I am feeling very bold today and so I am going to come out and officially declare my support for the 2012 Olympics in Stratford. No more of this cynicism and indifference to it; I am glad we are hosting it. When journalist James Morrison asked a class of trainee NCTJ reporters at Brighton College in 2005 who was in favour of the fact that we were hosting it, I can only recall me and Daniel Murdoch putting up our hands. In another show of hands, a few declared themselves against it, but the large majority didn’t care.
So much of the British attitude towards the Olympics has been like a mirror image of that infamous Evening Standard billboard: “It’s getting worse.” When someone asked me why I spend 50 minutes travelling to a swimming pool all the way across town, I answered that it was because there wasn’t a decent pool in East London. “My God,” was the response. “And that’s where we are hosting the Olympics.” But it’s not just swimming. Commonwealth Games champion Dalton Grant (high jump) has told me on numerous occasions all the reasons why it is fantastic that this will be on our doorstep and why we had better get our act together and seize the opportunity.
The only time comedian Paul Merton ever went down in my estimation was when he made a dig at the Olympics being held in Statford on national TV. Something about East Londoners being able to use the stadium following the Games as a dumping ground for their settees. He delivered the joke in such a way that for a moment he reminded me of Ian Hislop. THAT was what was so worrying. And I have written so many East London fly-tipping stories in my time, that it was all a bit too much.
Besides, I have had the chance to watch the stadium grow from birth because I often make journeys which take me through Stratford Station. It actually gives us commuters something interesting to watch as Stratford used to be a boring station.
So, be prepared! There may be more blog posts in support of the Olympics to come.
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