Monday, August 18, 2008

The great haul of China

It's great to see our sailors, rowers, swimmers and cyclists doing so well at the Olympics - and no doubt one or two track athletes will surprise us. It's a tribute to their hard work, dedication, commitment and sacrifice - all the qualities needed for sporting excellence.

It's also a tribute to the infrastructure that has been put in place over recent years in terms of facilities and coaching. I hope our great haul in China leads to a little humility among those pundits who have written off our chances of hosting a good games in 2012.

Not only do we have athletes performing at the top of their respective games, but we also have others who are competing in Beijing but who will not hit the peak of their potential until 2012. This is an exciting prospect.

We may question the amount of money being spent - and seek assurances that there'll be a lasting legacy not just in terms of sport but also local regeneration - but hosting the games offers us a chance to excel in other areas than arms sales and war fighting (and that has to be a good thing).

I still stand by my opening ceremony idea, however, perhaps with the modification of having four people representing the four nations of the UK (suitably dressed) coming into the middle of the packed arena and simply welcoming all the athletes before saying 'let the games begin' and spending the rest of the budget on feeding and immunising children in villages across Africa and Asia.

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