Give the Olympics back to Greece
How do you match the Chinese? As the Olympic Games draw to a close, presumably the London 2012 organisers get even more jittery about how they can even start to match the Beijing extravaganza, on half the money.
There are some obvious tactics. First, they could go even further down the Beijing road. Why stop at voice-overs and fake fireworks? It would be much more economical to have the whole opening ceremony done digitally – and distributed to anyone who wanted to watch on a CD. No athletes need ever march into the stadium. It needn’t even be finished.
Nor should we bother too much about the spectators. China has had enough trouble bussing them in, so we could just build an Olympic sports television studio, with carefully positioned cameras, but no human on-lookers, except a few cheer-leaders.
Or alternatively make a virtue out of necessity and scale the whole opening extravaganza down a notch or ten. Perhaps just the Queen, the athletes and some Girl Guides and Boy Scouts… and NO fireworks.
For the future, though, the answer is obvious. The games should go permanently back to Olympia (in Greece, that is).
Regular readers of this blog will know that I am not necessarily in favour of all Greek treasures returning to Greece, but the Olympics seem a good can didate.
Olympia is a truly wonderful place, and I am sure that you could accommodate a nice stadium plus Olympic village there. And in the off years, the facilities could be rented out to athletes in training, or a variety of holiday makers.
It would stop the mad and expensive bidding process, controversies about human rights, and ridiculous over-spends on flummery (which could much better be spent on hospitals, the Third World, or almost anything else, honestly).
And everyone could re-connect with the ancient Greek roots.
(I should confess here that my generally curmudgeonly views on Team GB’s sporting success have been undermined by a substantial clutch of golds. But you will have spotted what a large proportion of our medal winners are from independent schools… how many ordinary citizens can afford to go yngling, after all?
OK, we’re very proud of them. But if these were Oxbridge students, then the sporting associations would be being vilified by the government as ‘insufficiently committed to access’ – and would be threatened with a cut in funds. One law for the sportsmen and women, another for the universities.)