I've reported before from the site of London's proposed Olympic Stadium, just a few minutes walk from my house (report here). In eight years time Marshgate Lane Industrial Estate hopes to be home to world record attempts and world media attention. Last week it was home to four fridge-freezers and a karaoke machine, lying discarded on the pavement smack bang inside what may one day be the Olympic Stadium. I stood alone amongst the bleak rows of warehouses and small factories and tried to imagine what it would be like if the athletes, officials and spectators were here right now. What if Olympics 2004 had been held in East London...
The four fridge-freezers would have been plastered with the names of the Games' corporate sponsors.
The Olympic flame could have been powered by the huge tanks of industrial cooking fat currently to be found across the site.
Half the competitors would still be stuck in traffic on the Blackwall Tunnel Approach road.
The marathon would have gone past my front door, and Paula would have won it.
The whole world would have seen that the weather in London is 'always wet'.
The swimming could have been held in a flooded Victoria Park without the need to build a new 50m pool.
The canoeing could have been held across town in the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain (or the cycling, if dry).
London's obsolete transport network would have ground to a halt due to 'late running of engineering works at White City'.
Local muggers would have taken the medals in the wrestling, shooting and 100m sprint.
We'd all have stayed at home and watched everything on the telly rather than forking out £100 for a distant seat in the grandstand.