Saturday, 21 July 2012

Olympic haiku

this olympic pool

where they dive in

at the shallow end

inspired by today's image at

Not the Olympic swimming pool

A lake such as the one in the picture would make an excellent Olympic pool. Races could be measured by the number of crossings of the lake. There would be no need for roped lanes, touch pads, patrolling judges, endless heats, quarter-finals, semi-finals and so on. As you can see, there would be enough space for everyone to swim together and make a proper race of it in natural surroundings. The same goes for athletics and other sports. All you need is a suitable field or area.

The point here is that the modern Olympics, as we see every 4 years, has less to do with sport and more to do with political hype, mega building projects, bribery, corruption, financial scandals, infrastructure problems, national identity, international tourism, TV rights, advertising, self-promotion, environmental damage, traffic queues, drug abuse, cheating, terrorism threats, personal restrictions, stress, fireworks, alcohol, noise, crowds, queues, garbage, mobile toilets, tacky souvenirs, and multi-billions of pounds/euros/dollars/yen/etc. in wasted money.

It's time to rethink the Olympics. In fact it's probably time to take a look at the format and structure of most of most of the planet's major sporting events.

We must do things differently and better; and at less cost and with less damage to the environment, or more correctly to what is left of the environment.

We must take better care of our precious world. We must give the matter some deep thought.


As an example of a complete waste of money and resources consider the 2008 Austria-Switzerland European Cup where a € 66.5 million state of the art football stadium designed to hold 32,000 fans was built in a small provincial city. Two or three European Cup games were played there. After the glorious show was over, only 2-3,000 dutifully gathered at the magnificent stadium to watch their team play in the lower levels of a regional league. Nobody has any idea what to do with the too big and too expensive stadium. There has been talk of ripping out the top tier of seats but even then the stadium would still be too big. And so it is - just another white elephant in the room.


  1. Narrow end? I thought it was the shallow end Gwilym. Am I missing something subtle? Like the picture - is that you just showing your head above the water?

  2. Pat, I shall promptly change it back to shallow end -which it was originally ;)

    Yes, I'm just about keeping my head above water. The lake is called Wolfgangsee.

  3. Looks a good lake for a swim. This and talk of shallow ends reminded me for some reason that when I swam in Buttermere it turned out to be really shallow quite a long way out.

  4. I'm always on awe of your wild swimming exploits Dominic. My own efforts are tame by comparison.


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