Special Ode composed for London Olympics

London: An Olympic Ode in ancient Greek, composed by an Oxford University academic for the London Olympics 2012 will be declaimed here by London Mayor Boris Johnson at the Opening Gala for the International Olympic Committee on Monday.

Written by Dr Armand D`Angour of Oxford University`s Classics Faculty the Ode is due to be engraved in Greek and English on a bronze plaque in the Olympic Park on July 23.

The Ode was written at the instigation of Johnson, who took his degree in Classics at Balliol College Oxford, a university release said.

"Writing an Ode for the Games revives a musical and poetic tradition from ancient Greece, where Odes were commissioned to celebrate athletic winners at the Games," D`Angour, who wrote the Ode in the style of the poet Pindar said.

"Pindar was the greatest poet of his time, and sponsors paid a great deal of money for athletic victors to be honoured with an Ode by him," he said.

"I have aimed to be faithful to ancient style and form, and used alcaic metre. Of course the puns may make people groan, but Pindar`s audiences may have done so too," he added.

Dr D`Angour has written the Ode in ancient Greek with modern lyrics. The six English stanzas are written in rhyming couplets and include references to Usain Bolt (`the lightning bolt around the track`), to London`s Mayor (Boris`s name is punned on by barus in Greek, which means `weighty`), and the chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games Lord Coe (`Join London`s Mayor and co within`), the release said.

There are also allusions to British athletes, including volleyball captain Ben Pipes and diver Tom Daley.

Cryptically embedded in the Greek text are the names of over a dozen athletes, including Britain`s Tessa Sanderson, Paula Radcliffe, Mo Farah, and Jessica Ennis, it said.

Dr D`Angour was trained as a cellist at the Royal College of Music before reading Classics at Oxford.
Now a Classics don at Jesus College Oxford, he previously composed the ancient Greek Ode for the Athens Olympics in 2004 on commission from Dame Mary Glen-Haig, a senior member of the IOC.