Friday evening July 27 2012 and the greatest show on earth is about to start. My earliest memories of the Olympics go back to Melbourne where we kept up with the news on the radio following the fortunes of 2 great Scottish boxers Dick McTaggart (Gold) and John (Cowboy) McCormack bronze, I was 8 at the time and I remember being aware that something big was going on. Rome we saw on TV in 1960 in black and white. In 1968 in Mexico City we watched American Bob Beamon almost jump out of the stadium in the long jump like his 'bahookie' was on fire and the world looked on and held its breath as black Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave the Black Power salute from the Olympic winner's podium. Munich we remember for the political violence which overshadowed the games. Moscow in 19 80 was rather predictably boycotted by America and still produced a magnificent show, Beijing China I will remember for the quite stunning spectacle of the games and their presentation as well as the equally stunning spectacle of Usain Bolt's spectacular sprinting as he re-wrote the record books.
Meanwhile along the way we had Jesse Owens, Mohamad (Cassius Clay) Ali (who he?) The mighty Cuban Teofilo Stevenson (pity they never met) Dick Fosbery who made every high jump coach in the athletics world redundant with the 'Fosbery Flop' Mark Spitz who needs help to carry his medals around. The great Czeck Emil Zatopek who ate other distance runners for breakfast. Native American Jim Thorpe (look him up). The beautiful American sprinter Wilma Rudolph. The little Russian Pixie who lit up the world of Gymnastics Olga Korbut. Chris Hoy etc. etc. Not forgetting Princess Ann, did you know her daughter Zara is also in the Olympics, quality always comes to the top right?
I love the sports but I hate the capitalist casino that it has become. I would get rid of most of the sports we watch now in the Olympics and only include what I call proper Olympic sports. Boxing, running, swimming, rowing, jumping, cycling, wrestling, field events, that kind of thing. Ban team sports and ban weapons except the Javelin, ban competitors from representing a country, they should all compete as individuals just as the Greeks did all those years ago. There should be no such thing as a free ticket for anyone and I mean anyone and no guarantee of a ticket either. If one person goes in to a ticket ballot then everyone goes in. Except those who are financially disadvantaged for whatever reason; be it unemployment, poverty or disability.
Everyone is now ready including the vast amount of experts in drugs and medicines who will heroically lock horns as they do every 4 years for this great event. One side will move heaven and earth to cheat and the other side will do the same to catch the cheats, this has become more and more necessary as the capitalist influence has grown over the years. The ticket touts, the petty and large criminals and those who provide 'special services' to visitors have reached a peak of readiness, they have prepared no less diligently than the athletes. The commentators and TV experts have also prepared and they are all ready; each with their rag bag of superlatives and chauvinist insults, it is rumoured that some of them have been coached in the latter discipline by no less a person than his Royal Highness Prince Philip, so let's get on with it. 100.000 condoms have been made available to athletes (true!) so it will be 'bloody good fun! One way or another. I intend to comment further as the games go on, I'm saying that at the moment anyway.