I see the chairman of the International Olympic Committee has just arrived in England. It strikes me as odd that the people who matter in all this, the athletes, some of whom (probably a small minority, it’s true) make a genuine living by selling their skill and the spectacle they are able to make of it to people who are prepared to pay to watch them perform, which is why there is any interest in this event in the first place… er, lost the thread. Yes, sorry, the athletes/competitors, the people everyone goes to watch, have to make do with a shared room in a little apartment block in Stratford (no, not that one, but a less-than-inspiring place in East London) while the glorified office boys from the IOC get private jets, Zil lanes, police outriders (if the press is to be believed), and suites at the Hilton. I bet there was spontaneous rejoicing, too.
I imagine all this was agreed before London was offered the Games, as we can’t have the great quangocrats (and the IOC is one of the biggest quangos in the world) troubled by interaction with hoi polloi, the mere rabble who pay, and not willingly, for them to live like kings. Again, if the press is to be believed, the Pope, Kofi Annan or Barack Obama would be embarrassed to demand a reception like that (and I have no doubt he did demand it).
PT Barnum, Kerry Packer, Alan Stanford (is that the name), L’Equipe and many others have taken athletic performers and created a show through which they could all make far more money than they could have done within them, but the president of the IOC is not an entrepreneur, however much he likes to think so. If he were an entrepreneur he would make the Olympics a commercial success or go home. He can’t do that. He is a bureaucrat with delusions of grandeur, living high on the hog off the taxes of people who can ill afford to keep him.
The reason this happens, the reason that the office boy gets the star treatment and the stars are herded like cattle is that the office boys control the money. Other people’s money, of course. It’s just so much easy to spend when you don’t have to worry about where it’s coming from or what the consequences will be.
And wasn’t it finished off with unpaid child labour? Stalin would be proud.