I love the Olympics (warts and all)

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Sport -

No event with Justin Gatlin in it has the right to call it­self ‘The Great­est Show on Earth’. Hell, no event with dopey cy­clist Lizzie Ar­mit­stead (right) in it should be so de­scribed ei­ther.

Drug cheats like Amer­i­can sprinter Gatlin should be banned from the Olympics for life.

Even Brits, like the un­re­pen­tant Monaco-based Ar­mit­stead, who are stupid enough to miss three drug tests when they should be ul­tra-care­ful in the big­gest year of their lives, shouldn’t be al­lowed to com­pete a few months later ei­ther.

Imag­ine the furore if a Rus­sian had avoided sus­pen­sion by em­ploy­ing fancy lawyers. In fact well done to those in charge of the Par­a­lympics who took the hon­ourable de­ci­sion to ban in their en­tir­ity, coun­tries who in­dulge in state­spon­sored dop­ing.

There’s also no way the pampered mil­lion­aires from the world of golf should be tak­ing part in an Olympic Games. If it was an am­a­teur golf event then fair enough, but the Olympics isn’t for those with man­sions, fast cars and yachts, even though they’ve won noth­ing of sig­nif­i­cance.

It’s the same with ten­nis. Andy Mur­ray proved in the Davis Cup he’s a supreme pa­triot, but why on earth was he car­ry­ing the GB flag at the open­ing cer­e­mony?

Why not let some­one like un­her­alded swim­mer Han­nah Mi­ley have the hon­our for the con­sid­er­able feat of com­pet­ing in her third Olympics.

I can’t get ex­cited about syn­chro­nised div­ing (well done Daniel Good­fel­low for putting up with his pub­lic­i­ty­hun­gry part­ner so suc­cess­fully though) ei­ther and they dole out too many medals in gym­nas­tics, shoot­ing and cy­cling.

It’s also true that I will watch the ath­let­ics and be sus­pi­cious of ev­ery win­ner in ev­ery race and throw­ing event.

And yet I love the Olympics. I watched fenc­ing rather than live Cham­pi­onship foot­ball on the TV last Sun­day.

I was trans­fixed by that cy­cling road race course with its stun­ning views and obvi- ous el­e­ment of dan­ger even though, sadly just like those com­men­tat­ing on it, I had no clue re tac­tics or the tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise re­quired.

There’s some­thing quite in­spir­ing about watch­ing un­known Brits, who spe­cialise in events I’d never nor­mally watch, bust a gut for their coun­try.

They are not fancy-dan show-off foot­ballers who kiss club crests with fake sin­cer­ity.

There is no dan­ger of our fencers, swim­mers and row­ers avoid­ing the op­por­tu­nity to rep­re­sent their coun­try be­cause they have a mi­nor knock or there’s not enough money in it for them. If a foot­baller had fallen like gym­nast El­lie Downie he’d have been off for a fort­night ready to have a dan­ger money clause in­serted into his con­tract.

In fact the vast ma­jor­ity of the Olympic team are the per­fect an­ti­dote to the Eng­land foot­ball team.

The sum­mer Eu­ros were a joy­less af­fair. The GB team in Rio is pop­u­lated by ath­letes for whom ‘play­ing’ for their coun­try is the ul­ti­mate ex­pe­ri­ence.

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