THE OLYMPIC SPIRIT

The London Olympics are over, the flame has been extinguished, and the torch passed to Rio de Janeiro, who have a very hard act to follow.

On any view, the Olympics have been a triumph from beginning to end, from the moment Her Majesty the Queen parachuted into the stadium with James Bond, to the splendidly cacophonous closing ceremony, with golden oldies appearing Lazarus like for one final fling.

Team GB exceeded our wildest expectations, with medals galore and above all, the Olympic spirit alive and well, with the obvious exception of the South Korean and Chinese badminton players, who were rightly disqualified and sent home for ‘re-education’.

In amongst all this euphoria, and buried in the back pages of the papers, was a football match, and I was reminded with a jolt that ten months of unremitting football are upon us.  The football match in question was called the Community Shield, quite why I don’t know.  It used to be called the Charity Shield, until some bright spark realised there was no such thing as charity between professional footballers, and renamed it. It had all the usual ingredients: a career threatening tackle followed by a red card, several yellow cards, and a degree of tedium even the most avid fans would struggle to overcome.

On the same day, exciting news reached me that a horse owned by Wayne Rooney, the gifted but moronic footballer, had finally won a race, and had netted (forgive the pun) the equivalent of five minutes play for Wayne on the pitch. Wayne bought the nag from a fellow footballer, and was initially attracted by its name Snotalot. Every time the horse ran, it would snot and gob just like its owner.  Its winning chances were hampered by the fact that whenever another horse came near, it would fall over and cry foul whilst winking cheekily at the camera.  But the icing on the cake for Wayne was on those rare occasions when the horse won. It would gallop into the winner’s enclosure, do several laps of honour and then fall over, waiting for all the other horses to jump on top  and give it big wet kisses.

It’s more than a man, or horse, can bear.

GIVE AND TAKE

The London Olympic Games are upon us, and excitement mounts to fever pitch. Surely nothing else could go wrong.  We’ve had incessant rain, the G4S shambles, with most of the available armed forces called up to plug the gaps left by illegal immigrants, the traffic congestion and confusion over designated Olympic lanes, trains delayed or not running at all because of heat on the lines,  threatened strikes, drugs scandals and missing athletes, and to cap it all, the football team from North Korea, the most humorless nation in the world, sulking in the dressing room whilst the flag of South Korea, their arch enemy, is removed.

As we enter the Games in earnest, word comes that LOCOG, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, will be trying to ensure no infringements of their strict advertising regulations. This is to protect the many millions of pounds paid by accredited sponsors to snuff out any competition.

The task of enforcing their regulations has been delegated to the Olympic Delivery Authority, which has 280 enforcement officers ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. And to round the circle, LOCOG will have six lawyers working with them to slap injunctions on transgressors. I missed a trick there, as I would have been ideal in the role, and I’m as fit as a butcher’s dog, so no problem running troublemakers to ground.

Whatever happened to the Olympian spirit, nurtured all those centuries ago by the Greek nation states?  Their games pitted man against nature, and occasionally man against man, and embraced the notion of the noble amateur.  It was all about competing for the sake of it, and playing up and playing the game.

It was a bad day when the IOC let in the professionals and team sports such as football. God knows we have enough football from August to May, surely we deserve a break!

It’s all too big and too commercial.  I appreciate it costs a lot of money to put on the Olympics, and the host nation is looking to recoup some of the costs, but it’s lost something in the translation, and more’s the pity!

What happened to the gold medal for declamation, when the contestants would churn through the works of Homer and love every moment?

On second thoughts, perhaps not!

THIS GREEN AND PLEASANT LAND

Plans have just been released to celebrate “Britishness” at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.  They include a village green with cricket being played, a windmill redolent of a John Constable landscape, sheep gently grazing in the meadow, and artificial clouds ready to rain on the parade in the unlikely event that it’s not chucking it down.

But I was struck more by the obvious omissions of “Britishness” which cry out for pride of place.  Where, for instance, are the gangs of black youths in hoodies riding around on stolen bikes, brandishing knives and Molotov cocktails, ready to burn down their local community centre?  Where are the packs of randy Asians chasing vulnerable underage white girls and brandishing bottles of vodka?  Where is the classroom of obese kids surfing the Internet for porn whilst munching an enormous beefburger with fries?

I hope this panorama of pastoral bliss will also include a number of double decker buses standing idle with union members from Unite, or Disrupt, or Plain Bloody Awkward, brandishing placards demanding an extra £500 minimum for overtime, or else. And I would like to see Bob ‘Bogie’ Crowe leaning out of his tax payer subsidised council house and ranting at the fat cats and the enemies of the working classes, conveniently forgetting that he too is a fat cat, but of a feral breed.

Let’s not forget all the illegal immigrants, hand in hand with their lawyers, clutching their love children, and giving two fingers to the Establishment and their victims of crime.

And finally, no opening ceremony would be complete without a religious theme, so I suggest a sprint round the track by the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, hotly pursued by a pack of rabid gays and feminist wannabee bishops, and a gaggle of Muslims screaming “Infidel” at the poor unfortunate man.

Now that’s what I call the quintessence of “Britishness”!