When you scare-monger about terrorist attacks, traffic gridlock, stick rocket launchers on blocks of flats, then deploy thousands of soldiers in camo gear – do not then be surprised when tourists stay away.
The only Olympic successes so far have been the ladies’ football and the male gymnastics team. Both have excelled.
OK, so the ladies haven’t won yet – but what an attitude! What a display of skill and confidence!
Let’s not ruin it all by suddenly predicting that they’re going to win the gold !
The gymnasts did not have the heavy weight of expectation crushing their shoulders and were totally brilliant. They won a surprise Bronze medal which was easily worth its weight in Gold!
Contrast that to the real medal hopes: Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield in the synchronised 10m platform diving event .“You miss one dive and you’re gone,” said Daley. He probably meant “Get every dive right and you win a medal”.
Mark Cavendish, another 100% medal hopeful came nowhere in the long pushbike race. Once again, too much pointless pressure had been exerted on him – you could see that from his tears when he finally showed-up – in 29th position.
Sailor and multiple Gold Medal winner Ben Ainslie is another “cert” who appears to be struggling and will no doubt feel gutted if he achieves anything less than perfection. Currently, he is lying a tantalising second but has two on-form Danes to contend with.
There are a couple of things at which we Brits excel: Synchronised moaning and over-optimism.
We’ve been doing it to the national football team for years but we never used to do it to our Olympians – until that is, they tasted real success in Beijing.
Suddenly, we expect – no demand about 50 medals in total, together with a shopping list of who will win what. That’s ridiculous!
They do all merit our unconditional support but remember, these are young people who neither deserve nor need the pressure generated by a nation so starved of consistent sporting success.
Even GB football coach Stuart Pearce has said “We are aiming for Gold” – merely to appease the media, one suspects. “We may win, we may not but will run ourselves into the ground trying.” would have been much better.
So how are we going to stop “assuming” whilst maintaining belief and motivation, instead of behaving as we do at Christmas time when the biggest kicks come from pre-present-opening anticipation, followed by the bitter taste of crushing disappointment.
Let’s just ask our sportsmen to “aim for a medal”. The rest will take care of itself.
Yesterday, in the 200m butterfly final, Chad le Clos beat Michael Phelps by 0.05 secs. Phelps may well have been briefly upset by both the minuscule margin of his defeat and by the fact that he missed out on a gold medal. However, he accepted and held that silver medal as if it was the gold. One suspects that he would have been exactly the same had he won a “mere” bronze.
The important thing was that he took part and did his best. Corny? Yes – but that is the ultimate that we should expect.
We do have it in us to take on and beat the world. That’s our destination.
We just need to think a bit more about the route we take.
(Of course, I was NOT including Helen Glover and Heather Stanning who have just won Team GB’s first gold medal of the London Olympics in the women’s pairs rowing!!!! Fantastic!)……and, of course , not forgetting Bradley and his unfeasibly quick pushbike! But then again, the normal rules of human psychology don’t apply to our Mr Wiggins!
We like His Borissness and we always enjoy the studied buffoonery. This time it began with the unfurling of the Olympic flag at the end of the closing ceremony in Beijing. Would he or wouldn’t he? Of course, it was OK in the end.
There is only one question which my toff mates have been unable answer : how does Boris make a Saville Row number look like Eastender Minty’s boiler suit? That is real style.
The double-decker bus which opened like a Chancellor’s purse was OK but the faux-topiary, faux-clipped to look like bugger-all was not good. Leona Lewis looked terrified and seemed more concerned with not falling off her perch than with the warbling. For once, the vibrato sounded real – but then again, it normally does when you’re crapping yourself in front of billions.
We did not quite realise it at the time but this was just the beginning of the Simon Cowell Benefit night.
Beckham held a ball up and kicked it and said later that he was “honoured”. The training has obviously paid off. I don’t mean fitness or football training but “HOW TO PUT LONG SENTENCES TOGETHER” training – for the interview. He didn’t once use the V-word, so we have to assume that he has since had a severe bollocking from the gruesome pouting one.
Red bus, Leona Lewis, Beckham, small girl and dancers. No cock-ups. Good so far.
Enter Boris centre stage for the post-Olympics piss-up. Some marginally unfunny stuff about Ping Pong. Nothing wrong there except that it probably produced several complaints to British talk radio stations from “offended” out-of-work Scottish listeners. Again, nothing unusual.
We were still awaiting the first cock-up. We’re British for goodness’ sake. We NEED cockups. It is our cultural oxygen.Without cock-ups we are like everyone else.
Then it came!!! It was a video about London…….
Some (former) mentalist VT editor had included a very short sequence on the Tate and there was a glimpse of a so-so painting of Myra Hindley. One could argue that the image was appropriate. After all, Gordon Brown was wearing his Jack the Ripper grin PLUS murder is currently a popular cultural phenomenon – especially in London.
The sad fact is that this was not a new video and the company Visit London probably did not think twice about including Hindley’s likeness. I bet that the editor was a young guy who probably just saw something that could have been an Andy Warhol painting of Marilyn Monroe. Sadly, although it was a rip-off, it was not the sainted Marilyn.
Boris was outraged, Brown was outraged but instead of being outraged quietly they managed to alert the whole world to our ineptitude. Social soirees and breweries immediately sprang to mind.
All that Brown had to do was to quietly ask for the directors of Visit London to place their dangly bits on a butcher’s block while he went in search of a drink-crazed hoodie with a machete. Job done. The British Way.
No. We had to put it on the front page and indulge in a bit of collective outrage. That is the perversity of the British psyche.
Before we move to London’s Simon Cowell benefit “Concert” which, for some reason appeared to be called “VISA”, there is one small niggling matter which may be worth a mention.
Huw Edwards had been freighted over and unpacked to commentate on the closing ceremony – ” a Beacon….. a beacon of hope….”.
He has neither the intellect, wit nor the vocabulary to add anything to any great occasion. Just clueless empty platitudes. One of the Dimbebys (preferably David) should have been dispatched or maybe Sue Barker should have taken the lead with her chum Hazel.
Edwards’ commentary was very reminiscent of the night that Trevor MacDonald was sent to RAF Lyneham to commentate on John McCarthy’s return from Beirut “and here come da plane in an arc… a lovely, lovely arc…. etc.”
The telly-action moved to London for the “VISA Concert” and lots of Blue Peter presenters introducing performers who had at some stage, passed through Simon Cowell’s hands.
More inanities and lots of “How do you feel?” questions. Needless to say , everything was “Amaiiiiiizing!!!” ….but……a danger is now lurking and it WILL bite us:
We all appear to be suffering from the “1966 effect”.
In 1966, we won the World Cup and since then we have believed, contrary to all the evidence, that we are a great footballing nation.
We are now imagining that we are some sort of major force in world sport. There is mass hysteria with open-topped buses, gala dinners and Gordon Brown dishing out honours like Purple Hearts.
Let us hope that once the 2008 Sports Personality has been chosen, we calm down, regain some sense of perspective and take a reality check.
Lord Moynihan, Chairman of the British Olympic Association, has been invited to join the International Relations Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Lord Moynihan said:
“It is a great honour to be invited to join this Commission. Developing improved international relations is a vital part of the IOC’s role in fostering and promoting the interests of the sportsmen and women represented by the Olympic Movement and the values of Olympism.
Additionally, the appointment represents a further step forward in the strong relationship between the IOC and the BOA. The IOC has been supportive of what we at the BOA are trying to achieve, both for 2012 and for the longer term, and in return, we are committed to assisting the IOC to ensure that the Olympic Movement continues to flourish around the world.”
The International Relations Commission is mandated to facilitate and develop the relationship between the IOC and the various national stakeholders within the Olympic Movement (including National Olympic Committees, governments and public authorities). It uses the contact networks and expertise of its members, who have all held political office in their own country or region, to strengthen existing dialogue and cooperation, and to contribute to resolving conflicts when possible.
The Commission meets once a year.
At present Lord Moynihan is one of three non-IOC members on the Commission, alongside William Hybl, President Emeritus of the United States Olympic Committee, and Sang-Woo Kim, President of the South Korean NOC.
Sportsmen (and sportswomen– don’t want to upset Dame Kelly) are not known for their brain power or for their verbal communicateration skills. As spygun said recently, they largely communicate through the medium of the cliché . The current one being trotted out by the track-pounding-spear-chucking tosserati is ” You shouldn’t mix sport with politics”.
When a country puts on a reasonable Olympics it is the whole country and its Government that receives the kudos. When it appeared that the Greeks would not be ready in time, we were criticising the Greeks, the Greek government and anyone called Stavros – not the Greek Olympic committee.
Who organises the funding? Ultimately it is the Government – the politicians. Why did we see the Olympic torch outside Number 10 yesterday? Nothing to do with politics?
The Politico-Olympic crisp packet was was first shaken by Adolf Hitler in Berlin 1936. The whole Olympics was designed to look like a super Nazi rally. Its primary purpose was to show Hitler and the Nazis in the best possible light and it worked – until Adolf showed himself to be a bit of a rascal a few years later. What do you associate Jesse Owens with? Wasn’t Adolf being a bit socio-political in his non-violent protest towards Jesse?
What about the so-called Black Panther protest by Tommie Smith and John Carlos in Mexico in 1968. That was very political – but in a nice way.
Their protest was misunderstood by many. All that Smith and Carlos wanted to do was bring attention to the rather dodgy American treatment of African-Americans. It was probably the most eloquent and successful non-violent protest ever seen and is the most vivid of all Olympic images. It made Black America proud. The spine-tingling sight of two black gloved athletes, heads bowed with stretched-out fisted hand pointing at the sky is forever branded on our collective subconscious.
Let us fast-forward to 1972, the Munich hostages and Palestinian fedayeen machine guns shredding Israeli Olympians in the name of (dare I say it) Middle Eastern politics.
What was the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics all about? It was a protest against the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Lots of politics there.
Yesterday’s footage of torch-dodging Gordon and his shit-eating grin reminds one of the importance of the Olympics to politicians.
Gordon on the one hand, wanted to be seen with the Olympic torch because he had no choice – he is the PM. On the other hand, his liberal feelings are no doubt in sympathy and Dalai-Lama-sync with the Tibetans. He did not grasp the torch, just in case the solids hit the air-conditioning and he became associated with what can potentially become Beijing’s Olympic Hiroshima .
There is one slight 21st century tweak to the Politico-Olympian argument. Nowadays, it is an Econo-Olympian Gordian Knot that we have to unravel. Economically, the Chinese have us by the balls and we don’t want them to squeeze.
I would rather allow Handy Andy to sandpaper my eyeballs than support the Chinese Olympics but imagine the fallout if all Western countries withdrew from the games.
Would the damage be confined to a casual “boo” from the Chinese in the direction of the IOC? I don’t think so.
There would be Economic and POLITICAL ramifications. They would flex their political and economic muscles so fast and hard that the Olympic rings would need Preparation-H.
So please, all you track-suited morons – “Shut it!”