For some reason or other I can not get into the Olympic Mood and looking round Sittingbourne the same can be said about the town maybe because the Olympic Torch not coming up the Oldest Road in GB, Watling Street which passes through the Town did not help. As a failed Olympian, I was a reserve for GB Judo in 1980 I would have thought I would have been buoyant with the Greatest Sports Spectacle in the World coming to GB.
Then I saw the film on BBC Wednesday about the two scullers (it seems rowers only use one oar) in the London 1948 Olympics, this was a great film and empathised what the Olympics was truly about. Here was a time 3 years after a World War where the country had no money and rationing was still enforced yet we Brits still produced an Olympic Games. There was no extra food, no training expenses and no massive Olympic Village. One of the competitors rode his bicycle home every night and all competitors had to find their own kit. This didn’t mean going out and buying it but getting your Mum or Wife to make it for you; even the Medal presentation was done on the riverbank. These Olympians were true Amateur whose only ambition was to win Gold they had a couple of months of fame but soon drifted into obscurity but these were True Olympians
Of course as time passes things change and because several countries were cheating when it came to having amateur competitors eventually the Olympics became Open to the Professional World, GB never succumbed to cheating our Athletes in those days may not have won medals but they were true amateurs competing against professionals.
Today the Olympics are about making money, political prestige, and corporate sponsorship. Professional Athletes, paid and kept by their sports association, honed to perfection to entertain the World Audiences, Athletes who are treated like Movie Stars and who’s eyes are on their future glory after the Olympics.
I wonder if something has been lost from 1948 till 2012, when I was training for the Olympics all I could think about was Moscow 1980, what money I did earn had to be supplemented by wife going to work did I regret it NO. It must be something to stand on the Olympic Podium with a Gold medal around your neck seeing the Union Flag fluttering in the wind. Hopefully we will see that may times in London over the next few weeks