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:
Hide and Seek
Compulsive Picture Straightening
Furtive Under-table Texting
Don’t let the balloon touch the floor.
Onion peeling – It’s an emotional sport.
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..