Yesterday’s Olympic opening ceremony was a hallucinatory ode to western history, questionable British music, a giant baby, David Beckham’s body, and—amid the athletic sprawl—one of the greatest geeks of all time.
During one strange portion of the ceremony that honored technology’s role in turning us into phone-gazing status zombies, the action abruptly broke away to a 57-year-old Brit at a table with an antique NeXT computer and monitor. He clearly was not on any judo team. And then, in French and English he was introduced—”Ladies and gentlemen, the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee.” The crowd roared like a javelin just went through Hitler in effigy. They were cheering for a guy who created the web, not some gorgeous Danish sprinter—a computer scientist! A nerd! And still, a world hero. It was one of the few moments in the ceremony that gave me chills, as I watched a bootleg BBC stream based on technology the man had created over two decades ago.
“This is for everyone,” Sir Berners-Lee tweeted from the middle of the stadium—a message that was retweeted over ten thousand times within minutes.