For many of us, this years Olympics will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the games in our own country.
However, I fear the true spirit of the Olympics is somewhat diminishing. I for one, always thought the games were an event for “the people” a celebration of sporting achievement for everyone to enjoy and be involved in.
This years event has highlighted several areas that for me, show the Olympic tradition is perhaps not what we believe it to be. The first sign was the ticket allocation, a lottery in which people effectively had to bid for tickets they wanted. This system left many people disappointed and in many ways favoured the people with deepest pockets.
Now, I can accept that there are only a certain number of tickets available, but what really annoyed me, was, after the tickets had been allocated, several huge corporations such as the credit card company Visa and various other non sport related companies, started to offer Olympic tickets as prizes! Personally I think large corporations should have been last in the queue for any tickets, why should the general public have missed out?
Then there is the 8000 tickets the government “squirreled away” including 100 tickets with a value of £900 and 40 tickets with a value of £2000. I believe the government have yet to confirm how many of these tickets will be going to foreign dignitaries, but you can be assured it will be a lot of them, and why didn’t the government join the lottery for tickets like the rest of the nation? Again, this doesn’t seem quite right to me.
Now whilst I’m not entirely against sponsorship, as I sponsor several teams and individuals with products and advice to help them achieve their goals, but the majority, if not all of the top level sponsors of this years Olympics are not British companies! If we are going to have Olympic sponsorship, then shouldn’t all the sponsoring companies be from the host nation?
I realise this may make me seem a little against sponsorship, which I’m not, but Coca Cola, and heavens above….. McDonalds! Sponsoring the Olympics! It feels like we are going back to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics which raised over One Million dollars in Tobacco company sponsorship! Unbelievable…but true.
Personally I didn’t apply for any tickets, so it’s not sour grapes on my part. I’m more than happy to watch the women’s beach volley ball from the comfort of home. It might also be worth watching the 100 Metres final as it’s only a matter of time before the winners one hand victory salute is accompanied with a Big Mac and Fries.
If you want to know what nutrition separates the winners from the losers, then come down to St Nicholas Street and ask me. Failing that, you could always buy an Olympic burger!
• Ant Watt is the owner of HMF – www.hmfworld.com – and a respected expert on sports equipment and practices. Tel: 01473 226888. (This column appears every month in Ipswich24 magazine)