With the Olympics about to start, I thought it was time to add my pint of invective to the general air of misty-eyed joie de vivre that has been coursing through the veins of the national press. Let’s start by saying that the Olympics are, next to the World Cup, my least favourite television spectacular and here are 10 reasons why.
1. Faux Sports Fans. Perfectly normal people suddenly develop an interest and, in some terminal cases, a mock expertise in sports they never know existed a month ago. “Well my friend did you see the double quadrill he performed in the 20m Snood”
2. The End of Normal Television. The BBC leaves it’s brain in the sandpit and fills the already paltry schedules with endless coverage of useless sports. “This Saturday night we’ll be bringing you full coverage of the women’s backwards aqua-relay from 8pm to 11pm”
3. Adulation of Strangers. People end up following the fortunes of countries and teams they have never heard of just because it’s a final. “Welcome to the synchronized basketball with Joinili Knackerankervich in lane one and Rubella Spotingwoo in lane two”
4. Opening Ceremony Kitch. The opening ceremony gets more coverage than the Nobel Peace prize and features a million school children waving things badly, athletes in ill-fitting, cheap suits and the weird national dress of the host.
5. Patriotism for 15 minutes. We British end up following athletes we wouldn’t know if they sat next to us on the bus. Suddenly it’s “Come on Chris mate” and “That Martin Chivers is a wonderful shotputist”. We’ll stand up and cheer if some non-entity from Birmingham gets to the first round of anything.
6. Waste. The costs of these often beautifully designed playgrounds make as much sense as the Dome did. A colossal waste of public money that will end up as an overpriced sports ground for school kids. Nothing wrong with kids sports ground but do we have to spend $100m on one.
7. Hideous Mascots. Why are the mascots so appallingly bad. Beijing has four stupid cartoon characters, London has a piece of retarded graffiti that does nothing for London or the games.
8. Sponsorship. Normally sane advertisers are persuaded to invest millions in spurious associations. Sainsburys – the Official Supermarket of the British Olympic Team, Eric Blattock’s – Official Chip Shop of the British Olympic Team and on it goes.
9. Integrity. Start taking bets on the first positive drug test. My bet Day 2, first race
10. Closing Ceremony. In truth I don’t hate this as it means the whole circus has packed up for another 4 years and we can return to the summer. But oh God the football season is about to start.