Wednesday, August 15, 2012


The Flame Is Gone

They have extinguished the Olympic Flame in London, England. The Games have come to a close, the athletes have returned home.

As is always the case, the Brits will have to wait for a year or two to tabulate the financial successes and losses from the event. Certainly, from a showcase point of view, the Games were most successful. For two weeks viewers from around the world were shown the sights of London, as it has evolved in the 21st Century.

Financially, it has always been difficult to assess all of the factors related to the Games. It was recently brought to light that the security cost alone for the Winter Games held in Vancouver was $ 844 million. I am sure that figure is well short of the total for the London Games. Security has always been a critical issue for organizers, especially following the disaster at the Games in Munich.

I am certain that every Canadian athlete who participated in the Games put forth his or her best effort. There were plenty of coaches and other officials on hand keeping a close eye on the participants. Fortunately, none of the Canadian competitors was sent home because of a failed drug test. There were a few other athletes in that situation. An American cyclist who won the gold medal eight years ago was stripped of his title for doping, just prior to the deadline that exists for the Games.

There is ample reason for excitement in Jamaica today. Usain Bolt established himself as one of the greatest sprinters of all time. He won the 100 metre and 200 metre events, the only runner ever to duplicate the feat at successive Olympic Games. He also anchored the Jamaican relay team to victory in the four by one hundred metre race.

The Canadian Women’s soccer team became the darlings of the media at the Games. They lost to the Americans in a terrific semi-final, marred by accusations of cheating and questionable officiating. The head honchos in the soccer world need to realize that the game has progressed to the point that it is ridiculous to expect one official to be able to rule the soccer pitch. There should be at least two referees on the field, maybe even three, to regulate the game properly.

There was a lot of criticism of the behaviour of the Canadian players after the game, and rightly so. They did not exactly display the highest of Olympic ideals, whining and belly-aching about the loss. They did get to play the French for the bronze medal, and won the game. They scored a goal in the extra time, on their very first shot on goal in the entire game!

Our men’s rowing team, the one with eight giants and Brian Price in the boat, came home with silver medals. They have been consistently in the hunt for many years, and were nudged from the top place on the podium by the giants from Germany.

Brian Price

Only one Canadian returned home with a gold medal, a young lady from the Toronto. She bounced her way to the title on the trampoline. Many of us were shocked to learn that jumping on a trampoline had become an official Olympic event.

I will apologize for the following, in the event that I raise a few eyebrows with a final comment or two about the current state of affairs in the modern Olympic world.

First of all, there are far too many sports represented at the Games. All events that are judged should be eliminated form the Games: gymnastics, wresting, combat sports, the lists goes on and on. The Games should be a competition between athletes. No more horses, or bicycles, or boats, or guns. Get rid of the big team events. They have their own World Cups: basketball, (another American “Dream Team”), soccer, volleyball.

We had just relaxed from the finals at Wimbledon and discovered they were playing tennis again at the same venue as an Olympic event. Same players, roughly the same results.

As the Olympic Csar, I will pare down the costs of the Games, make them more athletic, and remove the politics. Fat chance! Alas, I am a small voice in the wilderness. I have been ignored. Golf is on the agenda for the next Summer Games in Rio!

That isn’t cricket now, is it?

James Hurst

August 14, 2012

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