London 2012 Olympics: Day One – It’s a slap in the face and two fingers up

Billy No Mates!The day after the night before. It feels like we should all be hungover and full of regret. Although I am slightly regretting this daft promise to blog constantly…..

Today was the first day of the Olympics proper (Unless you count the football (which I don’t) and the archery) and it was a day of firsts. The first medal went to the Chinese athlete, Yi  Siling in the 10m air rifle event; there was the first ever woman to compete from Qatar and the first ever dual competitor in the form of the 8 month pregnant Nur Suryani Mahammad Taibi from Malaysia in the Shooting event.

There was much Gold flying around today as China scooped 4 but most surprisingly was the big failure of the day. Mark Cavendish and GB boys, who had been so amazing in France, failed to scoop Gold in the road race around Box Hill finishing 29th and allowing the Kazakhs to swoop for the Gold.It was also a failure at the pool for the modern Hercules of Michael Phelps.

Unaware of his unintentional part in the interruption of the opening ceremony by the disgraceful morons at NBC (nope, I won’t let this go), Phelps took to the pool for the 400m individual medley. After Beijing, he was quoted that he would never do it again and that, like Steve Redgrave, we should shoot him if he ever considered doing it again. Well, guns at the ready because he’s back like that rash on your arse. And I think now he will be wishing he hadn’t. After winning his heat with a time only 0.7s inside the qualification time he will have been pretty nervous about the final against the new American dream.

It was Lochte vs. Phelps. New boy vs. Old hand. Anakin vs. Obi-wan. Only at the London Aquatics Centre it was more Alec Guinness than Ewan McGregor as Phelps could only come in 4th behind Lochte, a full 4 seconds off the young Yank. Phelps sad he had “a crappy night”. Well, that’s a way of describing it.

Back to the first day and the ‘first time’ theme as it was the first use of the group stages in Badminton which worked out nicely for GB’s Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier as they lost in their first match. No longer a knock-out they will survive a bit longer.

Sadly the true story of the day was not taken by an athlete pushing the boundaries of what is humanly possible but the organisers and the Olympic ‘family’ pushing the boundaries of what is ultimately common sense. Looking at the TV pictures of the Aquatics Centre in the morning many could imagine that the audience were just a bit late after a long night yesterday and that the place would fill up by the evening, yes? Wrong. For the entire day the white, lower seating that ran the length of the arena sat nearly empty. As did large portions of the Beach Volleyball arena and Gymnastics too. Commentators asked if this was poor ticket sales but Lord Sebastian Corn-on-the-Cobe confirmed what we (who tried to get tickets) knew: they were a sell-out. So who should be there?

The answer is both vomit-inducing and frustrating. These belong to the Olympic Family –  a term so disgusting I will no longer use it and instead refer to them as the Olympic Sod-bags. The Olympic Sod-bags were defended by the IOC who said that 75% of tickets went to the public, 8% to the sponsors, 12% to the National Olympic Committees and a further 5% to the Olympic Sod-Bags. So the public still get 75% of the seats right? Still wrong and shut-up.

Andrew Gilligan of the Telegraph put it perfectly when he said “Lord Coe claimed last week that sponsors need special consideration because they have contributed a “mountainous amount of money” to the Games. In fact, only around 7 to 8 per cent of the money being spent on the London Olympics is coming from private sponsors. But they get a lot more than 7 per cent of the seats – around 13 per cent in total, 20 per cent if the Olympic Family are included, and up to 50 per cent at the most desirable events.”

So we get shafted. And they don’t even want the fecking seats. It is galling as my partner and I have tried on 5 separate occasions to get tickets to the swimming (amongst other things) and failed to get anything. We both live in London and she even works in Central London, having to get the Jubilee line through it all everyday. We both pay taxes in London and contribute to the London-GDP in our own little way. But balls to us, here comes Big Yankee Steve from Coca-Cola and he needs 30 seats for his massive arse. AND THEN HE DOESN’T EVEN FUCKING USE THEM!

Hopefully this can be sorted soon, maybe with a Wimbledon-style resale the night before or on the day to those with a Park Pass because it isn’t just a shame for the fans who have a muted atmosphere in the stands, it isn’t just a pity for the athletes who have to pump themselves up in the face of no support and it isn’t just a let-down for the vendors who need footfall to sell their souvenirs and tat. It’s a slap in the face to London and those of the British Isles who tried to get tickets. The IOC are saying ‘It’s two fingers up to you for believing in us, you soppy twats’. And that hurts.

Gold Silver Bronze Total
China 4 0 2 6
USA 1 2 2 5
Italy 1 2 1 4
Brazil 1 1 1 3
South Korea 1 1 1 3
Japan 0 2 1 3
Russia 1 0 0 1
Kazakhstan 1 0 0 1
Australia 1 0 0 1
Poland 0 1 0 1
Romania 0 1 0 1
Colombia 0 1 0 1
Holland 0 1 0 1
Hungary 0 0 1 1
Norway 0 0 1 1
Serbia 0 0 1 1
Uzbekistan 0 0 1 1
North Korea 0 0 1 1
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