Bravo! Bravo!

The ASI addresses the Olympics.

The outcome of this approach to the Olympics is that my religious zeal for London 2012 is roughly the same as everyone else\’s religious zeal for other, lesser-known athletic competitions; namely, it is non-existent. This is a far more reasonable and mature approach than that which has been adopted by the British government. Our \”heroes,\” lest we forget, engage in individual competition all the time, none of which the media seems to call heroic — for example, on a biennial basis in the European Athletic Championships (2006, Gothenburg; 2010, Barcelona; and 2012, most recently, in Helsinki). But (1) nobody apart from track and field buffs talk about the hero-rockstar-legends who changed the course of history in Gothenburg and (2) no multi-billion-pound infrastructure investments were made in Helsinki anytime recently.

This is because (1) none of us were paying any attention when they were running in circles in Gothenburg and (2) it was a track and field meet, for Christ\’s sake, not first contact with an alien civilization. It is perfectly possible to hold a track and field meet without spending a dime: you just set a time and a date for everyone to turn up, say \”go,\” and time how long it takes them to go from A to B. Winner gets a ribbon. Piece of cake.

D\’ye think Paris might still be interested?

8 thoughts on “Bravo! Bravo!”

  1. It is *not* possible to hold a track and field meet without spending a dime – it costs dozens or scores of pounds even when, as usual, the officials are unpaid volunteers and don’t claim reimbursement of their traveling expenses. The last Open meeting I attended cost me £2.

  2. And that seems eminently sensible, John. You do it, you pay for it.

    Shame the above case wasn’t being made when the Olympic bid went in…….Except back then, raising a quibble via London’s phone in radio talk show was the quickest way to be chopped off the air for being “a spoilsport” & “lacking vision” ( whatever that is).

    It’s no good just blaming the Government for this. Once the bid had been mooted by the usual suspects, the entirety of the media were firmly behind it. I’ve personally little sympathy for politicians but to be fare to them, once this bandwagon was in motion anyone who got in the way of it would have been squashed flat.

  3. I’m not someone who casually sprinkles the word “fascist” around, but there is something quite chilling about Lord Sebastian Coe and the religious zeal noted by the ASI.

  4. PS Seb Coe’s last great achievement was 28 years ago. He must feel like it’s 1984 all over again tonight.

  5. @ Ray Rigby
    Seb Coe was noted during his brief career in the House of Commons as being too honest for his fellow MPs. So not a suitable choice for tarring with the “fascist” smear.
    I was quite good at my favourite sport in the 1965/6 season, but not good enough to be allowed to compete against potential Olympic competitors (roughly forty years later in my third-choice sport I did and the kids lapped me!). I can quote, with admiration rather than empty envy: “I should rather be a ‘has-been’ that a ‘might-have-been’ because a ‘has-been’ once was but a ‘might-have-been’ never was an is”
    Were you ever an “is”?

  6. As an example, worrabout Coe’s deployment of “40,000 sports leaders to organise and lead grassroots sporting activities”?

    FFS. Amateur sport is a pastime, like smoking and shooting pheasants. It doesn’t need central organization by the state. Next thing he’ll have us all doing synchronized calisthenics.

  7. Oh yeah! One “sports leader” for every 1600 people!! Calisthenics is about the only thing you lead with that sort of ratio. Even marathons can’t operate with that ratio of officials to athletes.
    Seb Coe is not responsible for any attempts by the state to organise amateur sport, nor for UK Athletics, the Quango set up by New Labour – he is acting as a Cheerleader for the London Olympics, so he can be expected to sound evangelical about sport – if he didn’t the tabloids would make it sound as if he was saying it didn’t matter. Asking for enough “sports leaders” to support a couple of % taking an active part in sport is hardly the same as dragooning all the couch potatoes.
    I expect an answer to my question in your next post….

  8. If Seb Coe isn’t involved with the 40,000 “sports leaders” thing, what was he doing taking questions at the launch? I suppose he was just looking for the gents, took a wrong turn, and someone mistook him for Jeremy Hunt?

    We can argue all day about whether 40,000 is big or small. Strength Through Joy had about three times as many volunteers, but was running the tourist industry in addition to synchronized hoop throwing.

    No, I’ve never competed in the Olympics (if that’s what you mean by an “is”?).

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