sept-Oct 2012 issue of MyLIFE magazine
The 2012 London Olympics left us with the personal stories of amazing athletes who persevered with their goals to participate in the Olympic Games and have their spirits and collective determination materialize in the world’s arena. Their stories serve as bridges—arcs of information—that lead into our own lives and give us inspiration.
The major story from this historic event is how the city of London triumphed in hosting the Olympics. For the third time in Olympic history, London’s welcome to the world was done with the equivalent of open arms. The other two years in which the Summer Olympics took place in London were 1908 and 1948.
The 2012 Summer Olympics started with a spectacular opening ceremony titled “Isle of Wonder,” celebrating Britain’s achievements over time. That ceremony clearly demonstrated the United Kingdom’s influence in human history—from before the era of William Shakespeare’s stage to the Industrial Revolution and beyond.
The Internet and television, serving as electronic bridges, brought the Olympic stories into homes across the world in a small way. Viewers across the Earth could get a taste of what the games meant for London. But consider this: Half a globe away, in Arizona, the exuberance of the Olympic opening ceremonies in London was felt in a much larger way in Lake Havasu City—on the London Bridge.
Construction of the granite bridge that once spanned the Thames River was completed in London in 1831. By the end of that century, it was the busiest point in London, according to historians, but in the early 1900s it was discovered that the bridge was sinking, and sinking unevenly. Although the bridge still stood in London during the Summer Olympics hosted there in 1908 and 1948, it became apparent that the bridge would need to be replaced.
Robert McCulloch, the developer who founded Lake Havasu City, bought the bridge in 1968 and had it reconstructed in Arizona as a tourist attraction. At the time, Arizona residents questioned the idea of a British icon being placed in the middle of a desert. The pairing was unusual, and—beyond being attention-getting—it seemed to make very little sense.
Until the 2012 Olympics.
Here you can see how the celebration of the opening ceremony in London found another venue for celebration at the London Bridge. What a match!