Monday, 13 August 2012

Whatever next?

In his blog, the BBC sports editor, David Bond, ends his summary of the London Olympics, headlined "How can Rio follow London?" with "After the last three weeks the question might now be: How can anyone hope to follow London?" Boris Johnson fell into the same mindset when he declared, "If you were to say to me that we have just held the greatest games ever in Britain, I would say you are on the right track." The implication seems to be that it's impossible to conceive of anything bigger and better than LOCOG's staging of the Olympics. Mr Bond needs to remember that the Olympic motto isn't "maius et melius" (bigger and better). As I suspect her Majesty would say, "Good evening, Mr Bond, may I remind you of the Olympic creed? 'The most important thing is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.'"

As I've intimated before, the arms race of putting on a more impressive show than the preceding one or ones is folly. I don't know how to say it in Brazilian Portuguese, but my suggestion for 2016 is Os Jogos Olympicos Simples, the Simple Olympics, with a touch of Carnival. I think they'll manage, somehow. Meanwhile let's stop making the Olympics out of the reach of all but the richest countries - of whom Brazil of course as a BRIC nation is now one. How about putting some sponsorship into countries that need it?

PS Am just watching the closing ceremony a few hours late - what a monument to decadence and cultural arrogance - up to the handover! A shame after a thoroughly positive festival of sport. I will say no more.

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