London 2012 'shopping Olympics' can still produce great sport
by Dean Carroll
There are the Soviet-style Zil lanes, the G4S security debacle, possible airport strikes, draconian corporate laws and a general public distaste for the remote and self-aggrandising non-athlete members of the 'Olympic family'. Despite this, even the most cynical of us Brits are starting to get excited about London 2012.
Will we witness the greatest 100-metre race of all time, with many of the fastest men ever competing in the same race? Will the United Kingdom deliver on its promise in terms of gold medals? And will there be the sort of transcendental Olympic moment that goes down in history?
Remember the 1968 Black Power salute by Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the 1972 Soviet Union triumph over the American basketball team in the very last second of the final, the gold medal hauls by the likes of Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis and Michael Phelps, a hopping Derek Redmond being helped across the 400-metre finish line by his father after his hamstring popped in 1992 and Eric 'the eel' Moussambani Malonga's 100-metre freestyle swim in a time of 1:52.72, back in 2000.
And we cannot forget the 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci becoming a global star after scoring a perfect 10 – causing havoc for the digital scoreboard in 1976 that was only designed to display three numbers, meaning her score had to be shown as 1.00. Or London Organising Committee chairman Sebastian Coe's titanic battle with Steve Ovett on the running track in the 1980s. Such dramas and triumphs of human endeavour will remain in the public consciousness for all eternity and London 2012 is bound to deliver some new additions for the archive.
So while this particular Games has become a corporate bonanza and the self-appointed luminaries of the committee will live it up inappropriately in Park Lane hotels and limousines – while the rest of society struggles to overcome economic depression – this will be more than just 'the shopping Olympics' as some critics have labelled it. We may be bombarded by brands and adverts, we may even see some cheating from athletes – drug-related or otherwise.
But what is certain is that we will also see inspirational performances and moments of personal triumph that can act as cathartic experiences for us all during a period of such financial gloom. It is time to forget about the elitism of the organisers and concentrate on what really matters, the real VIPs – the athletes and their amazing feats in pushing human capabilities to their very limits on the sporting field. Let the Games begin.
Really, these games represent the sports power of every country. People can enjoy their favourite sports and sportsman. In fact, during the Olympics, London is surrounded by the amazing environment and the people of London are busy in preparation for these Games.
Anon - London