Olympic&Paralympic Acronyms Game

Part of my accreditation, showing that I was in team EVS

As a member of Event Services, there’s a lot of potential jobs I could be asked to do. Generally speaking, Event Services deal with the crowd and try to ensure they are a happy crowd. For the most part, I’ve been on ticketing duty but occasionally I find myself roped into other jobs, for example, last Tuesday I found myself cornered by a pair of twin mamas and ending up carrying one of the four babies around the stadium looking for a buggy.

Fun times.

That doesn’t mean I’m always on the go, and it’s in those quieter moments when I find myself indulging in a few brain teasers. One of the best ones deals with acronyms. You see, LOCOG love acronyms and they’re literally everywhere you look.

The game simply entails looking at an acronym and writing down the first name combo that comes to mind. It couldn’t be simpler, but it was unnervingly entertaining.

These combos don’t really say much, indeed, quite a few names here are ones I’m no particular fan of, but apparently seem to be at the front of my mind.


Belle Olivie Homily

Boris Okra Harrison


Evelyn Victoria Sosie

Ever Vasily Shea


Emmeline Xanthe Liv

Euan Xander Lupo


Felicity Ophélie Petronille

Fabian Oscar Peter


Lindsay Olivia Carly Oona Georgina

Lorcan Owaine Charles Otto George


Ruby Susan Tiana

Rory Stuart Theodore


Susie Tamsin Annaliese

Samson Tawny Arnie


Vera Ottilie Marie

Victor Orion Maxwell


Veronica Sara Tia

Verne Swan Theophilius

I admit, given it was a game, some of these names are a bit out-there, but for the purposes of the game I let it slide – especially since I had to come up with several T-, V- and O- names.

Categories: Olympics | 1 Comment

Name Musings From The Olympic Stadium

Snapped by me during the 200m T42 victory ceremony.

I’m back! Today is my day off, and I intend to spend it catching up on sleep and updating you all on some of the fun that’s been going on. My next day off is Wednesday, so you may need to wait until then for the next batch of posts to go up.

Since I’m part of the Event Services team, that means I spend all my time smiling at the spectators and directing them to the nearest buggy park. I kid ye not, the only questions that seem to be posed to me is where one can dump the pram, and which McDonalds in the Olympic Park is the biggest.

I’ve also picked up several interesting name stories of sorts from my time:

  • I had a team leader with the name Isabella, but she insisted on being called Isabel.
  • I’ve also had an area leader by the name Dimple.
  • I spent my first shift paired up with a lady named Heleyna.
  • Other people I’ve worked alongside were called: Dily, Ishmael & Mauro.
  • It felt like a good proportion of all the under-10 girls I came across had the name Layla.
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Weekend Post: Mandeville & Wenlock

Snapped by me at UDAC, on the TV was the rowing which won us our first gold medal of Super Saturday

The names of the mascots are fascinating, and both with ties to the Olympic and Paralympic games.

Wenlock’s name is inspired by the town of Much Wenlock, who first held Olympian Games in 1850, and this is considered to have been the inspiration for Pierre du Coubertin to start up the modern Olympic movement in 1890 when he established the International Olympic Committee.

The design of Wenlock is quite thoughtful (he’s the one with the orange detail in the picture), when one analyses it. He has on his wrists 5 friendship bracelets, which each take a colour of an Olympic ring. The three points protruding at the top of his head apparently symbolise the three places on the podium, and apparently they’re also a nod to the architecture of the Olympic Stadium. The orange oval with a W in it is a nod to London Taxis.

A clearer picture of Wenlock, snapped by me in Leicester Square.

The name Wenlock most probably derives from Old English, and like Whitlock before it, the second element of the name likely means enclosure/stronghold.

The second part is interesting because Wenna is the name of an obscure 5th century Cornish saint (are there any other kinds of Cornish saints?) with the name, which is a cognate of Gwen, a name that means white, pure, blessed.

Mandeville is for a hospital called Stoke Mandeville Hospital which organised the Stoke Mandeville Games for injured soldiers, and is considered a forerunner to the Paralympic Games.

Stoke Mandeville is a town, originally known simply as Stoke or Stoc in the Doomsday Book. The addition of Mandeville came with the Norman de Mandeville family settling in the area.

Ville is a common place suffix, think Bournville, which comes from French and means town. The first part of the name likely derives from the Germanic manno, which means man.

NB: Shortly after I posted this, Mo Farah grabbed his second gold medal in the 5000m and twitter was alight with people joking that Mo should name his twin girls Wenlock&Mandeville when they arrive in the next few weeks. 

Categories: Olympics | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Henrique&Jasmine vs. Frankie&June

from wordpress.com

It may have been precisely two weeks ago now, but I don’t suppose you remember the opening ceremony for the games?

Apparently a lot of things went over the heads of the non-Brits, but a couple of things went over my head the first time I saw it too, but mainly because I was concentrating my attention on the wrong things. That and you couldn’t see things clearly from where I was sat (with the tree on my immediate left).  Remember Voldemort? When I went to the rehearsal I didn’t even realise the billowy black figure was him until I saw the ceremony live on TV two days after. I even had decent pictures of him, and still managed to miss it.


One of the other things I completely missed the first time around was the love–story intersecting the music section near the end. To me, it was just a medley of super-cool songs from my Dad’s vinyl collection.

I digress.

You probably know by now that the two characters were called Frankie and June, especially since the title of the sequence was Frankie and June say thanks Tim – with Tim referring to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who turns up at the end of the sequence. The interesting thing to note was that he wasn’t at the rehearsal so the house just lifted up to an empty space underneath.

Snapped by me at the rehearsal

Frankie is an interesting name and possibly chosen as a nod to band Frankie Goes To Hollywood, especially given that when the character is asked his name, he reveals his shirt saying Frankie Says Relax, and Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood begins to play.

Frankie ranks at #108 in England&Wales for 2010 (yes, still using the 2010 data, but our 2011 is due out on Monday. Squee!), and ranks at #191 for girls.

The character of Frankie was played by a lad named Henrique Costa, a name with a completely different feel to Frankie; 9 lads were given the name in 2010, giving the name a ranking of #2199.

However, the name is not the French form of Henry (that’s Henri), but the Portuguese version and there are plenty of noted uses for the name by the Portuguese royal family, which was deposed in 1910 following the revolution.

Then we have the girl, and her name was inspired by the lead female in the film A Matter of Loaf and Death.

June is what one may call an old-fashioned name currently riding the popularity wave in some circles.

Despite this, only 4 girls were given the name in 2010, giving the name a ranking of #4688. That’s really low! She ranked at #9 in 1934, oh, how the mighty have fallen.

One could blame her sister-names, Juno and Juniper for stealing the limelight off her, but, neither of them are faring much better really. Juno is at #1093, and Juniper is at #3533, with 6 girls given the name.

The actress playing June was called Jasmine Brienburg, and her name is wayyy more popular at #41. Jasmine is 18, so was likely born in 1993 or 1994, and in the latter year her name ranked at #54, so this name has really had some staying power over the last two decades here in England&Wales.

So, what you have with the character’s names is a pairing of old (June), with an emerging new favourite (Frankie). Then with the actors names you have a European royal pick (Henrique), paired with a Top 100 cutie (Jasmine).

All great names, and not ones you see together so often.

Categories: Olympics | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

John Smith

He’s the nom de plume of Doctor Who, and he’s also the man opening the London Olympics tonight:

Well, maybe not 😉

As it so happens, the guy whose hands wave around at the beginning, and voice exclaims John Smith nearer the end is Osama from yesterday. This video was filmed by me at the technical rehearsal on Wednesday, and look out for the exploding balloons in the bottom right hand corner. I’m still impressed with my luck of getting a practically front row ticket too 🙂

The name John Smith is in theory one of the most popular names out there, given that Smith is one of the most popular surnames in the English speaking world and the name John having centuries of popularity under his belt.

Perhaps in these more modern days, here in the UK he would actually be Jack Smith instead – especially for the under 20s given that Jack reigned as the most popular name in England&Wales from 1996-2008.

The name is often used as a generic name to represent the everyday man, given the commonplace of both names.

An interesting exchange in Doctor Who sums the attitude to this name up nicely for me, when the Doctor gives his name as John Smith to a character, who retorts along the lines that nobody’s called that anymore.

One could see this as hinting towards a drive many parents have these days for a more unique name.

It’s also worth talking about the phenomena of the slightly different Alan Smithee. This was the official name used in films by directors who had disowned the film, and thus didn’t want their name in the credits. It was coined in 1968 and discontinued in 2000.

The downfall of the name has often been attributed to a film released in 1997 called An Alan Smithee: Burn Hollywood Burn. It is regarded as one of the worst films of all time, and thus brought harsh negative publicity towards the name Alan Smithee.

Other names like this include the name Joe Bloggs/Fred Bloggs, often used the the UK, Australia and New Zealand, and John Doe, the USA and Canadian equivalent. In both cases, the surnames are more distinctive, whilst the first names remain popular picks.

Other cultural versions of these names include:

  • Israel Israeli, israel
  • Jan Kowalski, poland
  • Jean Dupont, france
  • Jonas&Petras, lithuania
  • Luther Blissett, artists and activists in Europe and America
  • Matti & Maija Meikäläinen, finland
  • Max & Erika Mustermann, germany
  • Medel-Svensson, sweden
  • Ola & Kari Nordmann, norway
  • Seán Ó Rudaí (Sean O’Something), ireland
  • Tadhg an mhargaidh (Tadhg of the markplace), irish version of Average Joe
  • Tauno Tavallinen, finland
  • Tommy Atkins, the British army (dates from the World Wars)

I don’t suppose anyone actually knows a John Smith?

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Yesterday, I was lucky enough to bag a ticket to the rehearsal for the opening ceremony, which means I’m one of the 120,000 or so Brits currently a part of what has to be one of the best kept secrets going right now.

And no, I’m not going to tell 🙂

What I wanted to talk about is some naming inspirations from the day, the first one being Osama – which is the name of the guy sat on my left-hand side. The majority of ticket holders were volunteers for the Olympics and Paralympics, like myself, and since we were all only offered one ticket, many of us had come alone. Therefore, before the pre-show I found myself amicably chatting with all the people around me, and Osama was by far the friendliest. And who says Londoners are rude?

But many think of the late Mr. bin Laden when they hear the name.

The name Osama is of Arabic origins, and means lion.

One of the best things about the Olympics is that everyone who is anyone wears accreditation with their full name emblazoned on the front, and yes, I kept my eyes wide open to try and catch them all, which demonstrated a wide demographic. Here are some of the more interesting names:

Arsen – armenian form of Arsenios, which means virile in greek

Melik – variant of the arabic male name Malik, which means king

Vardan – armenian male name meaning rose

Xiang – chinese name meaning to soar, lucky or fragrant

If you’re not at all enthralled by the Olympics (I know I wouldn’t be as interested if I’d not headbutted my way into the fun), the names are worth some interest. I’m almost excited to get on ticket-scanning duty to name spot.

Need I ask whether you’re more excited by the sport or the names?

Categories: Olympics | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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