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Olympics 2012: People Do Care!

Posted on the 29 July 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Olympics 2012: People do care!

The Olympic Stadium: Photocredit: Gerry Balding http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5915687592/sizes/z/in/photostream/

After a survey reported that less than half of the UK population is excited about the London 2012 Olympics (according to a Times/Populus poll), and following news of the Olympic tickets debacle that saw millions of applicants miss out – is it actually true that we don’t care? The Olympics year-to-go celebration was held on Wednesday at the Stratford Olympics site in the East End of London. Attended by Lord Coe, Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Games, London Mayor Boris Johnson, and with an ecstatic dive from young Olympic champion Tom Daley, are there glimmers of excitement, nay jubilation, in the quiveringly expectant air of London?

  • Olympics a-go-go! Whoo-hoo! Don’t knock the Olympics, trumpeted David Aaoronivitch in The Times. Pessimists were expecting disaster: “We’re useless. Remember the Dome?” But we’ve unveiled the projects on time. Doomsayers like Iain Sinclair, who mourn what will be lost in the regeneration of London’s East End – which are, frankly, “the crap shops, the soggy sofas put out on street corners” – see the Olympics as the vanity of the rich. But this “bomb-site nostalgia” is wrong. Preferring “neglect to action”, it’s a strange kind of Leftism made up of a “lugubrious priesthood” who feel they can tell us what is real and what isn’t. Proponents of this doctrine can escape the “edgelands”, whereas the inhabitants can’t. Sure, the £9 billion budget for the Games could be spent on other things – but that’s the wrong way of looking at it, since that money could be used for just about anything. Pessimists like Sinclair sneer at the people and turn out to be hypocrites – his own wife has got tickets to the games. The Olympics are “[l]ooking good and the people like it. The lesson being: let’s do more of it, not less.”
  • Javelin trains! Aquatics centres! One-eyed mascots cavorting to Queen! WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT? London 2012’s one-year-to-go celebrations, carolled Owen Gibson in The Guardian, were a mix of the “sublime” and the “ridiculous”. The international media (who arrived on the 7-minute Javelin train that now links St Pancras and Stratford, where the games are to be held) saw the architectural brilliance of Zaha Hadid’s aquatics centre whilst the mascot, Wenlock, was “cavorting poolside with dignitaries as they watched synchronised swimmers to the strains of Queen.” Enthusiasm is rampant. Politicians are queuing up to praise, with Boris Johnson quipping that since the venues are ready, “we might as well call a snap Olympics tomorrow.”  Not everyone’s that excited, though: almost half of people surveyed by an ITV poll said “they did not feel the Games represented value for money, while three-quarters thought it would bring no benefit to their area.” A lot hangs on the athletes doing well. Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, has “insisted the country would be ready” for the hundreds of thousands of visitors and athletes about to descend upon London. Though delivering the legacy “may be rather more difficult,” Hunt remains bullish: “The global standard we want to set is that this is the first games designed with what will happen afterwards in mind,” he told Gibson.

  • It’s not Londoners, though. According to Bemmag.co.uk, research by PriceWaterhouseCoopers shows that East Midlanders are among the most excited in the UK about the forthcoming London 2012 Olympics, with 44 percent of consumers “looking forward to the event and the benefits it could bring.” Insider Media say that their neighbours, the West Midlanders, are not far behind, with “41 percent of consumers” thrilled. But ”West Midlands folk are not necessarily planning to attend the event,” with “only 3 per cent of consumers in the region” having “secured tickets to attend sporting events during the London 2012 Olympics. Oh.”
  • Religious daggers allowed. After a Sikh sports fan, Gurdev Singh, was banned from entering Lord’s cricket ground, which will be the venue for 2012 archery events, Marylebone Cricket Club officials apologised. ”At Games-time, small symbolic ceremonial daggers, with a maximum blade length of three inches, carried for religious reasons will be allowed,” said a statement to Morethangames.co.uk.
Olympics 2012: People do care!

The Olympian mascots. Photocredit: scpgt http://www.flickr.com/photos/scpgt/5492201232/sizes/m/in/photostream/

  • Bah humbug. On Twitter, the television show Have I Got News For You was more – well, shall we say British – about the whole shebang: “The 2012 #Olympics are now just a year away, as are most British distance runners from the qualifying time.” Comedian Jack Dee tweeted: “Morning all. Today I have decided to put my name down for the Dad’s race at the Olympics.”

Give me an O! Give me an L! OK, you get the picture. More on those Olympics! And sport! You stoked yet? Whoo!

  • Less than half of UK excited
  • Women’s football

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