Published: 19 July, 2012
by RICHARD OSLEY
DEEP down, Lord Coe, Mr London Olympics, him, must know he only needs one sobbing Brit.
All he needs right now is one, just one, plucky British athlete almost winning a medal.
As soon as we – the collective gawping public – see a British athlete go close to winning a medal by a fraction and then struggling to hold back the tears in the face of their heroic failure, possibly with a grey-haired parent wrapping an arm around them, everything will be right with the world again.
Stick some stringy music by Elbow over these images and then we’ll all forget about the security mess-ups, the corporate love-ins, the hideous sponsorship deals, the press pass initially denied to The Voice, Britain’s oldest black newspaper, the horror of the Games Lanes, and the distasteful snubberance of David Beckham (worked like Boxer in Animal Farm to secure and promote the London Olympics before being clipped off to a stud farm for mustachioed, elder footballers).
Poor Becks had surely deliberately only sculpted his face in the way he has for a rousing Lord Kitchener promotional picture for Team GB.
He deserved better. We deserve better. We even have to get up before the sun (or at least the grey sky) comes up to get a glimpse of the Olympic torch coming through Camden next week.
6.45! I’ll miss Kyle!
Even then, we run the risk of being thrown off our BMXs like that kid who cycled too close to the torch security team the other day.
Truth is, the whole Olympics countdown has been an ugly mess.
Jeeez, we’ve even had to call in the army. That’s probably not even to deal with terrorists.
I read in the Metro the other day that poisonous caterpillars could “disrupt” the Games. True story. It’ll be them.
But for all of these Olympacatastrophies Lord Coe still only needs one sobbing Brit and we’ll forget how horrendous the build up for London 2012 has been.
The arc of media coverage will bend at that moment, the negativity will burst, and everything that has bugged you will be forgotten... just as long, just as long, as somebody you have never heard of wins gold or nearly wins a gold in a sport you are not normally interested in.
That’s what the Olympics is really all about.
It’s about suddenly being a Noddy Know-all about rowing and volleyball and water polo.
What’s been sad is that by hosting the Games we have seen how they are manipulated, used and abused in their preparation.
Whatever happens next, we could have done better over the last seven years. Lord Coe should admit that.
We’ve seen people struggling to get tickets after being told they couldn’t miss a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to be there – how does that help a joe’s self-esteem when they think about what they’ll tell the grandkids – and we’ve had jobsworths arguing about how we can even use the word “Olympics”.
But now’s our time, time for us to bob work for the afternoon and to watch some weightlifting instead.
Let the marketeers be drowned in the wonderful tears of our plucky Brits. Let’s do this.