Adam Lovejoy writes from London: Well, how about that, eh? 180 British Olympians have been given honours in the Queens New Year’s Honours List including that giant of cycling, Bradley Wiggins, who got a knighthood. That is some serious attention being paid to sport generally and the Olympics in particular. Lots of words continue to be said about the legacy of the Games and the Queen in her Christmas message has even called them ‘a splendid summer of sport’.
But of course it was, Your Majesty. Who can forget the memorable moment of the opening ceremony of the Games when you pretended to jump with a parachute, along with Daniel Craig, the actor who plays James Bond and looks like a Polish plumber, landing beside the Olympic stadium and then appearing in the VIP box. These precious moment will live in the hearts of many politicians, members of the International Olympic Committee, property developers and construction company directors who were the biggest beneficiaries of the Olympics. Nor forgetting the athletes who take on obscure sports, like clay pigeon shooting or synchronised swimming, and become celebrities for a couple of weeks every four years.
But you know why all this hype surrounding the Olympics is still going on? Because, my friends, the day is fast approaching when all the costs of this grand event will finally be announced and people might start wondering why is it that so much money – some say around 20 billion smackers with all the hidden trimmings – has been blown on the Olympics at a time of austerity. So on and on the talking up of the Games continues, including giving all those honours to athletes who have already had their medals and lucrative sponsorship and advertising deals, with the view of cushioning the effect of the costs becoming known and convincing everyone that it was all worth it. It wasn’t, obviously, and despite what the politicians say the masses will not be encouraged to become Olympians. In fact, the whole costly thing will be forgotten and all those opening and closing ceremonies, the hideous looking one-eyed mascots and a confusing Olympic logo would be looked on the products of a moment of idiocy really. As most Olympic Games are looked at once the dust settles: waste of time and money and nothing else.
The funny thing about the Olympic Games generally, which had been banned for over 1600 years on the grounds that they were basically a pagan ritual and did nothing to promote sport, is that in our supposedly civilised times you can’t really say a bad word about them and not get told off by the politically correct brigade. Difficult to understand really how come in the 21st century we should all be impressed by the Olympics that have been the favourite instruments of dictators, Adolf Hitler and the Soviet and Chinese communists included, to promote their regimes. Just as it is difficult to understand why public money should be wasted on these gigantic corporate events instead of being paid for by big business and the banks that seem to love them so much.
And as for the honours given to the 180 Olympians: well, I may not be an expert on the protocol, but Her Majesty could have told David Cameron – who submitted the names: ‘Look, let’s not turn my honours into a joke, ok? I have had enough of your games. Including the Olympic ones. Be gone.’
And that would have been right. Because the only legacy of the London Olympics is that they were way too expensive and benefited a relatively small number of people. Which can’t be good, can it?