Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bronze Medal

The Olympics are a curse in disguise. For a country gripped in recession the £10bn bill now seems steep (especially for a small country of 60m people).

But this is a city which has had two giant state of the art stadia (Wembley and the Emirates Stadium) built within the past two years within a few miles of the proposed Olympics campus, but these will only play a marginal part in the games. A new almost-billion pound stadium, which will largely be torn down after the event, is the centerpiece of this utterly mad venture.

Of course, building these castles in the sky that will hardly ever be used again is a wonderful aspiration, but utterly stupid in today's world. The IOC should be ashamed of the environmental and social impact of the 'successful' Beijing Olympics. It represented wasteful capitalism at its absolute worst. To persevere in its monumentalism for London makes the members of the IoC criminal, especially, since they neglect what they should be focused on - the availability of the Games to a global audience, particularly on new media.

And so, I have to ask, what will be invested in making the games available, not to those who can afford the £50 entry prices to Greco-Roman wrestling, but to the rest of us, anywhere in the world, who want to watch and access 'our' sport.

An investment of a total fraction of the cost of one of the twenty five or so venues being developed would pay for everyone on earth to see every minute of every event. 

Can I suggest, in these arctic times, that this might be money better spent ?

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