Bidding to host Olympics a terrible dream for Kenya
Posted Monday, August 13 2012 at 01:00
- The Olympic Games are used to announce triumphant entry into the comity of nations. Dictatorships use it to launder their countries’ reputations as they bask in the reflected glory of their nation’s victories and inspire fealty among their subjects. It is war by another name
Somehow, the idea that Kenya should host the Olympics keeps popping up to pad news schedules on slow days. The Vice-President wants us to host the circus in 2028, in time for Vision 2030.
The Premier prefers 2024, and the Sports minister would just like us to host it. Why, in the name of all that is fiscally responsible, would any sane country want the burden of hosting the Olympics?
Let us look at the latest outing. The games were designed by the French as an attempt at global diplomacy, but now have been turned into a medals arms race. China and the States go at it at the top as they shadow-box on the world stage.
The games are said to have cost £9.3 billion, according to The Guardian (I will not attempt to convert that into shillings because my calculator only has so many zeros). Beijing hit $40 billion (the Chinese never released the real figures).
Barcelona’s tourist numbers plummeted after the Olympics. Atlanta was accused of diverting money from social causes for their circus, leaving her worse off. An Australian study by Monash University said the Sydney Olympics had absolutely no economic benefit.
Athens is indentured to the Germans for bringing the Olympics “home” in 2004. Beijing’s tourist numbers have not taken off as expected. (There is no evidence that the Olympics increase tourism to a nation. In fact, the opposite is true. Most tourists avoid the lumpen louts that are sports tourists.)
A billion-pound security
In its latest incarnation, transport is a mess. Residents are encouraged to stay away and London is effectively under occupation. Surface-to-air missiles on the ready, fighter jets close by, troops brought back from a war zone to police athletes, snipers in the hedges, helicopters on speed dial, the cost of security alone for fortress London is a billion pounds.
A billion-pound security for a fortnight affair? Orengo’s suit is suddenly good value for money. Lanes have also been reserved for VIPs, reminiscent of Mutula’s idea when he was Nairobi Metropolitan minister.
All this to see just how far the human physiology can get, accompanied by copious amounts of pharmacology in what is essentially a global merchandising opportunity for American corporations. Pass the anti-emetics.
The Olympic motto should change from “faster, higher and stronger” to “richer, exclusive and out of touch with reality”.
The Olympic Games are an international statement of intent. They are used to announce triumphant entry into the comity of nations. Dictatorships use them to launder their countries’ reputations as they bask in the reflected glory of their nation’s victories and inspire fealty among their subjects. It is war by another name.
The Olympics are a chauvinistic spectacle of countries competing for medals. The cost of China’s position is a pile of broken teenage bodies. It is no longer an amateur meet where it is all about participating, as was originally envisaged, but is now a competition filled with chicanery and gamesmanship, as the disqualified Chinese badminton duo proves.
Preparing for the Olympics would require us to build specialised arenas for elitist sports that are bound to be consigned to rust and rot after the games are over.
There is a large number of sports, such as the one where they do weird dancing things with horses instead of the obvious thing: race them. Dressage and other sports are things rich aristocrats do because it is no longer legal to shoot peasants in their faces.
The Olympic Games would leave us with more white elephants than India, which, as you know, is the home of that rare pachyderm, the South Asian albino elephant.
I read last week that the Greek Olympic team, eight years after hosting the games, was training in Cyprus because the infrastructure used to host the games had gone to the dogs.
The Greek stadiums cannot be euthanised for sentimental reasons and continue to fall into disrepair.