I can’t remember being less excited about an Olympics. I blame London. Dull, dreary, dowdy old London. The Olympics is meant to be a celebration of summer, skin, sexiness. Hot people in hot weather delivering hot performances. Think Sydney. Think Athens. Think Barcelona. Where the crazed former fascist Juan Antonio Samaranch gave us sizzle and sass, his successor, Jacques Rogge, the beige, bloated Belgian, gives us bland.
Sure, Tony Blair and his spin doctors did their best to make us buy London as ‘Cool Brittania’. But lets be honest. It’s not. Or if it is – if – it’s cool in a literal way. In a Rain-On-My-Parade-Queen’s-Jubilee-Boating-Jaunt kind of way. In a Boris Johnson’s hair kind of way. Or, in the ultimate slap in the face to Blair: Cool in a David Cameron kind of way. Younger my drift. Anyway, who’d really buy that line? The IOC? Surely they can’t be bought?
So instead of the colour and spunk of a Barcelona, the eastern intrigue of a developing Seoul, the twang of a bevy of southern belles in Atlanta, we get Fifty Shades of English Grey. Hold the spunk. Please.
You can bet the school-boy toff, Cameron, will turn up to slap bums at the beach volleyball, desperate to hide his Etonian erection bursting through his Union Jack boxer briefs, and scared stiff that one of the Amazonian Brazilian women might slap him back and tickle his ego. Ew.
Prince Charles will show at archery or fencing, or ride his wife into the equestrian arena where she can rub damp noses with her sister-in-law. Harry will front for a photo shoot with Usain Bolt, kitted up in his athletic Skins, revealing his very own Big Ben for all to see. William will be found at the pool, doing the pleasant Commonwealth thing of patronising the colonies, while wifey Kate will get snapped wearing something virginal and white with the half-naked body of an immensely athletic black man contrasting against her English rosiness. We really have not come that far.
The Brits will win things for the first time in decades, thanks to the home ground advantage (which only the Canadians managed to fluff), and the grants from the national lottery. America will come second to the Chinese, and Republicans will blame Obama for being a pand(a)ering commy sympathiser. The quaint stories of African tribesmen winning 10 000m events will be blunted by them FaceTiming on their iphones back to their village immediately after their run, while here, in Australia, 23 million obese people will stake claim to being the ‘per capita’ medal tally champions of the world. It’s what losers do.
There will be slow motion replays of heart breaking injuries, this year in 3D, and endless sob-stories of the champion whose sister’s fight with leukemia spurred her on to claim silver, four long years ago. This time, she’s ‘hoping to go one better’. If only the TV networks could hope for the same. But they won’t. There will be embarrassing mispronunciations, flattery and flirtery galore, and someone – some golden boy or girl – will be crowned forever as our hero of these games, and forever more drive an Audi, wear a Tag Heuer and wash with Sunsilk.
I love the Olympics. The games. The athletes. The dedication it takes to be the best in the world at anything. But they have become bland. Devoid of all the spirit they once stood for. Now it’s all about ‘the brand’ ahead of the bold. Where John Williams’ Summon the Heroes once sent a shiver of excitement through me, as the dignified Greek team would nobly take their place at the head of the Olympic family, I now shudder at just what lame ‘economic default’ joke the commentators are going to make as the founders – now flounders – of our democratic way of life lead the grandest parade of nations.
Visa will flog us to debt. McDonald’s will saturate us in fats. Samsung will convince us it’s good. And Count Rogge and all his pseudo-royal has-beens and never-was-beens will lap up their $10 000 a night hotel suites, drinks at Buck Pal and the best (sheltered) seats in the house at the venues of their choice.
Meanwhile, on the field and in the pool, on the track, the pitch, at the table, court-side, in the sand, the saddle and on the seat… the young people of the world will have gathered, fit as fiddles, ready to battle each other in the name of sport. And endorsements. Good luck to them all.
And roll on Rio.
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PS: The above is satire. Get a sense of humour IOC, it would make a great start. And don’t sue me.