This is not a popular sentiment among many people I know, but I’m looking forward to the Olympics.
I like a big spectacle, I like high end/best-of sports. I KNOW there are a million things wrong with the sponsorship and the transport and the security and the question of will the people in those boroughs get the benefit in the end, and ALL of that, but I also like big sport. Working in the arts, where every judgement is subjective, I appreciate the finish line, the furthest distance, the most goals, the greatest weight. Add to this that very few workers in any field go to class/train EVERY day (other than dancers who cross over with athletes anyway), live their lives physically dedicated to their work, and I know I’ll watch (on tv) and on the two occasions I have managed to secure tickets, some human hard work at its very best.
I also love the work of Anish Kapoor, and I like heights and views, so am very excited to have bought tickets for Orbit too. (I’ll also buy tickets for the Shard one day – just as I have bought tickets for the Sears Tower, the Empire State Building, the WTC, the Eiffel Tower – really not quite sure why people think only London landmarks should be free?) I’m looking forward to seeing the arts in the Olympic Park, the bridges, the poetry. I’m looking forward to being a tourist in my hometown.
And yes, I KNOW, I’m lucky to have the money to buy these tickets. Very true, I do feel fortunate, but I also have a very clear memory of the 1968 Olympics, when my Mum ran screaming across the road to get Mary Ryan (who was listening on the radio) to bring her back to ours to watch her son, Mike Ryan, win the bronze in the marathon. It was a tiny black and white tv with bad reception, and it was amazing. Just as watching Nellie Kim and Ludmilla Tourischeva and Olga Korbut and Nadia Comaneci made me work harder at gymnastics, I have no doubt that watching the swimming will make my Mrs, Shelley Silas (a new swimmer, having only learned to swim properly as an adult) work harder at the swimming she now loves. It will make me work harder at the swimming I’ve always loved.
I find seeing the best, witnessing the best, inspires me to do better.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to do better.
Now, how about G4S, the coalition, Transport for London, MacDonalds, the Mayor’s office, those ’employing’ the volunteers, those looking after the clear-up and the hand back, and all the rest try to do better too?
(Oh, and Proctor and Gamble? You could do WAY better than those ‘proud sponsors of mums’ ads. They’re patronising and insulting to ‘mums’ as well as the rest of us; the dads, the infertile, the mothers-who-don’t-want-to-be-infantilised-to-mums, the non-parents, the grandparents, the aunts, the uncles, AND the children whose achievements are their own, not their parents’. Gah)