Please spare us the diarrhoeal nonsense that the Olympics are a model of a-political unity, international co-operation and symbol of hope. Behind the rhetoric, a financially beleaguered nation is footing the £24 billion bill and missing a fine opportunity. ‘Clogged with excess, the body drags the mind down with it’ 
In the Olympics we have a travelling corporate circus organised by the sporting equivalent of EU bureaucrats and fronted by the athletic counterparts of the mindless heads of state who carry out the will of those in charge. Like the EU, the rhetoric is of international unity, but where sinister politics regulate and normalise whilst giving way to the vested interests of wealth and its accumulation.
When in 2005 London was chosen (a wording that gives the impression the IOC would like to convey, with its texture of divine omnipotence) as the venue for the games, the economic situation was sufficiently strong enough to bear the cost of this two-week sports day; or else the truth of the economic situation was sufficiently concealed by the despoiled Gordon Brown and his party of national saboteurs.
The newspapers estimate that the final bill for the UK hosting the Olympics is anywhere between £12 billion and £24 billion , a significant multiplication of the orignal ‘conservative’ estimate of £2.37 billion. One dare not even venture into sobering territory, where one may consider how such gross sums could be invested in long-term projects or in real needs.
Appealing to the emotions is usually a good way of masking the uncomfortable truth about money and costs. The slogan for the 2012 Olympics, ‘Inspire a generation’, might be a good example of such deflective efforts, were it not the most uninspiring slogan among a generation of equally low-grade hyperbole: Beijing’s choice was ‘One World, One Dream’, Athens 2004 had ‘In The True Spirit Of The Games’, while Sydney 2000’s slogan was ‘Share The Spirit’ . The last two would be better used to advertise liqueurs.
In the Olympics, Britain has under its belt another costly and misguided vanity project. At a time when many nations (well, those in the EU) are claiming to undertake austerity measures, could not the London Olympics display what are often claimed as British virtues, of modesty and restraint instead of excess and surfeit? Might not these games be more inspirational to those in straightened economic times by casting off frippery and rhetoric and focusing on the healthy competition of sport? Could sponsorship not make a great effort to promote British wares to the world?
Like its political equivalent, the EU, notions of healthy competition, of financial reserve, of dismissing vested interests are alien ideological misnomers. And like the EU, by not exercising these positive virtues, it has the effect of alienating those it claims to inspire; once again, instead of Britain playing to its strengths, it rolls over and indulges in its weaknesses.
© thepanopticonblog, 2012
- 1. Horace.
- 2. Lia Hervey and Orla Chennaoui. ‘Sky Investigation: Olympic Bill tops £12 billion.’ Sky News. 26 Jan. 2012. <http://news.sky.com/story/920409/sky-investigation-olympics-bill-tops-12bn>
- 3. Jacquelin Magnay. ‘London 2012 Olympics: “Inspire a Generation” unveiled as official slogan for Games.’ The Telegraph. 18 April 2012. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/9210790/London-2012-Olympics-Inspire-a-Generation-unveiled-as-official-slogan-for-Games.html>