100 days to The London Olympics Games 2012.
So in 100 days from now, London will become the first city to host the modern Summer Olympic Games for the third time.
London is a City that happens to be the capital city of England and the United Kingdom. I live in an outer corner of the United Kingdom, not even on the mainland. So I am supposed to be growing in excitement for this major event happening in 100 days at least 317 miles or 510.05 kms away.
Declaration: I was never a Sports Woman.
Watching sweaty grown men tossing a caber*, running to burst a gut or chase a ball around a field had as much interest for me as watching paint dry. It is one of the main reasons I disposed of my TV fourteen years ago. Wall to wall sport for days and weeks on end with the high pitch compulsory commentary (maybe those giving the running commentary should be tested from drugs, never mind the participants). If that is not enough we are force fed endless replays and repeats, the whole thing is mind bogglingly boring for me.
It is not just the Olympics, through the year we have golf, snooker, tennis, soccer & rugby football and cricket – what a load of balls! 😉 Then there equestrian events and horse trials, darts, and motor sports, swimming and gymnastics and battering brains out boxing & wrestling. I am sure to have left something out. Each of these sports goes into overdrive for their season and it is impossible to get away from them unless you switch off and sit in the middle of a field with the cows and crows.
Am I alone?
Nowadays, any sport, needs special clothing, shoes, equipment, and if it is tennis – the ability to grunt!
Hours, days, months and years may be given to training, but in the world of today only first or Gold seems to be good enough. That is the one part that sickens me. I thought it was the taking part that mattered and not the winning. Once a race, game or event is over only the winners are remembered. We need more ‘Eddie the Eagle’s. Yet money is found not for the plodders, but for the major displays and games.
Last month the House of Commons public accounts committee expressed concern that once the cost of the security lockdown of London was taken into account, the final bill for the 2012 Games would be a little shy of £11 billion, a fourfold increase since London put in its bid in 2005. Do we REALLY need, or can we afford to spend that amount of money for three weeks of a sports show in times of recession?
In 2012 the economy is in trouble and the country up to its eyeballs in debt. Every day politicians are telling us that we the little people need to economise, we hear of new cuts in jobs, education, the health service and pensions.
People need jobs. People need money for food and in the UK we need money to heat our homes. Sport is way down the list for the people searching for a job or wondering where the next meal will come from. Home heating oil prices have risen by 47.7 per cent since 2005 – the year the bid was made for the Olympics. The average weekly food basket would have cost £39.37 back in 2005, if bought at a supermarket. Today that same amount would not take you very far.
The Britain of 1948 was struggling to recover from the ravages of World War II. Rationing remained in force and many people had been left homeless, yet the bomb-cratered city rose to the challenge of hosting the games despite the country being flat broke and there was no question of the Labour government of Clement Attlee committing large sums of money (that they didn’t have) to a sporting event like we will see this year. Remember that this year we also have to cough up for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and freebie trips for all the hangers-on in the Royal family to swan off round the world.
Despite the air of shabbiness, London 1948 was considered a remarkable success – and made a profit of almost £30,000. I wonder if 2012 will make tuppence, never mind £30,000. I imagine we the taxpayers will be coughing up for more than a year or three to help pay off that £11 billion.
Oh, I forgot. We will be part of the games. Make that part of a 70-day torch relay around the UK.
Back then in 1948, Wembley stadium was converted into an athletics stadium by putting 800 tonnes of cinders over the greyhound track. Members of the British team bulked out their meagre diets with whale meat. They housed athletes in RAF camps.
A former military convalescent camp was converted and updated to provide housing for 1,500 Olympic visitors. Camps were also prepared at RAF bases in Uxbridge and West Drayton. Between them, these three sites were expected to cater for 4,300 of the 6,000 expected guests. Female competitors were housed at three colleges in the Greater London area.
Jerry Chicken has written an interesting post on this topic.
Mind you “Solar City Tower” built atop the island of Cotonduba for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, will put us all in the shade.
* Tossing the caber is an exclusively Highland event. A caber is a tapered fir pole about 17 feet (5 metres) long and about 90 pounds (40 kg) in weight that must be thrown so that it turns end over end and comes to rest with the small end pointing away from the thrower. Competitors tossing the caber must wear a kilt.