Is this a very British Olympics already, before its even started?

Posted on July 26, 2012


So at last! After years of preparation, billions spent and multi-national corporations flashing their products in your face, the big show commences in a matter of hours, the chance of a lifetime has finally arrived: the sun has come out!

I jest. But national pride for would-be part-time patriots and sporting events has ratcheted up an extra notch from all the bunting, Euros, Wimbledon and now this. The 2012 London Olympic Games. But before it’s even started, already we’ve seen such British traits of not being particularly excited by the display to the surprise of the rest of the world. I personally blame the weather. Or perhaps there’s more to it than just been raining non-stop for the last five years.

We Londoners were all along saw what was coming in that tubes were already rammed at rush hour, what of that with the Games just around the corner and all those tourists who walk at 2mph? Of course, The tubes are jammed to the point of expanding the width of the train and King’s Cross Station the other week was shut due to overcrowding in spite of refurbishment recently being completed. As for the roads, traffic lanes more gridlocked than an escape from the impending apocalypse. Maybe perhaps its best to walk. What, with those crowds? Yep. Even if there are sales on.

Then there’s the security issue. You may remember how not enough security guards were ready enough to fulfil duties at the games and so the army and police were brought in at an extra cost to the tax payer for someone else’s cock-up. I mean, really. You’re telling me that laws are passed to take civil liberties away bit by bit post 9-11 but can’t organise the safety of spectators and VIP’s over a centralised location? With all those missiles hidden over the Thames on council estates?

What is it about last minute blunders and hitches though? There’s a north/south Korean flag at yesterday’s Glasgow event, only 50% of tickets sold for the opening ceremony tomorrow – and at £2000 a pop it’s little wonder – the Olympic village sold to a private firm once the event’s left town at a loss of £175m and a £43m Emirates cable car that has twinged with the anticipation. Or it could the weight of expectancy. I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

But if our athletes representing Team GB collect a decent medal haul then the collective spirit of the country will be at red-alert – we’re never this happy. Complaints about being overly content and truly joyous will trigger a nationwide sobering campaign of grey, mundane drudgery. Depressing into a true but low sense of expectancy of our lives, to aim low and to keep watching X Factor.

Though the rest of the world may point and laugh, there’s something to be taught about comedy: it’s only funny to point and laugh at something or someone if the guy is either an easy target, or has an air of arrogance and a high opinion of himself, dignified if you will. The difference here is though, that most of them don’t seem to get is, we expect things to screw up. We expect it to rain at 32c. We expect England to be dumped out at the Quarter-Final stages of major tournaments. We expect the Tory government to make cuts everywhere. That stiff upper lip and disappointment is ingrained in us. It’s what makes us, well, us. The reason for it? Maybe we’ve just walked home from work in the rain far too much when it’s scorching hot from the hour before. Or those missed England penalties.

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