My first thought is that ‘think’ and ‘Olympic Games’ have no business sharing the same sentence. Surely, the whole purpose of the Olympic Games is to relieve us of the need to think. Instead, for two weeks every four years we can switch off our brains and watch wall-to-wall coverage of sports in which most of us are not usually in the least bit interested, accompanied by mind-numbing commentary interspersed with predictably platitudinous interviews with the competitors, whose blinkered dedication to their disciplines seems to have relieved them too of any time or need to think. And all this coverage endlessly repeated until it blanks out any cogitative process in white noise.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a sports fan. I always have been and I’ve always assumed I always would be, my addiction so ingrained as to withstand any corrective treatment, even the aversion shock-therapy of an overdose of exposure to the Olympics on TV. But, I fear, the BBC seems to be coming up with more potent formulations every time, so potent that that my addiction is beginning to quake in its trainers, wondering if it can stay the course. Absence of thought I was prepared for, even prepared to welcome, but this is beginning to feel uncomfortably close to brain-washing. I am somehow reminded of The Clockwork Orange, in which the protagonist is counter-productively ‘cured’ of his love for Beethoven.
Personally, I blame London 2012, when two deeply regrettable things occurred.
The first was that, the nation having stumped up unconscionable lashings of cash to host the games, many Brits felt that the only patriotic response left open to them was to follow through by supporting the event. I have elaborated ...
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...e preferable to the explicit kind our media display today.
“Excellence without exception – there’s no room for a passenger on a British bike!” Or so shouted the BBC’s Patrick Gearey from the Rio velodrome the other day. Amid such hyperventilated braggadocio, practically no foreign competitor – with the honourable exceptions of Usain Bolt and Simone Biles, whose profiles are now too high to be credibly ignored – receives more than a grudging, passing mention.
To cap it all, not only is coverage of more significant world news crowded out, but other sports coverage too. Imagine my chagrin on August 15th when, having set Match of the Day 2 to record so as to catch up with the weekend’s action in the Prem, I later found it had been bounced off the schedule to make room for yet more British-oriented reportage of the Olympics. Hyperion to a load of hype. That really grated.
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