Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Olympics is bollocks


Simon Jenkins had an article in Friday's Guardian on the vast expense of the Olympics: "...£7,280 million and counting". It seems that it is not the case that the city that hosts the Olympics always benefits financially: "...Athens was so bankrupted by the IOC that it had to seek budgetary relief from Europe". And "..Beijing is impoverishing its people to find the $40 billion for the 2008 games" (as well as vandalising the city). The Olympics claims "more than Britain's entire contribution to combating African Aids and debt relief together". All this for a three-week "festival of national chauvinism".
Politaholic supports the ideal of "Sport for All", and thinks the selling off of school playing fields one of more more spiteful legacies of Thatcherism. But elite sport - which the rest of us are supposed to gawp at on the goggle-box (the lobotomy machine known as TV) leaves me cold. I don't give a flying whatsit that some pampered physically malformed drug-fuelled athlete can run a fraction of a second faster than another; and still less about who wins gold in volleyball, handball, softball, rowing, sailing, or taekwondo (whatever that is). The sums of money being spent - and much of it wasted - are obscene. Olympic "national chauvenism" is better than actual warfare and maybe the mentally retarded need an opportunity to wave the flag and jump up and down (the poor things can no longer shout "Come on Tim"). But the chauvenism, the greed, the coruption (all those backhanders to IOC mandarins), the waste, and the utter pointlessness of it is what is most striking. Then again - as the picture shows - volleyball has some redeeming features.

Postscript:

Andrew Rawnsley was writing in Sunday's Observer on the same theme. It seems Blair was initially sceptical of London bid but allowed himself "to be seduced by the thought that the Games would be a glamour project to put Britain at the centre of world attention". Rawnsley argues that: "It was both predictable and predicted that the Olympics would be a black hole sucking money out of taxpayers and lottery funds and away from good causes. Try justifying these Games to disabled groups whose lottery funding is being cut. Cost overruns are as integral to the tradition of the modern Olympiad as are cheating and corruption. The Games are a serial financial killer. The taxpayers of Montreal are still paying for the 1976 Olympics 30 years after they were staged in the city. The cost of the last Olympics in Athens went so out of control that the Greeks had to go begging for a bail-out from the European Commission. The Olympic legacy to Sydney was another huge budget-buster and a splendid stadium which sat empty and unused afterwards. Beijing is believed to be flushing away going on for £20bn to host the 2008 Games". The "deliver fee" for the management of the project is currently £500 million (one assumes it will be inflated still further before it is all over). And finally: "We could carpet the country with spanking new hospitals or double the aid budget with the sort of money that is going to be blown on just 17 days of Olympics - and still have change to buy back all those school playing fields that have been flogged off". Ah, but what do we need playing fields for, when we can watch it all on television?

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, where to start? You are an inhumane exemplification of many an oxy moron.You consider the Olympics a demonstration of chauvenism. I guess you call it as you see it - example 'volleyball's redeeming features." Have you ever considered the positive off-shoots (no pun intended) of the Olympics? E.G. 1-Enlightenment to world affairs and conditions; 2-An athlete's later contributions to the "ways of the world." There must be upsides, you can't be the only idiot on the planet, though you'd do well in that event, if it were offered.

3:55 pm  
Anonymous Mehran said...

Re. above comment by 'anonymous': where to start?

This is clearly written by a retard for whom English is their fourth (?) language, judging by its archaic construction and mis-use of words. What the hell does 'inhumane exemplification' even mean?

(By the way, an 'oxymoron' is not variety of moron - like you - but a figure of speech containing two contradictory terms.)

Even if we get past the pathetic English, it's the watery argument that I don't get: Olympics offer 'enlightenment to world affairs and conditions'. What the f**k are you talking about? Or 'an athlete's later contribution to the "ways of the world".'

Were you - are you - on medication? If not you should be.

As for the jibe about the blogger being an idiot, when they've presented a very cogent and well-written argument, as opposed to the dog-shit left here by the spineless 'anonymous', I'll leave the judgment to others.

London SW1

10:42 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an athlete, this post means nothing.
All it means is that management and effort exceeded the needs of the games!

Sure it costs a lot, but properly handled, the benefits do outweigh the bad side.
Tourism anyone? Or does that mean nothing now. I can say with confidence this is absolute crap at it's best. IF you want to complain about the games, do so in a manner fitting for it, and not some childish argument.

The money USUALLY is recovered, not always, but that is from mishandled and poor financial management by the Country.
You name a few Olympic games that were unsuccessful in bringing in money, well, I ask this then.

What about the OTHER games that did? This isn't something that has only be run for 100 years, and even if it was, your very select few means nothing compared to the whole!

Insolent fool, go learn so real facts before trying to make your opinion appear as fact!

8:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Olmpics has been going on for just over 100 years, which is roughly 25 individual games, but lately its become a global press realtions event for politicians to use and make money from and for their butt buddies to profit. In reality the athletes are nobodies chasing a goal that means nothing like an extra secound off a 400m run with hurdles! Only children are entertained by such pathetic shows. And for inspiration if you think deeply enough then realise these athletes spent all their lives training to take off a extra secound on their run, that seems to be a huge waste of time for such a trivial goal just so they can be on TV and say I did it,or get a permanent position on Question of Sport, its fucking lame thats what it is.
The profiting from tourism is a complete load of lies too, you would get tourism regardless of such big events, and the cost of the big event like the Olympics will take away any profit from tourism. Tourism isnt like a running a fractionating column to seperate out the worlds oil supply that you can sell in a monopoly, its tiny in comparion.And having to spend money on the hope that in the future after its all ended people will stay around and spend more looks like a shakey deal.

12:38 pm  

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