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And Now For Something Completely Diffident

March 28, 2012

I’m a sports fan. Always have been, always will be. It’s not something that impresses a lot of my more bohemian acquaintances. The actor types have been known to say things like, “Oh, it’s SO Barbarian,” and blather on about pig’s bladders ad nauseum. My argument, for what it’s worth, is that you can go and watch the best actors in the most renowned theatre companies, deliver the best Shakespeare directed by the best director. [replace the word best with favourite if you wish.] But if it’s Romeo & Juliet you’re watching, it wouldn’t be a spoiler alert to say that both of the title characters are going to die! If, however, you watch a sporting event, the end result is not preordained. England in any World or European Championship penalty shoot out for example… it’s the purest form of drama there is.

I cheered when we won the Olympic bid. I was presenting a sports show on a local radio station at the time. It was great news. 5 years on and with a shade under four months to go until London2012, I’ve lost any enthusiasm I had. Please don’t go looking for it. I’m not offering a reward. I couldn’t be bothered.

I hope Usain Bolt tears it up in the 100m. I hope Jessica Ennis with the heptathlon. I hope British athletes replicate the success they had in Beijing. These will be good things. These things might inspire the next generation of athletes and sportsmen and women. This will be good.

Because we need those things to be good, otherwise there will be no legacy. David Camoron [sic] met with the head of the IOC today, who gave the UK the thumbs up and told us everything was tickety boo. He spoke, as every mealy-mouthed politician has, of ‘the legacy’ that the games will leave behind for the next generation. OK, (unless you live in East London, this bit doesn’t apply to you) look out of your window and tell me what ‘legacy’ you can see? What infrastructure is there for you and your kids to go and use without a moment’s hesitation? What facilities exist at the grass roots level that will enable the next generation develop skills and learn through participation in sport? Right, now for you East Londoners. Have a look outside your window and tell me how often you’re going to pop down to the velodrome for a quick spin on your pushbike?

There will be little point in me rattling off the figures of how much the games has cost. The figures are revised, changed and fudged on a day-by-day basis. Suffice it to say that the amount of money we’ve spent on security, buildings, so-called ‘Zil lanes’ is astronomical. It seems to be acceptable to spend a gazillion quid on an opening and closing ceremony that may, or may not feature fireworks that’ll never compete with Beijing, but to invest in the grass roots? We can all do a running jump.

So until the dressing up, sack, three-legged and egg and spoon races become a part of the Olympics, us mere mortals are going to have to make do on a plimsoll’s shoestring budget.

Want a picture of what London2012’s going to look like? (And I can’t believe I’m going to say this…) Go to McDonalds.


  1. I remember the same problems when it was in Los Angeles, it’s always chaotic for the hosting country. I don’t watch sports, but the Olympics are always exciting. Oh, sorry for this but…Go USA!

    • Hey! Don’t apologise for being patriotic. I just look at what Greece had to go through in 2004 and see what a mess the country’s in now. Atlanta 96 was as corporate as London appears to be. The games themselves were uncomfortably sterile and, in the end, they still had a bomb scare.

  2. This is a great blog! I don’t enjoy sports except Rugby- and that’s only for the close-up shots in the scrum, but I, like yourself, did get excited when we won the olympic bid. It will never come to The UK again in our lifetime ad probably our children’s but will it do us any good? Who knows! I agree it has cost us (tax payer) a ridiculous amount of money, hopefully it will also bring in money this summer- what with everyone being influenced by those ‘fabulous’ adverts where Stephen Fry convinces everyone to either stay in The UK this summer or come on over and!
    Either way it goes for ol’ Blighty I won’t really know as I shall be in Ibiza for the whole two weeks the games are on!

    • Thank you.
      As much as I have time for Mr Fry, it won’t be his endorsement that makes me stay in the UK this summer. It’ll be messers Camoron, Osborne and Clegg having robbed me blind! I hope you have a great time on The White Isle – maybe you can rent your house out for the games and make a few quid.

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