Sporting his classic Robin Hood goatee, Sir Patrick Stewart helped launch the Olympic games this week as one of several torch bearers along the route leading to the opening ceremonies at 9 p.m. local London time today. The opening ceremonies will be re-broadcast in the States tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern or viewable live on the Internet via streaming video.
Not only did good Captain Picard of the USS Enterprise make an appearance, but Matt Smith did as well. If the creators of Doctor Who haven’t thought about working some images of the Eleventh Doctor into a coming episode, they better get on it.
How can you pass this up for the decades old, distinctively British, science fiction franchise?
But the Brits have not only tapped into fans of the Star Trek and Doctor Who franchises to get the world chuffed for the Olympics, they also tapped into their own Harry Potter franchise, with Ron Weasley actor Rupert Grint as torchbearer.
Finally, one other sci-fi/fantasy actor worked the torch relay this week. James McAvoy, who played Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe series, but also played young Xavier/Professor X in X-Men: First Class, seemed to be getting into the spirit of the Olympic Games, too.
As with the Superbowl, All Star Game, and the Oscars, the ceremony for the Olympics is always fun and always a great big show. As we get closer to the opening ceremonies today, the big question is what other celebrities will pass the torch, and who will be the final person to light up the games in Olympic stadium. British sports legends aside, you can imagine the likes of Paul McCartney, Dame Judi Dench, Mick Jagger, Daniel Radcliffe, Hugh Laurie, Daniel Craig, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sir Kenneth Branagh, J.K. Rowling, Alan Rickman, Kate Beckinsale, Sir Christopher Lee, Emma Thompson, Tony Blair, Sir Elton John, Keira Knightley, David Tennant, Simon Pegg, Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton, Sir Roger Moore, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Robert Pattinson, Michael Palin, Clive Owen, Sir Richard Branson, Bono, Sir Ian McKellen, Gerard Butler, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, and Sir Sean Connery as possible people to carry the torch for at least a few steps of the remaining leg of the Olympic flame’s journey.
And if you’re not keeping up on the finals for this year’s games and need someone to cheer for, how about these keeping an eye out for these promising Olympians?
- Gabby Douglas in gymnastics (who has been working under coach Liang Chow, the coach that helped propel Shawn Johnson to a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics)
- Lolo Jones in the 100-meter hurdles (winner of three NCAA titles and 11 All-American honors, indoor national titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009 in the 60 m hurdles, with gold medals at the World Indoor Championship in 2008 and 2010; favored to win the 100 m hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but finished seventh; she’s the American record holder in the 60m hurdles with a time of 7.72)
- Miranda Leek in archery (2011 National Champion, 2011 World Cup gold medalist, 2012 US Nationals silver medalist)
- Lisa Koll Uhl in the women’s 10,000 meter race (four-time NCAA Division One champion, current NCAA record holder in the 10,000 meters) and the sixth fastest American woman to ever cover that distance)
- And of course, everyone will be watching to see if Michael Phelps can repeat his gold medal performance from 2008.