The Olympics: Reflections

~ For those bleating on about the lack of legacy after London 2012, take a look at the Rio medals table.  That is the true legacy of London 2012.  The Olympics are first and foremost about sport.  They are not a panacea for the social ills of the host country.  That has never been the remit of the Olympics.  The Olympic Games are a sports festival.  And that’s it.  If the Olympics achieve anything more that’s a bonus.  So long as they don’t leave the host city bankrupt and don’t have a detrimental effect on the locals or their environment, then they should be taken and enjoyed for what they are – a celebration of sporting endeavour, albeit a very expensive one for the hosts.

~ The BBC channel hopping was annoying, wasn’t it?  Why couldn’t they have kept the sport just on one main channel?  BBC 2 would have been fine.  It was more annoying having to change channels than having to watch it on the Beeb’s second channel.  And when an event was already being shown on BBC2, what was the point of changing it to BBC1 mid-event?  The worst thing was that the channel switching invariably happened at a crucial moment in play, or when the scores were coming in, such as when Max Whitlock’s rival’s score was about to come up and would decide whether Max had won a surprise gold.  Not good timing Beeb.  And was it me or was there too much talking and not enough action?  Yes, I know, uninterrupted live action was available on line but not everyone has access to unlimited internet.

~ One of the most refreshing aspects of the Olympic Games is that it affords women the opportunity to compete equally side by side with men.  We get to see more women’s sport in two weeks than we do for the rest of the year.  When was the last time a women’s team sport had a prime time slot on national TV?  Er, never.  Hopefully, it will reinforce a positive attitude towards women’s participation in sport and inspire more girls and women to take it up.

~ In future, the IOC either needs to give the Olympics solely to countries that are wealthy enough to shoulder the financial burden of staging them, or if it chooses to give the Games to developing countries, it needs to start digging into its well filled pockets to help subsidise the exorbitant cost.  It is morally reprehensible to burden a developing country and its prime city with a massive financial bill for a sporting jamboree it can ill afford, at a time when the country is suffering an economic recession and is riven with deep social problems and endemic poverty.

Of course, what would also help to make staging the Games more affordable, manageable and less bankrupting is cutting back on the burgeoning numbers of sports included in the programme.  Oh, hang on, they are adding five more sports in 2020.  Ah well, it’s not like the IOC are paying for any of it.

~ It’s not fair that Brazilians are being slated for half empty stadiums when the ticket prices were so extortionate none of the locals could afford them.  At the very least, the IOC could have arranged for a portion of tickets for the slowest selling events to be distributed to local communities to get them interested in unfamiliar sports.  It could only have benefited these Games to see fuller stadiums with enthusiastic locals rather than half empty stadiums peopled mostly by the media, mega wealthy corporate sponsors and IOC hangers on.

~ As things stand currently, I fear for the Paralympics.  London was unique.  The Paralympics have never been better supported before (except for Sydney 2000) and will probably struggle to do so subsequently.  With the host city struggling to fulfill its financial obligations, why isn’t the wealthy IOC stepping in to help?  As the vice-chairman of the BOA has pointed out, it has the financial means to do so.  The IOC reaps the rewards from the staging of the Games, so isn’t it about time it gave something back rather than just enjoying an expensive foreign jolly every four years at the host nation’s expense?

What am I going to do now without 24 hour wall to wall sport every single day?  I may actually have to get out during the day and go to sleep at night.

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