‘So are you excited about the Olympics then?’ It's a question I ask everyone I know. The response always focuses on a lack of ticket availability along with a criticism of the entire games as a result. I do understand these frustrations. I really do. But I also feel there should be more focus on our athletes generally, and what it means to host an Olympics in your own country. So I look for answers elsewhere – the media, for example.
Now, most people who aren’t on twitter or obsessed with sport won’t necessarily hunt out news about London 2012. They will see a myriad of Olympic designs on everything from biscuit tins to t-shirts down at Next or M&S. They will hear a bit about the torch if it’s on the local news. It’s very possible they will read the Daily Mail or The Sun and see only vitriol about ‘fiascos’ and sponsorship rules and regulations. They may see the odd athlete’s face plastered around town and on television ads. And of course, if this is your experience, it is likely to all revolve around money rather than the Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence.
So what I’d like to know is, why isn’t there an Olympics channel on freeview? Or at least an evening magazine programme, much in the vein of the One Show, broadcast for a few hours each evening on a channel like BBC3 for example. In Sydney 2000, you could follow the Olympic Torch and see individual runners on national television. It seemed to be on all the time. Don’t tell me to press the red button or go online. My mum can’t do that, so I’m guessing not all of the nation can either. It needs to be more in your face than that; much more of a celebration.
If the Queen can be on telly pretty much for four whole days, I don’t see why we can’t have more Olympics coverage in the run up. Tell me about the community hero running with the torch through Bournemouth. Show the first welcoming ceremony in the Olympic Village of the British Virgin Islands. Interview Lord Coe every other day. Show him doing something other than fighting fire – hell, people might even warm to him a bit, understand what it means to host the biggest sporting spectacle in the world. Get a profile up of each team and let’s hear from them what London2012 actually means.
I don’t want to just happen upon a semi-naked athlete in a lifestyle magazine, just because they said they’d get their kit off. I want to celebrate them with their clothes on too. It would just be nice to be a bit positive about what is a very, very special event. It’s an honour to host the Olympics in this country, I just wish the media would do more to reflect it.