Olympics are coming, but Harry Potter finale is here

LONDON - There is going to be a big to-do here on July 27, marking one year to go before the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.

But the really big show in London this month is Thursday night's world premiere of the final Harry Potter movie.

Part of the lobby and bar area of the hotel I have been staying in since Sunday were closed for a press conference with the stars of the Potter films.  There is a big screen at Trafalgar Square, where a huge crowd Pottered through rain Tuesday night to get the 8,000 wristbands that will give access to part of the premiere red carpet festivities before the film shows in three theaters nearby.

Will and Kate.  The 2012 Olympics.  Harry Potter 7 (part 2).  (The movies have already brought in an estimated $6.4 billion worldwide, or double the London Olympic Organizing Committee’s budget.)

"It all shows how good we are at putting on pomp and circumstance," said Lorraine Townsend of London’s Greenwich borough, who admitted to mixed feelings about having the Olympics.

Actress Jessica Cave (Lavender Brown in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince") got into the Olympic spirit Wednesday with a surprise visit to a local youth filmmaking workshop that is part of London’s Cultural Olympiad.  Woman power.

Sort of.

The unadulterated mania for the success of a female writer, Potter creator, J.K. Rowling, is in marked contrast to the indifference with which the British press has been treating the success of the English women's soccer team at the World Cup in Germany.

The Lionesses, as they are called, merited precious little coverage when they advanced to the quarterfinals by winning their group Tuesday.  You couldn't find so much as a line about the Women's World Cup in the Times of London unless England had played.  Go to the football (that’s soccer) page of the Daily Telegraph late Wednesday, and not one of the two dozen-odd links were to a story about the women.

Machismo may be term first applied to Latin men, but the Brits are every bit as guilty.  The blighters here apparently haven't come to terms with the idea of women playing their men's game, whose fans have given the world the infamy of the Heysel (39 dead) and Hillsborough (96 dead) tragedies.

If only there were a Women's Quidditch World Cup.

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