If you’re deaf and blind you might possibly have missed the news that we’re hosting The 2012 Olympics in the U.K..
I’ve known about the torch coming to St. Leonards and Hastings for months, ever since a very excited bank employee told me. Why? Because the bank – which is 80% owned by the public after it came close to collapse and had to be bailed out of its difficulties by the government – is an Olympic sponsor. What this actually means I really don’t know… except that a few minutes before I caught the torch bearer on camera the front of the ‘convoy’ had driven by.
The first bus in the sponsors’ convoy was ‘Samsung’ which was handing out blue ballons and flags and had a rapper rapping loudly about the Olympics and Hastings. The ‘Samsung’ bus was followed by a ‘Coke’ bus that had pretty young things handing out chilled bottles of the same – not that I got one. No, they weren’t handing out phones or Olympic mirror and razor blade sets which I can guarantee would have got them a lot more publicity. Then came the ‘Lloyds TSB’ bus. As busses went it was definitely the funkiest and, had they been distributing £50 notes, its picture would have been the one above. In fact the ‘Lloyds TSB’ bus did nothing other than have ‘Lloyds TSB’ written on it along with their annoying cartoon characters. No hint of free money, or a loan, or even a mortgage offer. Meh. And I’m one of the owners, too.
They left a respectable 5 minutes-ish gap between the sponsors convoy and the torch bearer which, I guess, was sensible. But on the other hand you simply can’t escape the fact that the games are not really about sport at all. The original Olympic ideal is long gone. Now, it’s about global recognition, marketing, brands, and money making… sadly.
However, I can say I was there. Along with thousands of others lining the route I saw the torch – or one of them at any rate. 😉