I was asked this on Twitter. The answer is, I don’t. I’ve got nothing against it. I participate in sport (kickboxing, which isn’t an Olympic sport, although nonsense like water polo is), and enjoy it well enough although I’m not comfortable with the Nietzschean cult of the Superman of many Sports fans.
I hope that the men and women who’ve trained so hard receive the medals, sponsorship and respect they rightly deserve – from whatever nation they come from. (Pumped-up nationalism leaves me cold, too. I’d rather see the best athlete win than the British one.)
My most trivial beef with the Olympics is that we’re obliged to care. The TV news is dominated by Olympics news, whereas I’d argue that the civil war in Syria is more important.
Primarily, though, it’s the horrible corporatism that sticks in my throat. If the Olympics really were a coming together of nations to celebrate human endeavour™, there wouldn’t be Olympic branding police stopping people using Mastercards or buying Pepsi. What the Olympics is really about is money and marketing.
Two of the sponsors are Coca-Cola and McDonalds, peddlars of sugar-filled soft drinks and vile fast food. In the not-too-distant future, that will seem as ridiculous as allowing cigarette companies to sponsor sports events.
Any sporting event that allows Coke and McDonalds to sponsor isn’t really about sport – it’s about money.
(See also London 2012: how the Olympics suckered the Left (in the Torygraph!): “The London Olympics are the most Right-wing major event in Britain’s modern history. Billions of pounds are taken from poor and middle-income taxpayers and service users to build temples to a corporate and sporting elite. Democratic, grassroots sport is stripped of money to fund the most rarefied sport imaginable. The police and the state are turned into the enforcement arm of Coca-Cola. How did this event suddenly become the toast of the Left?” and Father of Olympic branding: my rules are being abused “London has gone too far, says man who brought sponsors to the Games”.)