To continue the comments on the Olympics written in yesterday’s post, and I hope for the last time. While it was pleasing to see that so many of our own athletes have achieved such success, the number expressing the extreme pressures the training had involved, and the relief of some that it was now over, was pertinent. It was equally interesting that others seemed to be dreading the fact that they have another four more years of gruelling training and an almost monastic life, for 2012. The people that I am really sorry for are those who reached the finals, carrying with them their own, their trainers and the tabloids belief that they would win a medal, when in fact all this workhas come to virtually nothing, because they won a fourth or fifth or sixth. For them there won’t be the plethora of media interviews, a book published, stores opened, and the financial rewards of the medal winners. What I inevitably wonder is what long-term effects this tremendous build-up of strength and stamina will have on the individuals as they begin to wind down. I have led a life which has resulted in more than an average number of breakages and torn ligaments, and I am aware of the long-term problems this can create.
The difficulties that I have seen over the years, that I disliked, and distrust,is using sport for political ends. This recent decision to stop the Zambian team from playing international cricket had absolutely no effect on Mugabe, and yet the government seems to go on with this absurd approach to politics. In the North of Ireland, the politicians that represent the divisions within, have been squabbling for about three years concerning the site of a proposed stadium in which to stage elements of 2012, and an annual international final for Galic football. The fact that the stadium will require to be huge for those two events, and will sit relatively empty for the rest of time, while costing a fortune to build, and causing the fans to have to travel considerable distances to reach it, seems to matter not one jot. It is in fact just another political football.