If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have noticed that I’ve seen a lot of football recently (when I say “a lot” what I actually mean is a healthy portion). Yet there are other sports in my life!!
This past few weeks have seen the first phase of ticketing for the London 2012 Olympics commenced (and nearly completed). I applied for 2 tickets for 7 sporting events as well as 2 tickets for both the opening and closing ceremonies. The total cost of my application (including the £6 booking fee) came to around £450.
Now that might sound like quite a bit of sport, yet in reality it was nothing in comparison to other people I know. The lady next to me in work applied for over £8,000 worth of tickets. My senior manager applied for £5,000 worth of tickets. There were stories of one guy who’d applied for around £24,000 worth of tickets!!
The organising committee for the Olympics set the system up so that firstly, you applied and made the funds available. They would then assess the supply against the demand by event. Where an event was over subscribed, they would run a ballot to see who would get tickets. Once the ballot was completed, you would get charged for the tickets you were successful in getting. You would then get told what you had won after you had paid for it.
We’re in the ‘charging’ period at the moment and I have been charged £86 by the Olympic Company. That means I’ve got two tickets for two sporting events (plus that £6 booking fee of course). Hooray!! Of course I don’t know exactly what events I’ve gotten, but I’m guessing the Football (yes, really) plus one. I should know by the 24th of June.
So I’m going… yet the truth is, I don’t really care about the Olympics… I’m planning to go, simply to say that I’ve been. I want that photo where you stand in front of an event, ticket and flag in tow with a cheesy grin on your face.
I have a number of problems with the Olympics… firstly, Athletics really, really is boring. Why 1,000,000 people applied for tickets to see less than 10 seconds of activity for the Men’s 100 meter final is well beyond my comprehension.
Then you have the fact that very few of those competing in these games are amateurs. The Olympic spirit was that the games would be the best of normal people (in my mind at least), yet there is nothing normal about the worlds fastest man. He earns a fortune from endorsements and winnings. He trains every day with the best science behind him.
Another flaw in the dream of the Olympics is the mantra that this is the ‘greatest show on earth’… well, it’s not. Firstly, it’s not the peak of every sport out there… the footballers and the tennis players will all be taking part as a novelty, or for experience. Indeed, the tennis players will be competing in Wimbledon around a month before the Olympic games in London – which do you think they would rather win? It won’t be the Olympics. Secondly, more people, more money and more TV time will be spent on the Football World Cup than on the Olympics. I guess a strapline of ‘the second greatest show on earth’ wouldn’t quite jump from the page in the same way…
And finally, sports judged on how aesthetic something looks (see rhythmic gymnastics, synchronised swimming, diving, etc.) are, in my mind, not sports. Sure, they’re hard work, but when 95% of the people watching have no clue as to who has won until a small panel of “experts” decide, it just isn’t interesting (and far more open to corruption that perhaps we might imagine).
So all in all, not a lot to look forward to from the Olympics, but I really want to have that photo.