Archived entries for Olympics

Olympics: A Games of Two Halves

With his book offering a blueprint for a better Olympics published this week, author Mark Perryman summarises his Five New Rings, as an alternate model.

Seb Coe and the London Olympics Organising Committee, Cameron and his hapless Minister of Culture, Jeremy Hunt, their predecessors, Brown, Blair and Tessa Jowell. All of them cling to a bipartisan consensus that everything to do with the Olympics is fine, nothing the International Committee and their sponsors demand needs to be questioned. It was a consensus which in London managed to unite those otherwise polar opposites, Boris and Ken, too, in solid agreement that the Olympics would be without doubt a good thing for the city.

Continue reading…

GB Football Team: The Chosen Few

Ten days ago football blogger Tom Bodell named the men’s squad he would take to the Olympics as part of his series for The Substantive covering the men’s football team GB for London 2012. Today he reflects on Stuart Pearce’s eighteen, and where they differed.

Stuart Pearce’s Team GB has been announced and doubtless there were a few surprises in there, in particular certain big names that didn’t make the cut. Somewhat unsurprisingly though, Psycho and I only agreed on eight of the 18 names selected. Continue reading…

GB Football Team: Selection

As David Beckham reveals he hasn’t been selected to play for Team GB in the London 2012 games, Tom Bodell names the 18 he would now pick if he was Manager in his latest piece on the subject for The Substantive.

With the London Games now less than one month away the excitement is clearly mounting. The tickets which I successfully applied for, synchronised swimming & dressage (the excitement is palpable in my household), have arrived and Team GB selectors are making and breaking the dreams of those who have been working towards London 2012 for any number of years.

One group of athletes that hasn’t been confirmed yet is Stuart Pearce’s Team GB football squad. Hope Powell announced her women’s squad 48 hours ago but as yet there is nothing more than newspaper speculation over the identity of the 18 included.

As I sit down to write this piece, David Beckham has just announced he has not made the cut. The general consensus is however that Welsh pair Craig Bellamy and Ryan Giggs constitute two-thirds Team GB’s ‘over-age’ quota and that Manchester City right-back Micah Richards has been included also. Would they make my 18 though? Here goes… Continue reading…

Olympics: Internationalism

Mark Perryman returns back from the Ukraine following England’s exit on penalties against Italy, and considers how national identity and internationalism co-mingles in sport, and will continue to do so at London 2012.

David Hemery burning his way round the track to victory in the 400m hurdles, Mexico 1968. Mary Peters defying gravity as she hauls her frame over the high jump bar to lift pentathlon Gold in Munich, 1972. David Wilkie winning in the pool, Montreal 1976. Coe and Ovett enjoying 1500m and 800m glory, Moscow 1980. Decathlete Daley Thompson acting the golden cheeky chappy, Los Angeles 1984. Great Britain beating Germany in the men’s hockey final, Seoul 1988. Christie and Gunnell triumphant on the track at Barcelona 1992. Steve Redgrave promising he’d never be seen near a boat again after winning his fourth straight Gold with Matthew Pinsent at Atlanta 1996, before doing precisely that to win his fifth and final Gold, once more with Pinsent, at Sydney 2000. Kelly Holmes grabbing an eye-popping 800m and 1500m golden double against all the odds in 2004. Hoy, Pendleton, Adlington and Ohuruogu leading Team GB’s Gold medal charge to fourth in the Beijing 2008 Medals Table. Continue reading…

An Alternate Olympics Manifesto

Joanne Sheppard reviews Mark Perryman’s book, released ahead of London 2012: ‘Why The Olympics Aren’t Good For Us, And How They Can Be ‘.

I’m very excited about the London Olympics. In fact, I get excited about any Olympics, regardless of the host city. I even get excited about the winter ones where we only stand a chance in curling and that event where people slide down a hill on their bellies while lying on a tea-tray. I’ll happily sit for hours watching people I’ve never heard of compete in a sport I know nothing about. Taekwondo? Archery? Fencing? Bring ’em on. Continue reading…

Olympics/Euro 2012: Complete Control

In this summer of Euro 2012 and the London Olympics, both dominated by product sponsors, Mark Perryman points to a third, major sporting event with less emphasis on corporate control and more on popular participation.

Modern sport isn’t simply a contest between teams or individuals. It is also increasingly an arena which corporate power seeks to exploit. During this summer of major sporting events it’s clear that the governing bodies behind the European football finals and the Olympic Games are following a strikingly similar agenda, one shaped by drive of business to make money out of people’s love for sport. That generally starts with top-down control.

Here are two examples from Euro 2012, from where I’m writing: Continue reading…

Olympics: Tickets, Anyone Got Tickets?

As another batch of very high-priced tickets released today, in his latest Olympics piece on The Substantive, Mark Perryman suggests less tickets for sponsors, bigger venues around the country and lower prices would have given us a People’s Games. Continue reading…

Olympics: the taking part

In Mark Perryman’s latest piece on the Olympics he questions the claim that that Participation will be a main legacy of the London 2012 Games. 

The Olympic Motto “The most important thing is not the winning but the taking part” represents many of the finest ideals of any model of sport as democratic, participative and accessible. As the Jubilee hoopla fades away the forthcoming summer of sport – Euro 2012, a serious British challenger to win the Tour de France, Wimbledon fortnight, overseas rugby tours to the southern hemisphere, a domestic test match series and the first, and last home Olympics for most of our lifetimes – will no doubt test those sentiments  to the full. A nation that invented a decent proportion of the world’s team sports has a perhaps not wholly unforgivable difficulty coping with the countries which it exported those games to, promptly defeating the inventor-nation. However adding in a martial and imperial tradition, and CLR James’ famous maxim ‘What do they know of cricket who only cricket knows’, indicates the need for a social and political context in which to understand the British as not the world’s best losers. Continue reading…

Olympics: Race

With John Carlos, one of the Mexico ‘68 podium protesters, on a speaking tour of Britain, author Mark Perryman’s latest contribution to The Substantive describes the continuing relationship the Games has with race.

United on the Mexico podium by their fierce opposition to racism Tommie Smith, Peter Norman and John Carlos used the medal ceremony for what has become an iconic moment of public protest. Its durability as an image of anti-racism in sport and beyond is testament to the global platform the Olympics provided. Even before satellite TV and digital media, the dignified audacity of the three medal-winners became an overnight world-wide news story. Continue reading…

Olympics: Decentralisation

As the Olympic Torch arrives in Britain today ahead of a nationwide relay, author of a forthcoming book on the Olympics, Mark Perryman, questions the claim of “A Games for All.”

Beginning its long route around Britain the Torch Relay is one of the few examples of decentralisation and free-to-watch events that could have transformed the 2012 Olympics into a Games for all.

There is little doubt that the sight of the Olympic torch as it passes through a village, town or city up and down the byways, with photo-opps at famous landmarks will ignite popular interest and huge media coverage. Continue reading…



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