16 March 2007

The 2012 British Olympic Spirit 2005-2007

The 1948 London OlympicsThe 2012 British Olympic Spirit was found dead this week in a partially built stadium on Hackney Marshes. Sources close to the Spirit say it had become increasingly worried after the estimated cost for the London Olympics more than trebled from £2.4bn to £9.3bn and have now risen so high that they have been selected for the Pole Vault squad.

The Spirit, the long-awaited offspring of Sebastian Coe and Tessa Jowell, was born amidst much fanfare and hoopla in July 2005 – although the fanfare and hoopla had less to do with the prospect of the nation being afforded an opportunity to display its sporting prowess to the rest of the globe and more to do with pipping the French bid at the post.

While other countries greet the prospect of hosting the Olympics as an occasion for national pride (not to mention a marvellous opportunity to rip off tourists), in ever-cheerful and optimistic Great Britain enthusiasm for the 2012 Olympic Games was, from the sound of the starting pistol, confined to construction firms and property developers gleefully shaking their heads, sucking in air and cackling, “That’s gonna cost you… We should be able to finish that by 2013… But we’ve got another job on down Wembley way…”.

With the Olympic ideal of the finest amateurs competing for nothing more than a crown of laurels and the approbation of their peers having long been replaced by the worst professionals incapable of organising a school sports day without forcing the parents to remortgage their homes and sell their kidneys, the Spirit - never strong - quickly began to wane. Rather than being galvanised into glorious action, across the land Britain's potential medal winners of the future chose instead to slump back in their sofas, turn on Richard and Judy and wonder vaguely if Citius, Altius and Fortius were three of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Attempts to consolidate all its debts into one manageable debt failed to halt the Olympic Spirit's decline. Despite plans to raise capital by introducing sponsored events including the 400m financial hurdles and the Snickers marathon, and London mayor Ken Livingstone’s plans to introduce a congestion charge for cyclists using the Olympic velodrome, the costs continued to spiral. The Spirit fell into a deeper, and deeper depression before, tragically, taking its own life, hanged by a genuine replica plastic Olympic gold medal bearing the legend “I Love the 2012 Olympics” (retail price £29.99).

The 2012 British Olympic Spirit will be buried in a pauper’s grave along with billions of taxpayers cash as construction firms and property developers dance ecstatically in a New Orleans-style celebration of the dead. It is survived by Ken Livingstone, Tessa Jowell and the knowledge that if the French had won they'd have done the whole thing with a lot more class and a lot less whinging.

As A Dodo small print: the cost of your Olympics may go up as well as up, and your home may be at risk if you do not keep up council tax repayments.