The built up for the closing ceremony and handover to London of the Olympic flag this coming Sunday started towards the latter stages of last week, when on Thursday our Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited Helmand in Afghanistan to greet British troops - members of the 16th Air Assault Brigade - before carrying on to Kabul for a meeting with the Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
The brigade's sign is that of a light-blue and maroon shield with a light blue striking eagle outlined in maroon emblazoned on it, intended to represent its offensive role
We read from the BBC of Mr Brown's motivational words to the soldiers; telling them they were the "heroes of our country" and that they were in the "front line in the fight against the Taleban"( a statement later obviously confirmed by his visit to a field hospital to see some injured military personnel). Reassuringly though, Gordon also told them Orwellian newspeak style how: "You know that by what you are doing here you prevent terrorism coming to Britain" and that their work was part of creating a democratic and "terrorist-free" Afghanistan.
All of which somehow linked to the Olympics, well according to Gordon anyway:
Mr Brown also likened the achievements of the British forces to the UK's Olympic medallists in Beijing.
"This week we are celebrating the Olympics where we have had great success," he said.
"But this week also I believe that our Olympic athletes and everybody else in our country will remember that you have showed exactly the same courage, professionalism and dedication.
"You make our country proud every day of the week and every week of the year. You are truly the heroes of our country. I wish to say how proud I am of you today."Perhaps though Gordon had the historic sporting competition on his mind when he made the comparison between soldiers and sportspeople - given that his brief stop off was en route to Beijing, where on Friday he met China's President Hu Jintao before visiting some young athletes. Again from the BBC we hear more of Gordon's global galavanting and of his plans for the next few days :
"The 2008 Beijing Olympics have set a new standard for the Olympic Games, which we in London in 2012 will seek to follow," he (GB) said.
"Mr Brown is in Beijing with his wife and their two young sons, John and Fraser, for the last few days of the Games and for the closing ceremony on Sunday, when the Olympic flag will be handed to London's mayor Boris Johnson.
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, or, Boris Johnson for short:
"is a British politician and the Mayor of London as of 4 May 2008; he is also a journalist and author and a former editor of The Spectator magazine. He previously served as Member of Parliament for Henley from 2001 to 2008, and also held the post of Shadow Minister for Higher Education until the announcement of his intention to stand in the 2008 London mayoral election."
Coincidentally maybe, only this week we heard of his apparently unknown-to-himself blue bloodedness and royal connections through the medium of a popular television family tree/ancestor tracing type programme:
On 20 August 2008 Johnson was the subject of the BBC family history programme Who Do You Think You Are?. He was revealed to be a direct, if illegitimate, descendent of George II of Great Britain through his eight times grandfather Friedrich I of Wurttemberg, his son Prince Paul of Württemberg and Paul's illegitimate daughter Adelheid von Rothenburg. Adelheid (known as Caroline) married Baron de Pfeffel, from whom Boris takes one of his middle names. He is therefore a descendant of Charlemagne and related to all European royal houses. His Turkish great grandfather Ali Kemal Bey was also a politician and journalist, and was assassinated following political conflict in Turkey
A portrait of Charlemagne that was painted several centuries after Charlemagne's death; the coat of arms above him show the German eagle and the French Fleur-de-lis.
From another BBC report from Thursday headlined Games chiefs "unfazed by Beijing":
Organisers of the 2012 London Olympics have not been intimidated by the dazzling Beijing Games, mayor Boris Johnson has said.
Mr Johnson was speaking ahead of the closing ceremony in Beijing, where London will formally receive the flame from China on Sunday."We are looking for ideas of how London's Olympic Park can become not just a great place to live, work and visit, but a place that retains a flavour of the extra-ordinary, a place with the 'wow' factor, a place of magic," he said.
The mayor, who will be taking the handover from Beijing on Sunday, said he has been in training for the ceremony, adding: "It will be a hugely proud moment for me."
On Friday, we heard further news regarding Sunday's ceremony with details of a joint venture between Royal Mail and China Post to issue a special set of four stamps to mark the handover of the Olympic Flag. From the BBC:
The stamps, featuring landmarks from the two cities, will be sold in both countries, but the Queen's head will only appear on the British version.
Royal Mail said they would both "celebrate a wonderful Games" and "whet our appetite for what is to come".
The Olympic Flag will be handed over at the closing ceremony on 24 August.
All four stamps carry the five Olympic rings, and the set as a whole depicts the old and new in both cities.
The 100,000-seater Bird's Nest Stadium, where the track and field events have been held, goes hand-in-hand with the London Eye.Footballer David Beckham, singer Leona Lewis and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page will be among the celebrities representing London at Sunday's closing ceremony.
And of Visit London's plans for Sunday:
Visit London, the capital's official visitor organisation, is set to launch its first global advertising campaign, 'See the World, Visit London' to coincide with the Olympic handover on Sunday. The £4m campaign, created by RKCR/Y&R, features a map of London imposed onto the image of Earth and carries the brand's new global identity created by Saffron. Other executions feature various objects in the shape of a globe, such as a microphone head which aims to promote London's music scene.