The 2021 Olympic opening ceremony is always themed around the idea of unity and hope. As the largest peacetime gathering of sporting populations worldwide, the games are a triumph of the modern era and wish to honor their place in the world. But unfortunately, some of those ideas of how to express peace are a little dated, such as the use of John Lennon’s song “Imagine.” These tweets about “Imagine” at the 2021 Olympics opening ceremony are a reminder that, though the older generation still regards it as a seminal song about world peace, others are less impressed with the sentiments expressed in it.
When the Olympics were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, it was an unprecedented moment. Before that, the only times the games had been canceled were due to war. Though the 2021 Olympic games going on as scheduled has been controversial, with rising case rates in Japan and low vaccination rates across the country, the urge to hold them and show unity is understandable.
That drive showed up in the 2021 Olympics Opening Ceremony. The speeches given ahead of the lighting of the torch spoke of light ahead after a dark tunnel. Speakers praised the country for holding these games despite the odds and so on. And it broke out what has become something of an Olympic standard, with a performance of “Imagine.” (The song has been performed at other Olympic ceremonies, such as the 2012 London games.)
The song was once seen as a modern expression of peace and hope, but views have changed. That became especially obvious in 2020 when a celebrity-studded performance went viral on Twitter for all the wrong reasons.
And then, of course, there’s the reality that the lyrics make absolutely no sense when one considers the actual nature of the Olympic competition.
Twitter naturally had suggestions for replacements, most of which were not serious, but would at least have been interesting.
Perhaps for 2024, we can imagine using something other than “Imagine.” It is, after all, easy if you try.