100 days

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.

20 thoughts on “100 days

  1. Grannymar Post author

    Ramana – Where, sitting in the field?

    Big John – Well you know there will be someone making a packet out of it. Have they sorted the ticket sales yet?

  2. Nick

    I agree the Olympics is an expensive waste of time and unlikely to reap much benefit after the two-week hoo-ha has died down again. I’ve said before that I don’t see why the Olympics have to be held in a different country each time, with the regular colossal expense for the country that had the “luck” to host it. Why can’t they just stay in the same place (the obvious one being Greece)? It’s all just a stupid race for national prestige and status. And it’ll cause massive daily disruption for Londoners and visitors while it’s going on.

  3. Grannymar Post author

    Nick – No more than the Titanic Experience, the Olympics are a Marketing exercise with each country trying to out do each other. As I wrote the piece I was thinking that London would not be a place for comfortable easy travel this summer.

    Foss – That does not surprise me.

  4. The Old Fossil

    Heck, the scary thought for me would be shackman in a kilt!

    Actually, it is a shame that sports has become such an extension of BIG ENTERTAINMENT and all the money it throws around. That focus has ruined news reporting, most movies, television in general, political representation … and is corrupting the beautiful aspects of athletic competition. We in the San Francisco Bay Area will be in a similar situation to yours when we host the America’s Cup Yacht Races next year.

  5. wisewebwoman

    I’m with you, GM. Caber tossed the TV set over 20 years ago and never looked back. I am so effin glad I don’t have to be subjected to BigCorpSport, I can’t stand it. I ran for fun. I played camogie and tennis for fun. There is no fun in sports anymore. But someone is making a truckload of money on the backs of the taxpayers.
    And ps I loved Nick’s remark about Greece, ROFLMAO.

  6. Grannymar Post author

    Foss – Tell me…. Does Shackman have the knees for a kilt? 😉 A kilt is actually the one item of clothing that suits all figure types and both the female and male form.

    If we could have the sport without the pomp and hangers on, I might show interest.

  7. Grannymar Post author

    Ramana – I hope I don’t come over as a whinging grump, I am anything but. What I object to is as WWW put it – the BigCorpSport – and the media frenzy deciding that Everyone is hanging on for every moment of hysteria bubble and babble. Let the games go on, but let the ordinary people get on with their lives without Olympic efforts to travel to and from work.

  8. shackman

    No kilt for me but I have donned a lavalava and a grass skirt back in my polynesian dancing days. I twirled a mean samoan knife – flaming and not. Bow Fossil you just remined me of a HS prank one of my football playing buddies and I used to do – downtown Hayward near what was once a Kaspers there was always a VW parked on the street. On occasion Lonnie and I would pick it up and put it on the sidewalk. Got busted by HPD once – he let us finish though as he was laughing quite hard.

    GM obviously we have different takes on sports. But the games are a rediculous waste of money these days – especially with the line between amateur and pro so blurred. I’m all for a permanebt site in Greece.

  9. Grannymar Post author

    Shackman – ‘A lavalava and a grass skirt’, that would be a sight to see. Any photos?

    If we had the games without the hype, advertising and the VIP seats at every event, let the sports men and women have the front pews for effort and skill and let the TV cameras do the work they were invented to do – show pictures – unhindered by comments from over excited guys with a microphone down their throats. Then and only then might I take an interest.

  10. Ursula

    How could I have missed this post? No, Grannymar, you are not on your own. If you knew how much you and I have in common, on various subjects, you’d adopt me as your non-identical twin.

    I will admit the odd spot of indulging in football (particularly when England desperately hopes to get one over Germany – trying to repeat that 1966 feeling). And didn’t Wimbledon used to be fun? All that Pimm’s and strawberries. Like you I am not really interested in how the ball flies. But boy oh boy oh boy: Watch the players. And how they deal with victory and defeat. It’s an education.


  11. Grannymar Post author

    Ursula – I will leave you the sportsmen. I am haveing far too much fun with my Toyboys. I wore another one out today (Friday)! 😉

  12. Alice

    I’m not a sports fan either, Grannymar, and I have the same feelings about these things–repetition, etc.–as you. I did have a good feeling a few days ago, however, when I heard about a middle school in New York (Brooklyn) where the “cool kids” are those on the chess team–NOT the assorted athletes. I think that’s so cool if you’ll forgive the word choice. They became the first middle school team to win the United States Chess Federation’s national high school championship. Isn’t it refreshing to be able to praise brains over brawn for a change?

  13. Grannymar Post author

    Alice – I do like to see young children play sport. If we want to encourage them, they are the ones in the front rows at events like the Olympics and not the ‘Corporate Club’. Well done to that middle school team in the chess championship.

  14. Pingback: Grannymar » Dem Der Games ~ Part Two

A penny for your thoughts...