Bad sport


It has begun already! The dark veil of boredom is slowly settling over the world of sport and – though interspersed with the occasional twinkling of light – the Olympics continues to rank as one of sport's worst abuses of taxpayers' money. One only has to look at Athens in 2004 and observe how the Greek government managed to throw away $10billion. The Beijing Games will probably cost around $40 billion, although the estimates vary widely. Meanwhile the estimates for the 2012 London Olympics keep spiralling ever upwards, currently around £10 billion.

All of us could spend the money better than any bureaucrat. Perhaps, in extremis, we would even pay to watch the Games so as to actually make it a viable sporting occasion. When compared to that other quadrennial event, the World Cup, the Olympics comes up woefully short on value for money. Even the South African World Cup in 2010 will only cost $3.7 billion – and that's mainly due to it being completely unsuited to host a World Cup and needing to upgrade its infrastructure. The difference is that the World Cup continually makes large profits and thus justifies the investment.
The modern Olympic games is little more than a political junket that deigns to include the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In 2012 all the best hotels will be booked out for visiting dignitaries, roads will be specially adapted so that they may travel without incident and, of course, they’ll be able to watch the Games without the burden of purchasing a ticket.

It’s time for the UK to set an example. Short of giving the Games to Paris and letting them enjoy the invasion, we should petition the IOC to stage the qualifiers around the world throughout the following 4 years so that only the best from each region qualifies for the finals. For the finals of all the events are the small twinkles of lights in the sea of dirge that is the modern Olympics and they really should be the only things that we have foisted on us!