Boris Johnson set to recite Olympic ode

The Mayor of London will read a poem in ancient Greek for London 2012

London Mayor (and Oxford Classics graduate) Boris Johnson is set to read an Olympic ode in ancient Greek to mark the advent of the London 2012 Games.


The poem was commissioned by the Mayor himself, and will be read aloud at a gala for the International Olympic Committee tonight as well as engraved on a plaque which will stand in the Olympic park. 

The ode, which references gold medal hopefuls such as Usain Bolt and London 2012 chairman Lord Coe, has been composed by Oxford academic Armand D’Angour, who also penned a poem for the 2004 Olympics in Athens. 

Not only has D’Angour written the six verses of the ode in ancient Greek and translated them into English, he’s also written a version in “fun English rhyming couplets.” 

D’Angour said, “It will certainly be fun to hear the ode read by the mayor in his inimitable style, and I hope people will enjoy seeing the plaque when visiting the area in years to come.”

The Mayor of London added: “It is a work that breathes new life into the ancient custom of celebrating the greatness of the Games through poetry.” 

Read below for the “fun” English version of Boris’ Olympic poem: 

This new Olympic flame behold, that once burned bright in Greece of old; with happy hearts receive once more these Games revived on London’s shore.

Praise rival teams, in sport allied, as athletes stream from far and wide; the poet too must take the road conveying praise to victory owed.

Millions of watchers will embrace the passion of each close-run race, the efforts of the rowing teams and gymnasts balancing on beams.

They will observe with rapt delight the archer draw his bowstring tight, the skilful rider guide her horse, and lightning bolt around the course.

The pipes will play, the drum resound, as medallists are daily crowned; the crowd’s hurrah will reach the skies when victors hoist the golden prize.

Now welcome to this sea‐girt land, with London’s Mayor and co. at hand. Good luck to all who strive to win: applaud, and let the Games begin!


So what do you think of Boris’s Olympic ode? Post a comment below and let us know…