Let's send the Olympics back to Greece
I do occasionally get interested in a bit of sport. I watched Murray's Wimbledon final, and got half interested in the fortunes of plucky Leicester, Iceland and Wales on the football field. But the thought of the diet of the Olympic Games on the telly over the next however many weeks fills me with a mixture of horror and nausea.
I can admire the skill and training of someone who can run unbelievably fast or jump unbelievably high, but I dont feel much need to watch them at it. And I have precious little interest in all the scandals that surround the whole show. Particularly the doping. That's partly because the logic of it all seems to me so dodgy. It's a bit like trying to explain to a child why tobacco is legal and cannabis not. I haven't ever really grasped why some odd things you can feed into your body are OK, but others not. Is it about protecting the health of the athletes long term? Though, I assume that quite a lot of what is entirely legal, like wall to wall training, is not going to do the athletes much good in years to come . . . even my own early brushes with trampolining have taken a toll on my knees). Or is it about making sure that the competition is "fair"? In which case, maybe you could let them all take, or do, whatever they wanted in order to win. (Though I suppose I wouldn't want that to apply to other forms of cheating, like tripping or pushing...? But the peleton . . . ?)
And it's not as if things are now much worse than they used to be. The scandals may have changed, but there were always scandals and fights of some sort. Back in the days of Avery Brundage (or Slavery Bondage as he was pointedly nicknamed), the sometimes very violent dispute were all about who counted as an "amateur" ("professionalism" then being as toxic as doping now).
The final straw is what it does to the host nation, I mean the legacy -- or lack of it. I suspect that if was an inhabitant of Rio de Janeiro, I would have been there trying to pour water on the flame (though I also suspect it takes more than water to douse what must be a gas torch).
The obvious answer, if we are going to continue is one that has been suggested before: make a permanent base for them at Olympia itself. It's not as if the ancient Olympics were morally much better than the modern ones, and they were certainly much messier (more like Glastonbury than Rio). But at least they didn't move around.
So why not build a nice sporting centre somewhere near the old site (pictured at the top of this post). It could host conferences and other competitions in the interveing years. And it might even give a boost to the Greek economy. Or, to put it more cruelly, if the Greeks are so proud to have invented them, then they can deal with the consequences of what they created.