London Olympic Games

The London Olympics will be held from 27 July to 12 August 2012, with the usual propaganda about the gains the Olympics bring to the hosting country. Usually such assertions do not consider the full costs of the games, including building the infrastructure and venue. The UK taxpayer is footing a large part of the bill.

As usual, I will not be watching. To me the Olympic movement represents corruption and excess and I would not be disappointed if the costs of London proved so overwhelming that future bids became more realistic or even if the Olympics were to be substantially downsized. The Olympics has moved well away from the objectives of Pierre de Coubertin, which was to encourage physical exercise by showing what amateurs could achieve in competition. Increasingly the games have become elitist and provide no connection with the average person.

It is also a convenient fiction that competitors are representing their country rather than themselves. It is the competitor that receives the glory, recognition and often profit. Spectators might enjoy the spectacle; this is reflected in the cost of tickets and the substantial amounts paid by television stations to the Olympic movement.

For various reasons, the Australian taxpayer provides significant subsidies to athletes and to the Australian Olympic Committee. Yet the taxpayer never get a return on that investment.

If a student goes to an Australian university, he or she will usually receive a subsidy through the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) for undergraduates, which is a contingent loan repayable when the student’s taxable income rises above a certain level (about $45,000 now). The HECS scheme (now HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP) recognises that a student internalises the benefits of tertiary education, while there is a public subsidy component for the positive externalities of such education.

Yet a similar scheme does not apply to elite athletes, where the costs are considerably greater than any university place and where, arguably, the benefits are more fully internalised by the athlete. This is a distortion, and Australian athletes should be required to repay some of the costs of their training when they have sufficient financial resources.

Let us return the Olympics to Ancient Olympia, where they were held from 776 BC to 394 AD. That is where the true Olympic spirit lies. Surely the Greek Government could run the competition each four years, as its ancestors did, with less corruption than the present Olympic movement? This could be Greece’s future: tourism and games. Why not bring back the four panhellenic games: the Pythian Games at Delphi, the Nemean Games at Nemea, the Isthmian Games at Corinth and the Olympic Games at Olympia? A series of four relatively small games held each two years in Greece would be a fantastic addition to Greece’s tourist potential and help protect and discover its rich ancient history. The events would be limited to those held in the ancient games.

UPDATE

Even the families of Olympic athletes seem to think that taxpayer should pay for their tickets and flights to London. Outrageous! Stephanie Rice who has gorged on the public teat for more than six years and has made hundreds of thousands of dollars in sponsorship deals, thinks they are essential to her performance: buy them a ticket then Stephanie!

 

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82 Responses to London Olympic Games

  1. Amfortas

    I agree with the last part. And not just for the Olympian successes but for all the other competitions that net rich rewards. The ‘top’ athletes make considerable fortunes from ‘advertising’ and so forth and ought to pay back the costs that I as a taxpayer have incurred. I rankle everytime I pick up a box of breakfast cereal and see the face of some ‘Star’ whose career and personal luxuries I have paid for.

  2. Rabz

    To me the Olympic movement represents corruption and excess

    Agreed – and I’m a sports fanatic.

    I boycotted the last olympics because it was held in china.

    Happy to boycott this olympics because the uk is a ridiculous self destructive cesspit.

    I buy my own bread and gubment circuses suck.

  3. JC

    agreed Samuel. I can’t stand that thing. won’t be bothered watching anything. It’s statist bullshit.

  4. C.L.

    Near Third Reichian paganism and state worship.

    I hate the whole thing and hope we win zero gold medals.

    Tyrant for a day, I would demolish Canberra’s East Germany-inspired AIS with a wrecking ball. I’d give a gold medal to the man charge of the ball.

  5. Yobbo

    Mostly I just hate the olympics because its a month of the world’s most boring “sports”.

    If there’s no ball, it’s not a sport. The average person could not give a fuck who the best 200m hurdler, javelin thrower or rythmic gymnast is.

  6. Sam Duncan

    The only consolation for the uttery appaling summer we’re suffering here (yes, even by our usual standards) is the prospect of these Games going down in history as the coldest and wettest in history, thus massively reducing the likelihood of any British city ever again having the “honour” of hosting them. In a perverse way – because I hate these statist strength-through-joy wankathons as much as the next guy – I’m kind of looking forward to it. I just hope the weather holds, er, down.

  7. Fisky

    Mostly I just hate the olympics because its a month of the world’s most boring “sports”.

    Oh, god, is it that long?

  8. Fisky

    I hate the whole thing and hope we win zero gold medals.

    Hear hear! I hope our entire swimming team gets a solitary bronze between them. That should silence the jingoistic idiots in the media for a bit.

  9. Abu Chowdah

    Sport is for morons. And nerds who seek to curry favor with mouth breathers.

    Except baseball.

  10. John Comnenus

    Baseball! Are you for real. I hate the Olympics too. It has been turned into a massive carnival of authoritarian moronocy. Noone should bid to host these outrageously expensive games in an era of necessary austerity.

  11. Nilk

    The Olympics are on?

    Only joking. Sort of. Count me in as another who could care less.

  12. Cato the Elder

    The sports are boring and the system corrupt beyond redemption. It would almost be funny to watch the smug preening, if we weren’t forced to pay for it all.

  13. Jumpnmcar

    For starters it needs to be trimmed to ” the best on the planet ” in open competition. This would halve the cost. Lets face it, most (if not all) female world records aren’t up to male qualifying levels.
    In an age of gender equality, it’s condescending to reward mediocrity on the basis of gender.

    ( I don’t expect many feminists to back me up )

  14. Skuter

    Baseball and judo are the only sports I will watch. Athletics, gymnastics, diving, swimming…who gives a shit, really???
    I do hate the corruption and the wasteful spending of taxpayer funds. I am more offended by the pompous administrators, who shamelessly ask for more and more funds, than I am by anything Kenrick Monk and Nick Darcy did in the US…
    BTW-has anyone noticed the similarities between Julia Gillard and Steve Hooker? Both have red hair (Hooker’s is much more stylish) and both are afraid to make the leap and face the music…

  15. johno

    Count me in as another who is happy to see the demise of the Olympics, along with all other taxpayer funded sporting events.

    There are NO public benefits that justify taxpayer funding of these wankathons.

  16. benson

    I hope a future conservative government abolishes the AIS. Not just to save money, but also to see Australia collectively lose its shit when they find out. Hee hee.

  17. Entropy

    That article in the update doesn’t have the parents complaining that the taxpayer is paying for their airfares, and it isn’t clear that they are asking for the tickets to be paid for by the taxpayer, but that they are available. They are complaining that corporates and sponsors have bought up all the tickets, and they can’t get them.

  18. Major Elvis Newton

    The nauseating jingoism that will descend over our nation over the next six weeks will only retreat if Austraya don’t win anything.

    Witness the sharp drop off in interest in Wimbledon after all the colonials were knocked out and the rapidly declining interest in Le Tour as Cadel Evans trails the leaders.

    Typically predictable meeja attitude though.

    However, there is only one true sport: boxing.

    Oi! Oi! Oi!

  19. H B Bear

    The IOC only get a silver medal for nepotism and corruption anyway – FIFA first and daylight second. I’m more pissed about the $45m of taxpayers’ money Frank Lowy’s ego pissed up against the wall for a pointless bid to host a wog ball game.

    The Olympics is a vastly expensive, predominantly loss making, urban renewal and real estate project with television rights attached.

  20. I think it’s a great idea to subject elite athletes to a HECs like system. Athletic pursuits should be treated similarly to academic pursuits.

    Of course, perhaps I’m biased and bitter on account of the fact that school culture dictated that it was okay to be great at sport but not okay to be academically clever (guess which one I was?) So I have an issue with the Australian cultural attitude to sport generally. Yes, I very much admire people who are good at sport because I’m not, and I enjoy watching people who are good at sport for that reason. But I think sports people should be treated like other talented people.

  21. Andreas

    So many reasons to loathe the Olympics. The colossal waste of money, the inundation of media coverage, the grandstanding, the gravy trains, those vomitous opening ceremonies. And Australia’s desperation for validation via medals is just nauseating – that’s one thing I can’t stand about Australia, the need for constant validation on the world stage. I was so glad we missed out on hosting the soccer world cup and I pray we do not win that seat on the UN Security Council. Please. God no.

    Also does the city of London really need more promotion, really?

  22. Ellen of Tasmania

    My family will be watching the equine events. I guess everyone involved in the various sporting activities like to be able to see the best of the best in their field. But not at tax-payers expense. If public funds weren’t involved, it would probably be a much cleaner event all round.

  23. Phil E Steyn

    Wow! I thought I was Robinson Crusoe on this. I’m so glad that others are as contemptuous of so-called Sportsmen and women as I, who lost interest in sport as soon as it became “Professional” What a joke! These parasotes are not professional, they are MERCENARIES; and forget “doing it for the Country”, that’s pure bullshit. Self absorbed wankers.
    Real Professionals are those who are educated beyond the average, who provide their skills pro bono publico to those who need their help, and do it without payment or fanfare.
    When did you see a so-called sports person visit a hospital or appear at a kids amateur sports club without their full retinue of club officials, journalists, PR people and Cameramen?
    These sports persons are parasites on society. Their “skills” amount to catching/throwing/kicking a ball with or without a stick of some sort. Or they can run and jump. Duh! Given enough time and money, we could train chimps to do that. Their so called skills are as nothing compared with neurosurgery, science, let alone an electrician, plumber, or bricklayer.

  24. Infidel Tiger

    The only event worth a pinch of shit is the Mens 100m Final. All the rest is garnish that should be pushed aside and binned.

  25. Phil E Steyn

    Moreover, I’ve seen chimps riding horses. So there!

  26. Jazza

    Well, I’m almost at saturation point with my recorded Tv shows, and will be entertained in b/t computing and doing sudokus, while the overpaid nitwits gab on about events over there, besides, if Australia wins a medal it will be all over the news and replays, so why bother watching and especially why bother subjecting oneself to has been ex sporting type commentators or worst of all Eddie Everywhere!?

  27. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Yeah, another who is bored senseless by this tripe and won’t watch a moment of it.

    Want actual Olympics? Fine. Move it permanently back to Greece in the original stadiums, with the original sports and the original dress for competitors and spectators.

    ie: everyone is naked.

    Tough titties for the musselmen, eh?

    Only concession to modernity – women can also compete under the same conditions. Have to add 50% more rules to pankration, though. They already had ‘no biting’ and ‘no eye-gouging’. Have to add ‘no ripping tits off’ to the women’s event. Killing is fine, though, is a bit tough in the boxing event (the one killed automatically wins).

    pankration’s a real spectators sport (you’d have to be mad to actually participate). I know of no other sport where one winner (Arrhichion of Phigalia) won it while being in a slight state of death at the time.

  28. Infidel Tiger

    Moreover, I’ve seen chimps riding horses.

    I seem to back those horses every Saturday.

    Did you know that greyhounds used to be ridden by monkeys?

  29. Phil E Steyn

    BTW, has anyone EVER heard a olympic sportsperson acknowledge ( let alone thank,) their unwilling taxpayer supporters? I haven’t. They’ll heap praise on the AIS, their coaches, their business sponsors etc. But the taxpayer? Nah, wouldn’t occur to them.
    It’s that good old sense of entitlement again.

  30. Moreover, I’ve seen chimps riding horses.

    I’ve seen monkeys riding dogs herding goats, does that count?

    Cowboy Monkey Rodeo Night!

  31. Phil E Steyn

    IT…I know this’ll be a shock, but those riding your saturday losers are not chimps. Just very, very small people

  32. Infidel Tiger

    The AIS should have a HECS style debt attached to it.

    It’s fricking ridiculous that Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett make millions of our largesse.

  33. e-girl

    Still waiting for a moment of silence in remembrance of the Israeli team members murdered by terrorists in 1972.

  34. pete m

    I enjoy watching the competition. I love seeing people striving beyond the limits of their physical capacity and skill in their efforts. I find it inspiring.

    I agree the team sports have ruined a lot – when they allowed the “Dream Team”, tennis etc, that sort of rubbish I refuse to watch.

    Athletics is still the purest of Olympic event for me.

    Swimming – gets all the media hype but still ok.

    Rowing, Boxing and archery – when else do you see them?

    Weight lifting is also good fun, seeing if someone will burst a spinal disc.

    Each to their own. Just don’t watch.

    Taxes – I’d rather pay sportspeople than any of the yarts.

    99% of those we pay never make enough out of the sport to pay back, so a lot of the above whinging is just that. Grumpy old sods. They get a pittance – barely above the dole in any event.

    Next!

  35. jupes

    I love sport and love the Olympics. To observe the best in the world competing is a privilege. The athletics is reality TV at its very best. I barrack for the Aussies and hope they win gold (except in women’s shot put).

    I don’t have a problem funding the AIS but draw the line at funding their families travelling to watch.

    That being said, there is a lot about the Olympics that is bad. The IOC being as corrupt as the UN for starters. Also there are far too many sports.

  36. tbh

    I love the competition side of the Olympics. That is, the boundary testing of human endeavour bit. Seeing someone run, jump, throw, cycle etc faster, higher, further than anyone in human history is exciting to me.

    What I hate is everything else about it. The corruption, the scandal, the colossal waste of money of the event itself. Name one city that hasn’t plunged down the fiscal toilet as a result. It’s a bloody curse. I also agree that officialdom of the IOC is vomit inducing.

    I would like to see sport and the arts totally de-funded in Australia. The problem is that there are votes to be had in it and thus it will never happen.

  37. Woolfe

    Still waiting for a moment of silence in remembrance of the Israeli team members murdered by terrorists in 1972.

    Yes, well said.

  38. Rococo Liberal

    Besides the fact that the IOF acts likes a standover gang and forces host counttries to wrek terrible vengeancce on anyone who uses the word Olympic without paying lots of dosh to IOF, I hate the Olympics because I think that modern sport is is so puerile, or at least encourages puerilty in the poor fat slobs who want to talk about it all the time.

    Sport is great when you are at school and take part in it. But as the old saying goes: ‘when I became a man, I put away childish things.’

    But is would seem that in our modern world, where so many men want to wear little biys shorts instead of long trousers and so many women are obsessed with the lives of ‘celebrities,’ that more an ore people are not putting away childish things.

  39. Jim Rose

    is the ANZ stadium built for the sydney olympics still in business? I know that it is known to the bankruptcy courts.

    I am told that the plan for canberra and the soccer world cup was to build another slighty larger stadium next the current arena. I do not know what was to be done with this spare stadium afterwards.

  40. Rococo Liberal

    Taxes – I’d rather pay sportspeople than any of the yarts.

    As someone who prefers the arts to sport, and who does a lot of work for cultural bodies I agree with you.

    Government funding has corrupted the arts. Too many unadventurous and unenterprising arts bodies now come to expect government funds to get them through that they have stopped actually trying to attarct a new audience.

  41. Rococo Liberal

    But sport needs our money even less than the arts. At least sport has a helthy audience who is prepared to pay to watch yahoos run around playing games.

  42. Jim Rose

    Years ago, there was a story in the SMH about use of statistics to glean whether drugs where used less in the sport in the Olympics and other sports events.

    The hypothesis was that the gap in records between men and women should narrow in the power sports when doping is prevalent and widen when anti-doping strategies were working.

    Drugs make women disproportionately and more like male athletes in performance in the power sports. Women can run faster, jump higher etc with the help of drugs.

    Up until 1992, the power sports records for men and women were converging. They started to diverge after 1992.

    The records for female sports in 1992 stood for an unusually long time. Previously they were broken several times in the same mega-event.

  43. Keith

    Best thing to come out of the Olympics.
    Best spray ever.
    Ray Hadley spitting the dummy.
    Gold medal performance.
    (ignore pretentious tut-tutting by the poster)

  44. Taxes – I’d rather pay sportspeople than any of the yarts.

    +1

  45. I always thought ‘sport’ was what civilised countries did to end minor wars between city states. It’s what se

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  47. Prompete

    Totally agree with a ‘HECS’ scheme for all taxpayer funded individual support, be it sport, music arts etcetc.

    Holding future events at a fixed venue has great potential!

    What I would really like to see is an Olympics/tour de France etc fully sponsored by the major drug companies, let’s see them present their performance enhancing wares In much the same way as the major automotive companies do with the grand prix. ! 😉

  48. Keith

    Unfortunately the grand prix has been nobbled for years. No emphasis on performance any more, but on optimising for the rule changes only.

  49. I always thought ‘sport’ was what civilised countries did to end minor wars between city states. It’s what we have instead of what Afghanistan has. Billions of mothers convinced their husbands that stopping their sons killing their neighbour’s sons helped build armies to fight another day.
    But that doesn’t mean the poor should fund it, especially when it is so corrupted.
    I do like the idea of the 4 games in Greece, the Greeks should just do it and ban professionals, it would take on a life of its own. Think of the television rights if Ms Rice was to perform nude. They’d pay their debts off in a decade, the Musselmen would watch in their millions.

  50. coz

    pomp pomp pomp pomp pomp pomp pomp pomp pomp pomp pomp

  51. Abu Chowdah

    They should ban television coverage, including news summaries, of all sports. Especially the AFL.

    Boring and irrelevant. And it’d make those tedious Victorians squall and bawl.

  52. Woolfe

    I thought libertarians were generally against government intervention? So why do we need a Sports HECS debt? Won’t the administration of this cost more then it collects plus it will add another 1000 civil “servants” to Canberra?

  53. Mundi

    Long ago someone did a study for the commonwealth games that graphed $$$ spent vs medals earned and normalized for population. Australia spent over 4 times as much as anyone else.

    I think it ridiculous that Olympics is supposedly non professionals only, yet any $$$ from the government or sponsors don’t count as they are ‘donations’.

  54. C.L.

    I will say that Mark’s suggestion that nakedness be reinstituted is inspired. I’d certainly tune in for the women’s tennis.

  55. Infidel Tiger

    I will say that Mark’s suggestion that nakedness be reinstituted is inspired. I’d certainly tune in for the women’s tennis.

    And the women’s hurdles.

  56. Jumpnmcar

    I will say that Mark’s suggestion that nakedness be reinstituted is inspired. I’d certainly tune in for the women’s tennis.

    Womens long jump and hockey for me.

  57. Sinclair Davidson

    Archery and synchronised swimming could be combined into one sport.

  58. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    It’s good work if you can get it.

    There’s an Australian bloke my age who has, for 30 odd years, swanned about the world endlessly talking about where they’ll take cocktails in four years time and which government will bear the white man’s burden, with the likes of Obe Wan Samaranch who was a deity of some sort. The Australian bloke is a senior acolyte / deity in waiting who gets lots of money from the taxpayer.

    It cost about $40 million to jag the Sydney Olympics, spent not on phone calls and letters of invitation but on giving personal gifts to blokes my age from other countries … who swan about the world endlessly voting for the quadrennial cocktail function in whichever prosperous city gives ’em the most elaborate personal gift.

    They’re followed by a caravan of kiddies who skip basic education (particularly the ability to express themselves publicly lucidly bit) in order to follow their dream (on my dollar) who are sufficiently cashed up to go to the House of Lords when they get unselected, to have their dream legally judged more worthy than some other kiddy’s lifelong dream.

    They party and Facebook a lot for two or three years, buy designer stuff, be Wimmenses Weeklied ‘cos they endure the hardship of getting up at 4:30am (just like builders labourers do), Dance with the Stars, blame being unlicensed to drive the BMW on a change of address two years previously and belting their mates in pubs on, well, their mates for asking for it.

    For a few weeks now and then they compete, PB, podium, gold (a verb), OMFG a lot and cry for the cameras. Everyone watching the tele just lerrrves them.

    The other payoff is as H B Bear notes, at 09:24am:

    “The Olympics is a vastly expensive, predominantly loss making, urban renewal and real estate project with television rights attached.”

    The host city government has mates who get the nod in time to exercise their option to purchase the land, the right media broadcaster shares, minibus transport company, paper plates maker or Mr Whippy van so they can make a serious bob when the circus comes to town.

    The ministers most responsible get consultant roles with the real estate financier to the developer who later transforms the cattle sale yards adjoining the white elephant sports ground into medium density urban architectural mediocrity.

  59. Infidel Tiger

    Nude pole vault.

  60. I guess if they all go nude I’ll be watching minus my glasses.

  61. jupes

    They should ban television coverage, including news summaries, of all sports. Especially the AFL.

    Sport tells you more about the human condition than a month at The Louvre and all the art galleries in the world.

    Success, failure, glory, shame, injury, mental strength, mental weakness, panic, choking, calmness in a crisis, courage, cowardice, ability, determination, tension and relief. It’s all there and it’s all real. You can’t hide on the sporting field.

    And no sport is better to watch than AFL.

  62. mareeS

    The best thrill I ever had from the Olympics was watching Simon Fairweather win his archery gold from the couch in my loungeroom at 11am on a Tuesday morning. Such a cutie.

    Apart from that, the next Olympics thrill I’m expecting is a full disclosure from the auditors of the ongoing cost to NSW of hosting the 2000 games.

    Won’t happen, though. Sigh.

  63. mareeS

    Jim Rose @ 12.46pm, there are uses for soccer stadiums surplus to requirements, not particularly beneficial to humanity. Drancy was such a case during the German occupation of France in WW2. If I were an adherent of the precautionary principle, I would say no to the construction of new soccer stadiums (stadia?) or any other public sporting forums (fora?).

  64. Jumpnmcar

    And no sport is better to watch than AFL.

    I was with you till that.
    Watch Pies v Demons at the MCG an left a half time to revisit the zoo.
    My three teenage sons were playing games on their phones by quarter time and wife says ” your enjoying this shit ?”
    “not even a little ” I replied.

    But after an Origin at Etihad and Broncs v Storm at Olympic, that is understandable.

  65. Jumpnmcar

    And as any good parent would say ” Use a Condom ”
    100,000 of em, staroooth!

  66. kae

    Woolfe

    The government already administer the HECS/HELP debts. Why should AIS students not pay back their debt?

    All they do is add it to your tax bill and when you earn the magic annual salary it is taken out as a percentage of your salary at the ATO.

  67. kae

    I will say that Mark’s suggestion that nakedness be reinstituted is inspired. I’d certainly tune in for the women’s tennis.

    Oh come on, CL, wouldn’t all that bouncing be more distracting than the grunting?

  68. kae

    Why do governments pay for sporting facilities for professional sport? Surely they’re bloody rich enough to fund their own facilities? There’s millions in that scam – sport.

    Oh wait. Circuses. Yeah, I get it.

  69. pete m

    Oh come on, CL, wouldn’t all that bouncing be more distracting than the grunting?

    Men can listen and oogle at the same time . .. just sayin.

    We just pretend we can’t when the wife mentions the garbage / lawn / kids / dishes / laundry / cooking / cleaning / / / / /

    😉

  70. So, kae.
    Into the kitchen for sammitch making training you go.
    We’ll make it a ‘Lympic Sport.

  71. H B Bear

    The AFL should pay you to watch Melbourne.

    And Demitriou’s running jokes Gold Coast and the GWS Falafelanders.

  72. kae

    Winston
    Are your arms painted on?

  73. Splatacrobat

    Nude syncronised swimming would be a boon for the sport. Mind you they would have to treble the seating capacity for spectators. And for the ladies they could get to see how flat the bag goes in nude Greco Roman wrestling .

  74. Viva

    The opening/closing ceremonies are usually worth a look.

  75. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    Mick GC

    cynic

    Guilty this time, kae.

    Mk50 of Brisbane’s suggestion of a return to nakedity would ease my pain though, ‘specially if Tatiana Grigorieva makes a cameo appearance to launch this fabulous initiative.

  76. Abu Chowdah

    The opening/closing ceremonies are usually worth a look.

    Are we still discussing nude sports?

    If so, I want tickets to the female gymnastics and female Taekwondo.

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