diamond geezer

 Saturday, January 17, 2004

Leap for London

London's bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has been launched. As expected, 500 acres of industrial wasteland in the Lower Lea Valley in East London are at the heart of the proposals. An Olympic stadium, village, aquatic centre and velodrome will be appearing on my run-down inner-city doorstep, fingers crossed. The Olympic bid, however, was launched five miles away at the Royal Opera House in the heart of swanky Covent Garden. A few local multi-ethnic schoolchildren were transplanted to wave ribbons and play judo in an inspirational manner, but the bid launch emphasised London's historic and cultural heritage instead. A wide range of additional tourist-friendly locations are being proposed for the Games, presumably so that visiting IOC members don't have to spend all their time standing on bleak building sites in hard hats and wellies.

So, if the Olympics come to London, where will the other events be held?
Beach Volleyball (Horse Guards Parade): Hordes of topless women shivering in light July drizzle, ogled by nearby civil servants.
Gymnastics (Millennium Dome): After 12 years of expensive nothingness, this white elephant will finally find a use. For a week.
Equestrian (Greenwich Park): Lots of horses and horsey women churning up the lawns beneath the Royal Observatory.
Triathlon (Hyde Park): The only safe place in London to go cycling, because there are no passing buses to fall underneath.
Archery (Lord's): Because cricket isn't an Olympic sport. Just as well, we've probably got better medal chances in archery.
Fencing (Alexandra Palace): Hopefully that's fencing the sport, not the sort of fencing that signifies unfinished building works.
Rowing (Eton College): This posh school is about as far away from East London as you can get, both in distance and in wealth.
Baseball (Regent's Park): Nobody over here will go watch, but at least all the American visitors' hotels will be right nextdoor.
Indoor Sports (ExCel Centre): International Boxing, Weightlifting and Taekwondo Exhibition opens July 2012.
Football (Wembley Stadium): Assuming they've finished rebuilding it by then. The one event we invented but never bother entering.
Tennis (Wimbledon): Another event we invented but should never bother entering. We're only good at selling the strawberries.
Sailing (Weymouth): Racing yachts down the Thames would be silly, and Southend just isn't glamorous, so ScaryDuckland it is.
Shooting (Bisley): Not East London? That's odd, because I'd have thought the streets of Hackney were already ideal for shooting.
Marathon (Champs Elysée): Alas, the 2012 Olympics will probably go to Paris or somewhere else instead. Pity, it won't be quite the same watching everything on television.

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