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Giving the Olympics rings
I don’t know about you, but I find the Olympic Games a big bore. It’s not that I don’t like sports; au contraire. It is that I don’t like the Olympic Games (or the Commonwealth ones for that matter).
To begin with the International Olympic Committee is another of those wanky boards like FIFA and the IRB that is far too powerful and usually headed up by dodgy grasping individuals who don’t like the sports anywhere near as much as the humungous kickbacks they can get.
A quick scan of the current members of the IOC reveals a list of what might be termed ‘the usual suspects’. Most are fabulously wealthy, many are members of various royal families and a few individuals like Kip Keino are sporting royalty. One name that caught my eye was ‘Ashwini Kumar’ – I am assuming there is a spelling mistake and they mean our man Ashwin from number 42. At least that makes one good fullah on the list.
But apart from the knob heads that run the show I also think the whole idea of the event has morphed into something completely different from the spirit that gave rise to the games. Originally the games were all about individual achievement and the amateur spirit rather than jingoistic displays of corny patriotism by some very well paid professional athletes. The idea was to promote peace between nations; hence the emphasis on individual achievement rather than a medal table where nations could boast about how much better they were than their neighbours.
To my mind this also means team games have no place at Olympics. After all, they all have their own World Cup type events these days to compete in and that should be sufficient.
I also feel that events such as the Olympics are too big and too costly to be held these days. The number of nations and athletes taking part makes the whole event far too large for it to be logistically practical or affordable for the hosts. There are 203 National Olympic Committees and popular estimates have the number of athletes likely to compete at around 10,500 give or take a few hundred. The capital costs of staging them run to billions of dollars and very often the host nation makes a dreadful loss and often venues built specifically for the event are left unused afterwards like huge reminders of how much money was wasted.
Another issue that has put up the costs of Olympic Games is the security and anti-terrorism measures that are mounted. Given what happened at Munich in 1976 and the risk of a major terrorist attack being mounted at such a public event in the current political climate, measures are necessary.
However it came to my attention this week just how out of control the security issue has become. While rows have erupted (not surprisingly) over the placement of rocket launchers on the top of a block of flats that still have actual people living in them, it has come to light there aren’t enough security guards.
Private security firm G4S was to have deployed 10,500 security guards to mind the games, which probably works out to one for each athlete. However the athletes will have to look elsewhere for their security as G4S has come up short and the Brit Government has had to deploy 3,500 troops to pick up the slack and the extra costs. There are further concerns that there aren’t enough security guards for the London stores over the period of the games, either.
The scale of these games also leads to less than competent individuals being given jobs that are important when the need for more helpers is pressing. In what must be one of the more amusing cock-ups of these games so far a group of American athletes were being transported from Heathrow to the Games Village by bus. Normally this would involve a journey of around 45 minutes. However that is only if you don’t factor in a retarded bus driver who got lost. The athletes eventually arrived at the Village some four hours after leaving Heathrow. As Associated Press pointed out very cleverly; they could have travelled to Athens in the same amount of time.
But for me the worst thing about the Olympic Games is the horrendous over-commercialisation of them. The big guns all have sprayed their respective corners and thus it is that pretty much the usual suspects get to pitch their (usually over-priced and tacky) wares. Nobody else is allowed near and all sorts of silly rules are developed to protect the ‘sponsors’ like the one recently that tried to stop workmen eating any chips in their canteen other than those from McDeaths. Don't touch them; they might be ghost chips.
After the host has counted the cost of hosting the event it normally comes to pass the only winners are the leeches or sponsors as they prefer to be called and the various dodgy types involved with the organisation who fernangel all sorts of goodies for themselves.
To top it all off you have to shell out hard earned dollars to that TV network owned by Rupert The Barefaced if you want to watch it. And you’ll need to take a sabbatical from telly in general if you want to avoid being bored shitless by the breathless reports and replays and updates on the medal tables.
I can see myself doing a lot of reading between July 27 and August 12.