Friday, 12 August 2016

Rio 2016

I greeted Rio 2016 without much enthusiasm. A bit like I'm greeting life at the moment. For what's the point? This will surely be the last Olympics when we can enter as Team GB, when a Scottish tennis player will carry the Union Jack at the head of our team during the opening ceremony. It will be the last Olympics before government austerity bites and all the sports funding dies out. From now on, it will just be shitty old England failing dismally and getting nowhere unless your parents are rich enough to send you to Eton with all the Saudi sheiks and Russian oligarchs.

How we all long to return to London 2012, when the nation still embraced multiculturalism, diversity, and helping those worse off than ourselves to achieve great things. We welcomed foreigners, basked in sunshine, made our children excited, and grinned from ear to ear. Britain felt good. Britain was good. I was there at the 30th Olympiad. In Newcastle. It feels like an age ago. Everything seems to have gone wrong since.

So, with it not happening on my doorstep this time, and with me not feeling the slightest bit proud to be British right now I had decided to pretty much ignore the Olympics in Rio.

But, you know, the sight of Tom Daley in his swimming trunks does wonders for drumming up a bit of enthusiasm.

So I've been watching quite a bit of diving this week. And gymnastics. And it's given me a flicker of hope in the world. Despite the doping scandals, at least the Olympics is still a place where stupidity, madness and a whole lot of money can't win the day. Just a lot of talent and hard work. Unlike in EU referendums. Or (dreading November) American Presidential elections.

The British seem to be feeling very at home in Rio. The lousy weather, boiling hot one minute, freezing cold wind and lashing rain the next. Buildings a last-minute rush job. Nothing quite working properly. A cycle track being gaffa taped back together after a crash. A swimming pool turning lurid green. Everyone at risk from a nasty virus. It's kind of how we expected London 2012 to be. So no wonder we are well prepared for coping with adversity, and things just being a little bit rubbish.

Good luck, Team GB. I will miss you.