Dem there Games..

To begin with, I am unable to mention or use the actual title of this weeks topic chosen by shackman.  The so called Organisers of the London O***pic Games Committee (Locog) have copyrighted the word and I would be at the risk of being incarcerated for a very long time in a lonely cell.  Oh Wait Now, one little minute… it might be a chance to test the loyalty and generosity of my band of Toyboys….. Which one of you handsome hunks would come sprinting over in answer to my musical call to – ‘Please Release me’?

So where to begin

Way back in May HRH Princess Anne, Princess Royal accompanied by Lord Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Footballer David Beckham and Lord Sebastian Coe travelled to Greece to collect the O***pic flame, before the start of it’s journey to London. This saw the first of the bad omens as the flame died out at the lighting ceremony.   The ceremony took place in a sundown ceremony at the Panathenaic stadium in Athens, venue of the first modern Olympics in 1896.

Once relit, the flame stayed alight despite heavy rain (Phew!) and was transferred from it’s torch to a miner’s lamp, in which it was flown to Britain on board an aircraft landing at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall. Merciful Maisie, since when are lit flames allowed on board a plane?  If you or I wanted to carry a cigarette lighter on our person, I bet it would be confiscated at the earliest opportunity.

When the amazing flame landed in Cornwall a 70-day relay began, it involved 8,000 torch bearers covering 8,000 miles, culminating with the flame reaching the London O***pic Stadium and the opening of the Games on July 27. It may well have been a wonderful idea and it was certainly not a lonely journey, with enough ‘hangers on’ surrounding the torch to fill a stadium. There were police outriders and half dozen enormous Sponsors’ Coaches and trucks, a platoon of security men and somewhere in the middle of all that was a man or woman with the torch.  Talk about not being able to see the wood for the trees – The whole idea was marred by all the Corporate Show drowning the very reason for the tour. The only saving grace for me, was knowing one of the torch bearers and travelling forty miles to see him run.

The torch may well have covered 8,000 miles, but for much of that distance it was carried in coaches, on a helicopter, a RNLI Lifeboat, Scots Guardsman steam engine, a cable car and a trip on a punt at Cambridge. The Olympic Flame crossed the Solent to the Isle of Wight, in a chairlift, even the London Eye took a turn with the torch before the final journey along the Thames in the Barge used by HM the Queen for her diamond jubilee a few weeks earlier, en route to the Stadium for the Official opening.

With only two weeks to go there were missiles on rooftops, snipers in helicopters, an aircraft carrier on the Thames and fighter jets ready to shoot down any aircraft on a 9/11 style terrorist attack. It was discovered that not enough security guards were recruited or trained, not enough people to search visitors’ handbags and rucksacks!! So what do they do… call in the troops of course. It was down to the servicemen and women to take on the roll of security guards alongside thousands of extra police.

It was discovered on Monday that THE KEYS to secure the Arena have been lost since two days before the football games began ahead of the official opening, and it is estimated that £10,000+ have been spent on replacements.

The opening ceremony was held rather late on Friday night and didn’t finish until 01:30 on Saturday morning. This, we were told, was to suit the American TV company that had secured the rights from Locog. They (the American TV company) would dictate what footage or pictures of the events would be aired worldwide. Since I have no TV I did not see the opening, but from all accounts it was like a major Disney production. The evening even included a gatecrasher leading in the Indian Contingent.

In the now dim and distant past an announcement was made that the tickets would be on sale by ballot, the public were to apply for whatever tickets they wanted and all applications would go in a drum and be drawn on a certain day.  It was a total fiasco some people got tickets for events they had no interest in, while others got no tickets at all.  We were told not to worry as there would be a second allocation a few weeks later. I am not sure if round two was any better but on Saturday & Sunday last, swathes of empty seats at several events were visible for all to see on the televised programmes, by the very people who were unsuccessful in securing any seats in the several levels of ticket sales in the months running up to the opening.

Monday Lunchtime we were told on the news that 3,000 tickets for that day were now available for sale since Sports Federations returned them the previous night.  This is all very well for Londoners who are within easy travelling distance of the events. BUT OF NO USE TO anyone living in Aberdeen, Cornwall or Newcastle-upon- Tyne in the Nth East of England, or indeed the other Newcastle in County Down, Northern Ireland.

BUT I forgot…. The games for 2012 were awarded to THE CITY of LONDON with no mention of the rest of the UK.

I mentioned the television rights went to the US. The three main sponsors are also from that side of the pond. McDonald’s, Coca Cola & Cadbury – who are now owned by Kraft. I heard two days ago that all the advertising boards in the London area were bought up for the duration so that there would be no competition to the official sponsors (a condition of awarding the games to London).  The only foods on sale inside the stadia are those of the sponsors.

Also on Monday morning the working population of the City were asked NOT to drive in central London. In other words the normal working population were asked to work elsewhere – at home or at a different location for the duration.  Think small business and the cost of moving offices, for the 6 weeks duration, not an easy ask in these days of financial drought.

Then on Tuesday we heard cries of FOUL, with the allegations that Ye Shiwen had taken performance-enhancing drugs, but British Olympic Association chairman Colin Moynihan said on Wednesday that “The World Anti-Doping Agency has passed Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen as clean, ‘and that’s the end of the story’.”

On Wednesday eight badminton players were disqualified from the women’s doubles competition, accused of “not using one’s best efforts to win”. All four pairs were accused of wanting to lose, in an attempt to manipulate the draw for the knockout stage.

09:00 on Thursday as I am ready to put this rant to bed, I hear that Britain is in 11th place of the medal winning race – Gold 2 Silver 3 Bronze 4 and there was I thinking that real sport was all about the taking part and not the winning!

Give me a field of seven yearolds any day, out there playing any game for the fun of it, without all the trappings of coaches, trainers, therapists, sponsors, podiums and medals.

In true Twitter style a plethora of suggestions appeared for the #RejectedOlympicEvents I thought I’d share a few that appealed to my sense of humour:

Tea brewing
Hide and Seek
Synchronised Knitting
Compulsive Picture Straightening
Furtive Under-table Texting
Musical Chewing
Don’t let the balloon touch the floor.
Onion peeling – It’s an emotional sport.
Gnome Tossing

And my favourite:

Fitted Sheet Folding

Now it is time to fold away my gear and sprint over to see the medals winning standard entries of our other active LBC Members: Anu, Delirious, Maxi, Maria/Gaelikaa, Maria SilverFox, OCD writer, Padmum, Paul, Ramana, Shackman speaks, The Old Fossil, Will Knott..

13 thoughts on “Dem there Games..

  1. shackman

    Alas GM we part ways on this topic. Everything you have written is true. But I prefer to watch the athletes. I do not care that all of the ad space was purchaased by the sponsors – nor I suspect to the folks that sold the ad space. Yep – there will be triumph and tragedy, just as there is in life. Being an old, now firmly to seed jock – I’ll just sit back and enjoy. When it’s all said and done, then I’ll ponder the human foibles and idiotic stuff that went on beyond the competitions. But I’d come to your rescue 🙂

  2. The Old Fossil

    shackman has perfectly phrased my take on the Olympics. I know you have not liked the idea from the beginning, but I see some of those that many children will look up to, for they have not yet experienced the pain and disillusionment that assails adults. When the first black woman gymnast in America wins the gold, little black girls all across this country really do reimagine their own place in the world … and I count that good.

  3. Rummuser

    You can count on me to bail you out and also join you in the total disinterest in the event itself. Some funny thing or some infraction that attracts my attention will get some coverage on my blog or on FB but I am just not worked up about this extravaganza.

  4. wisewebwoman

    *yawn* the furthest thing from true sports when corporate sponsorship is the beginning and medal winning the finale.
    So so glad I am teeveeless.


  5. Grannymar Post author

    Shackman – I know you are a good sport in every way and that my take would not be yours. Let those who enjoy sport watch and follow the games, but, why should we ‘non-sporties’ be force fed the games at every hands turn. We had a major football (soccer) competition nearly every day for weeks, immediately followed by Wimbledon Tennis for breakfast dinner and tea and then golf and from there straight into the olympics. By the time the hype show is over we will be back into the winter programme of football and rugby.

    If my tastes in Crafts were given such coverage, I bet there would be plenty of complaints. Wars have started for less.

    PS Glad to know you will bail me out! 😉

  6. Grannymar Post author

    FOS – I can see the message you are bringing to the table, but that can be done without all the corporate hype and branding. There are entrants representing what we might call poorer countries. Indeed there were about half a dozen with no country flag of their own so they walked under the Olympic flag – that is the proper spirit of the games.

    Ramana – Another one for the ‘bail out’ posse. 😀 I am glad to know I will have someone to join me in the backwoods and read to me while I do my knitting!

  7. Grannymar Post author

    Dianne – I’d do well at sheet folding fitted or not, I had years of experience.

  8. Debra

    I had no idea of all the troubles! I am enjoying the bits and pieces that I see, but with the time delays and the fact that I’ve already heard who “won the gold” long before I could watch the event, I’m beginning to lose interest. I love your comment about how quickly there’d be an uproar if your craft interests were all over the television! I’ve thought that myself…the things that most interest me aren’t crowd pleasers either! 🙂 Best to stay out of jail…you can’t take your knitting needles in there as they’d be weapons! Debra

  9. The Laughing Housewife

    Everything is sponsored these days; that’s modern life.

    I have little interest in sport but I’ve enjoyed the torch relay, the spectacle of the opening ceremony, the unifying spirit as people around the world are watching, complaining and talking about it.

    I’ve even watched a couple of events and enjoyed them!

    And we are now fourth in the medals table – we have 22; this time four years ago, we had 8.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with celebrating all that is amazing about the human spirit and the human body for two weeks every four years.

  10. Grannymar Post author

    Tilly – It is the unavoidable hijacking by commercialism round the games that spoils the event for me. Others may enjoy it and fair dues to them. I just wonder in these days of financial downfall if whole shenanigans was worth the £9bn, and down the line will the Olympic village go the way of the Millennium Dome?


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