Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Olympics are a modern form

of warfare. Other forms of sport are also anything from minor skirmishes to major battles.  There is nothing friendly or fair about them. The cost is high.
There was a student at one of my universities who was also a long distance runner. He was "in training" and he was studying. I do not know how far he ran each day but he was spending hours each day in physical exercise. He did this before lectures, between lectures and after lectures. In the time that was left over he was attending lectures, studying, eating and sleeping. He never socialised apart from brief appearances at meals. He was up for selection for Australia. Nothing else mattered - or so he was told.
There was another student who had been a swimmer. He had begun his swimming career early. He was keen. His parents were keen. He was at the pool at 5am every morning - taken there by his parents. After training and breakfast he headed off to school. After a day at school he headed back to the pool and then, in the evenings, he studied.  He never socialised either - until he came to his senses.
He told me about it. He told me.
        "I suddenly realised that I was spending hours staring at the bottom of the pool. Life in my family had to revolve around me. It was costing an enormous amount. Just feeding me was expensive. It was not worth it. I did not have that sort of killer extinct. I don't believe anybody should be asked to do it. We certainly should not be told it is a good thing. It isn't."
Not everyone would agree with him. For many that Olympic gold medal is worth all the effort. They have the killer instinct. They will risk everything to get one.
The Olympics left Greece long ago. They have become something quite different now. This time around they are reportedly costing London something like £10 billion - much of that on security needed to protect people from outside threats.  Yes, they will recoup a great deal of that through the influx of tourists to the country but the expense is huge. Each Olympics has to be bigger, better and more spectacular than the one before. It has become ridiculous.
It occurs to me thought that, if we must have the Olympics, they could be returned to Greece. There should be a permanent venue built in Greece. Everyone could contribute to this and then the Greeks could run the event every four years. It would save the vast expense of hosting and some of the corruption involved in the bidding for the Olympics. In between the facilities could be used for sporting and other events.
Yes I am aware that "the generals" running the sporting armies might not like the idea - but it might just save the Greek economy.


Alison Morton said...

Brilliant idea! Saves all the expense and messing about as well as the Greek economy. Possibly a little late this time... ;-)

Philip C James said...

Might be worth taking a look at what the Greeks have done with their venues since the last time they hosted the Ganes (2004?)?

Bit harsh on Warfare. Modern warfare has a purpose; don't think I can see one in shaving a microsecond off a record. I'm with your swimmer there.

As for the circus; it's essentially the same as rivalry between moms over who gives the best birthday party goodie bags writ large :)

jeanfromcornwall said...

Dear Cat, you used the wrong word in your writing, but I can't help wondering if it is a Freudian Slip. I think when you say "extinct" you mean "instinct". I would be very happy to agree with extinct, since I wish very strongly that all the folk who believe that sport is important would go extinct. Or at least lose that silly idea.After all, these athletes may be fit for their events, but as a general rule they are far from healthy - look at all the injuries and infections they get troubled by.
Now we are being force fed news about the relay of the torch, and I am wondering how I will cope on day *9 when it goes right past our front gate!

Lisa Shambrook said...

Spot on! I've been saying for years that the Greeks should keep the Olympics! It makes sense to keep it there where it originated and the rest of us offer contributions.
Right now the Greeks could do with help, and why not make it something permanent? They already rely heavily on tourism...
Saw a news report the other day on Barcelona and their Olympic stadium, now pretty much seems so much money for something that then isn't kept up, or even delivers the promise of regeneration in the future.
I say help the Greeks put together a lasting Olympic package and keep it there!