The Games

Warning: gushy idealistic Jonathan at the keyboard again.

The stadia won’t be ready. Transport will be a nightmare. Greek organisation will be a disaster. The IOC is a corrupt and wasteful organisation beset with cronyism and financial impropriety. And drug-taking is so rife, none of it matters anyway. I probably would have nodded idly to all of those charges, three weeks ago.

But they’ve all turned out to be either ill-founded, or plain irrelevant: the Athens Games have been an utter joy, a triumph of the Olympic spirit, and a celebration of the world and its people. The IOC might well be fundamentally broken, as has been sagely argued for years, but it really doesn’t matter – incredibly, the Games is bigger even than its own organisers.

Because in the end, what matters is not committees, nor even nations – what we see is individuals, their sacrifices, their failures, and their joy. In the reality TV stakes, Big Brother comes off a pitifully poor relative.

And somewhere, in the middle of all this, one catches a glimpse of what might, just maybe, be possible as a planet and its people. As the problems that beset us appear immutable beneath months and years of political inadequacy, the Olympics serve as a timely reminder that we can, collectively, get things right.

Heh. Sport works. Fancy that.

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