Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Olympics, money and kayaking

click photo to enlarge
It seems impossible to express indifference or opposition to the Olympic Games without having opprobrium heaped upon you, such is the fervour with which the alliance of sporting organisations, politicians, sponsors and the self-serving bureaucrats of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) stir up support for the nationalistic jamboree. For years I've been of the opinion that the Games has moved so far from its original and modern ideals that it has forfeited the right to use the word "Olympic" and should embrace the inevitable and sell the naming rights to a sponsor.

The absurd sums of money that host nations are required to spend mounting the Olympic Games invites ridicule. As do the demands of the IOC for facilities for their delegates: the designated traffic lanes for official cars and the rest of their gratis benefits are megalomaniacal and no country should concede them. Then there is the idea that new facilities should be built for a Games - for a fortnight's utilisation - and the wishful thinking that they will find "legacy" uses for decades afterwards. The record shows that this is rarely the case. Moreover, you have to question enormous public subsidies for sports that, day to day, find it difficult to find an audience and exist only through sponsorship, state handouts and the recognition that comes from being part of the Olympics. Now don't get me wrong, I have no objection to people indulging in or watching minority sports or in the principle of subsidies. However, I can see many more worthy recipients of public money, and in straitened times I object to the state supporting people's hobbies.

I think it is time for the Olympics to be returned whence it came, to a purpose built sports complex in Greece, one that could also be used in the periods between Games. Moreover, I'd like to see the number of sports reduced to an agreed and traditional range (probably a few more than the modern Games' original nine). This would have so many obvious benefits that I'll only mention one - it would provide much needed visitor and TV income for Greece on a continuing basis! Under my proposals kayaking, the subject of today's photograph, wouldn't feature in the Olympic Games. Nor would synchronised swimming, trampolining, mountain biking, taekwondo, table tennis etc etc etc.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 67mm
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/200
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On