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Is it the Right Time for the Olympics?

The London 2012 Olympics are here but are we actually able to afford such an extravagant exercise when everything else is being cut?

Is this just another sporting fixture or will the Olympics have a lasting legacy on this European capital?

The London 2012 Olympics have arrived which surely means that we can only expect untold benefits to our nation and economy- unless you don’t live in a city or a town or suburb close to a city.

Like Wales for example, who have already expressed their dissatisfaction and feeling of isolation from the Olympics in a recent opinion poll. So, what benefits can I be expecting? None, I’d say, except a small feeling of sporting patriotism and a conversation starter. Disadvantages vastly outweigh the advantages, but I suppose it’s because I’m not really a sports fan and I haven’t any way of watching but in front of the television that I hate to sit in front of anyway.

Nevertheless, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I can’t say I didn’t gather with the rest of my patriotic townsfolk in order to stand on a street corner and watch the Olympic torch pass through Gillingham by me for a mere 3 seconds of my life. I spent more time staring at the abstractly-shaped Coca Cola lorry than the actual icon that is the flame. And then I got back on with my life – within a few hours, I’d forgotten about the inspirational event that was a once in a lifetime thing. It was back to normality for me.

And that was the Olympics for me (except the lucky moment I did get to hold a torch for thirty seconds in Cheshire, simply for a quick photo and the novelty of doing so) – and probably a lot of other people in the UK. They saw the torch go by their town for a few minutes and then they went home… And they forgot. Maybe they will sit in front of the TV and watch the results of billions of pounds of public money being spent, and the use of censorship in Olympic event arenas as a result of private money. But is it a stunt? Perhaps.

The Olympics were won for the UK under the Labour Government in 2005, 7 years ago, and then it was cause for massive celebration, but now, under the Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition, the continuation and commitment to undertaking the games in the UK simply seems an attempt to divert our attention from the less favourable policies being discussed and introduced, as we have seen before. The crisis in Libya detracted from Education and Health Care reforms, for example. The only comfort we can take is that Parliament is in recess and no policies will be introduced while the games are on, and the whole G4S problems occurred right at the end of the term.

Maybe Mitt Romney is right when he said that the UK was not prepared for the Olympics and our enthusiasm just isn’t there. Unless it’s on your doorstep, you probably feel disillusioned and not quite involved. And even then, you might feel angry and discouraged from taking part in the fun; you might be more concerned about the missiles on your roof, or the soldiers checking your post, or the security officials telling you to take your Pepsi t-shirt off.

So, is it the right time for the Olympics considering our massive financial debt and our complete dissatisfaction with the political arena? Is sport the one thing that will return our community spirit? And have the Olympics been organised in the right way? I’ll leave that for you to decide. We all have our own opinions. Personally, I find the games and the expenditure on them mildly hypocritical. And I do feel partly disillusioned; if it were not for the torch going right through my town, and the excitement for the games created by the various activities held by passionate individuals at my college, I might have just seen the games as another sporting fixture – another programme to skip past on the TV.

I probably will anyway. I’ll see what happens with the Opening Ceremony tonight and decide then.

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