After all the hype and all the manufactured enthusiasm, there will be some people who will look back at the XXII Olympic Winter Games with a slight sense of disappointment.
The British media, particularly the BBC, will remain in deep depression following the “failure” of the Men`s Curling Team to win gold and in so doing let the nation down by “only” collecting a silver in a rather obscure, minority sport. Only last week we were all expert hydrologists with an encyclopaedic knowledge of floodplain management and coastal defence. This week we are all allowed an opinion on the intricacies of Slope style and Skeleton and the massively popular brushing of the Curl. Next week the BBC`s expert commentary team will enjoy a well earned rest following the gushing and shouting “Oh” fest. It might be best not to dwell on the disappointment being felt by speed skater Elise Christie.
Vladimir Putin has probably got the hump as well. Having had his showcase roundly upstaged by events in Kiev and casting a nervous glance as the Ukrainian people get rid of a corrupt, authoritarian oligarch even in the face of rattling Russian sabres, the Putin games will be remembered for the footage of brave Russian Cossack security men attacking feminist protestors with whips. The “band” Pussy Riot could stage a spectacular PR and marketing coup by inviting Yulia Tymoshenko to join them on stage for a squawk during any forthcoming tour of Russian Orthodox cathedrals. Although not as comprehensive as the complete dismantling of Hitler`s warped bigotry by Jessie Owens in 1936, Putin`s faith in the manly Russian Ice Hockey team took a knock when they didn`t win a medal or even beat USA, a nation where states like Alabama, Utah and Texas have homophobic legislation even more draconian than the Russian Federation. If Vlad is disappointed, consider the hapless opening ceremony technician tasked with pressing the button to make the rings get bigger. I imagine that a gulag in northern Siberia is considerably colder that a Black Sea holiday resort at this time of year.
Casting a nervous glance as a people get rid of a corrupt, authoritarian oligarch, David Cameron will be undoubtedly disappointed at only four photo opportunities with returning Team GB medal winners. Similarly, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller will be gloomy at having to keep her head down due to the £90k expenses story that will simply not go away. As a “marketing consultant” by trade, perhaps she should consult with the master of all things marketing, PR and advertising, Tory image guru and cook throttler Charles Saatchi. He knows a thing or two about good and bad PR.
After years of commitment, rigorous training, raw courage and sacrifice, it must be disappointing for gold medallists to discover that the media, particularly the BBC, are more interested in who finished last in certain events. The breathless whooping of the more excitable pundits was interspersed with an in depth analysis proving that Cool Runnings was the best movie ever made and the remarkable achievements of a British classically trained violinist born in Singapore and representing Thailand in alpine skiing. Whatever next? Nigella on ice perhaps.
With all the dodgy PR, shameless marketing, crude advertising, IOC corruption and absurd political posturing, the group most disappointed is unlikely to be the incidental competitors but those noble, selfless and honest folk who pay for the overpriced circus. The official sponsors will, of course, accept the inevitable doping scandals, minor riots, beatings, human rights violations and the threat of suicide bombers as part of a rich Olympic history. The legacy of the London games is still there for all to see in the food banks and sold-off playing fields of the Lea Valley, Hackney and Stratford East. The involvement of official sponsors or “partners” to use the more palatable term; is predicated by the assumption that their target audience is inherently stupid.
It has been a bad week for one particular official “partner” of the jet set jamboree. Atos, famous for judging cadavers fit for work, sanctioning the terminally ill, examining the prosthetic limb of a one-legged man and asking a blind person for their driving licence as proof of identity, wish to extricate themselves from the contract with the Department of Work and Pensions that requires them to remove support from people who need support. This is not an admission that they are completely useless, or that reputable health professionals are refusing to be associated with them, or that nearly 60 per cent of their dubious decisions are overturned at appeal, but because they have received death threats.
There can be nothing more terrifying for a corporate multi-national conglomerate outsourced leviathan than being threatened by a quadriplegic, deaf/blind terminally ill child. Without sounding too overly dramatic, such scroungers are capable of biting your legs. As excuses go for utter incompetence, Atos take the gold medal. Sadly, the DWP will simply replace them with another corporate vulture picking at the corpse of society like Capita or Serco or Virgin or Gazprom or the businessmen formerly known as the KGB.
Perhaps the IOC should introduce a new winter Olympic sport. Based on Curling, it would involve hitting the decapitated head of Iain Duncan Smith with a brush until it says sorry. If Atos are reading this, the previous statement is in no way shape or form and by no stretch of the imagination, in any way contended or implied, either by misinterpretation or malicious intent, inference or suggestion, a death threat.