It's the moral tussle over the sports tournament that everyone's talking about – but will the 2012 London Olympics really unite us all in the way that only a corporate-sponsored athletics event can, or is it just an excuse for foreigners to come over here and run amok as they gleefully bogwash our economy in the process?
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HEPTATHLON? MORE LIKE HEPT-PAVLOV'S DOGS!
by Simon Parris
I remember watching the announcement that we were to host the Olympics on the TV, while wearing my "Hang The Bloody Games" T-shirt with the Olympic rings culture-jammed into a noose. Upon hearing that we had won, I looked despairingly at the pitiable fools in Trafalgar Square. Just as the camera zoomed in on one particularly odious twerp wearing a hat with barbells on it, I turned to my wife and said: “No good will come of this, you know.” I took more than a little pride the next day when I learned that London had been attacked by terrorist bombers. I was proved right then, and I remain right now: The games are a disaster, and will continue to be a disaster.
It is widely known that the British cannot organise a piss-up in a brewery. There was the farce over Wembley, the farce over the Millennium Dome, that statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square isn't very good, and the platform lengthening at Tooting Bec Station last summer overran by three weeks. And yet we hope to organise an entire Olympic Games? Pfffft... We're the world's only banana monarchy, and now the world is going to see us with egg on our face. Alright, so everything has come in on time and under budget so far, but it wouldn't surprise me if they've cut so many corners to do so that the stadium falls down after one particularly forceful cough from Usain Bolt.
That is, if anyone ever gets there. We all know that London's public transport is hopelessly oversubscribed anyway. Can you imagine how you're going to get a seat on the tube at Marble Arch for the next six months? Short answer: you won't. Some German will. They're probably buying up deckchairs to put towels on to put on the tube seats right now. Can you imagine, being on the 12:45 out of Liverpool Street, just minding your own business, doing the crossword in the Telegraph, when all of a sudden 700 American tourists jump aboard and start trying to tell you about how much bigger their cars are and how they saved our bacon in World War Two? You can now that I've mentioned it? Well good. Because that, essentially, is what we're faced with.
Unfortunately, our nightmare doesn't end with logistics. The games have rather predictably been hijacked by the 'right-on' PC Islington trendy brigade, who have long since telegraphed news of our laughing stock status all over the world. First, there was the logo: a bunch of lamentable squiggles that cost a half a million pounds to produce even though my five-year-old could do better given a box of crayons and a long, boozy ad-exec lunch at the Oxo Tower restaurant.
Then there are the mascots. Wendleturd and Pendleturd or whatever they're called. The less said about these risque, pendulous appendages the better. Suffice it to say that they would have Sigmund Freud reaching for his dictionary of rhyming slang. Though upon consideration, they really do sum up the whole thing very well: they're all cock and no balls. Because they look like weird penises.
No doubt the opening ceremony will continue in much the same vein, as the PC types tell us that Dizzee Rascal must play his ethnic hip-hop music over the top of the national anthem while the Queen looks on dispiritedly, and we are treated to five hundred dancers in Lycra bodysuits interpreting 'global diversity' by whipping each other with multicoloured ribbons, while some junior minister in a far corner chucks your taxes into a massive furnace at the rate of a million quid a minute.
It's all very well to say 'let them have their fun', but the problem for Olympic objectors like me is that even if we wanted to, we simply can't get away from any of this. We're going to have to spend the whole of August watching some witless Sky News 'colour' reporter doing vox pops with middle-aged women who've painted their faces to look like the Union Jack, asking: 'Are you excited?', and then they'll be going: 'Ooh, we came all the way from West Bromwich, and we've been camping overnight just to get a place in front of the marathon.'
And then the TV reporter will smile witlessly, move on and ask someone else if they're excited, and the whole process will just start again, this time with some ghastly tweens from Godalming who've come up to watch the equestrian events with their over-indulgent dad. And then she'll turn back to the studio and go: 'Well as you can see, everyone's very excited.' And then Adrian Chiles will be back in the studio making some remark about how excited he is to see people from West Bromwich being excited. And yes, everyone's very bloody excited, aren't they? We're all so excited about watching some roided-up Jamaicans run for ten seconds and we've all developed a sudden lust for the heptathlon, haven't we? Oooh, it's all just soooo exciting, isn't it? It's just so bloody exciting. Exciting exciting exciting.
Well it's not.
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