LONDON WAS the best Olympics ever and we even finished in the top half of the medals table. Clearly, all those athletes from the other Johnny Foreigner countries came to London and were eaten up with envy, because we were Team GB, and they were not.
We can blithely ignore the fact that what was once a unique event, with individual and genuinely amateur competitors has been steadily corrupted into a blatantly nationalistic, pseudo-political sham, involving state funded, cosseted and much-vaunted professional athletes. We are now light years away from the Olympic ideal.
So, when did the rot set in? In my view, the real and seemingly irreparable damage to the Olympic concept was initiated and masterminded all those years ago by Adolf Hitler in Berlin. There, the games were held primarily to demonstrate Hitler's awesome power and to forcibly illustrate his own belief in the inevitability of Nazi international supremacy. This, the sporting prelude to plunging the ostensibly weaker nations into the horrors of World War II. One might comment that, in a sense, the lessons of history are once again being ignored, this time by the Olympic hierarchy.
Once, still within living memory, the winning of an Olympic medal, any medal of any colour, was accorded due respect in a suitably dignified and restrained manner. Now, we find that the bizarre number of athletes in the honours list is only rivalled, in the realms of farce, by that of the entertainment industry – Wogan, Forsyth, Parkinson, Windsor et al. One is forced to conclude that this is a sorry result of the modern jingoistic attitude to sport in general. A sad and serious contamination, to be sure.
But enough carping from me already! It seems we have the form of Olympics that modern day society desires and when viewed purely in this context, London was a great success.
So, now that the brouhaha has abated, I wonder how supremo Seb might be rewarded? He, who has overcome the disadvantage of being born with the proverbial silver spoon in mouth, to become the sporting icon of Britain. He has been festooned with so many honours already and is now so revered that there is nothing else for it, he must be regarded by ordinary mortals as a sporting God.
Leaving aside his nondescript political career, Seb Coe, in his day, was a great track athlete, although no more successful in his own speciality than was, for example, the much less-lauded sprinter, Alan Wells. He has also survived the hot seat of London Olympics very well, and in doing so has undeniably enhanced his reputation. Seb showed us too that he is still quick on his feet, when he deftly dodged direct responsibility for the ticket fiasco. He must count himself very fortunate, however on this occasion, that he was not seriously confronted with what has become the permanent elephant in the sports room, the persistent problem with drugs.
Whether we like it or not, the spectre of possible drug-enhanced performances haunts and taints every sporting event, if only in the imagination of the spectator. Obviously this situation is unfair and a great slur on the honest athlete, who has honed his or her performance by hard training and a disciplined lifestyle, without the artificial aid of imbibing or otherwise using any illegal chemical concoction. Hopefully, the rapid advances in technology and the other relevant sciences soon will render this particularly despicable type of cheating impossible. In the meantime the automatic lifetime ban on culprits must be enforced.
So, well done Lord Coe. We, the ordinary punters salute you. Our congratulations also must go to the athletes, officials, volunteers, the media and indeed all who helped make a success of the games.
Now, will all of you, the aforementioned participants, please do everyone else a great favour? What we now call the Olympic games has ended in London, so it is time to get over it, wrap it up and put it to bed. It is all becoming a monumental, interminable and triumphalistic bore. Are we really to be subjected to 1966 all over again? God forbid and perish the thought, but I strongly suspect that we are.