Wednesday July 11, 2012 at 3:19pm
No sooner had Andy Murray dried his tears on Centre Court on Sunday that he began to contemplate going back to Wimbledon to compete in the Olympics.
There was footage on the news on Monday of them switching the familiar green backdrops at SW19 for Olympic purple ones, and so it is around the country with various football stadiums in Britain undergoing the change themselves.
Some of this change is smoother than others, others less so. For example Coventry City will no longer - for the duration of the tournament at least – be based at the Ricoh Arena. Because of the extremely complicated sponsorship rules that govern the Olympics and Ricoh not being an accredited sponsor for the Olympic Tournament, the stadium will be called The City Of Coventry stadium for the duration of the games.
Of course, the presence of sports like tennis, and football in the Olympiad raises another fundamental question: should those sports be played at London 2012 anyway.
Certainly the public appears not to think so. There was news today that 50,000 tickets had been given free to Scottish schoolchildren in a bid to fill Hampden Park. Latest figures say that there are 400,000 tickets left for the Olympics in London and that most of these were in the football tournament.
Football is the worlds most popular sport by a mile, so on the face of it, it is perhaps incongruous that there should not be the clamour to see some of the worlds best young players in competitive matches, equally, there is a debate about whether football should be there at all, in the Olympics alongside the more conventional “Olympic sports” such as athletics, swimming, cycling and so forth.
Of course, Ryan Giggs will no doubt be honoured to skipper the GB football team at the Olympics (just as David Beckham would have been) but that said, is it the pinnicle of his career? You would guess not. Similarly, if Andy Murray was to say, overcome Roger Federer in the Tennis final and win gold, do you reckon that would mean more to him than a Major Tournament win? No, me neither.
And that, surely, is the key distinction to be made here. The Olympics should be for sports that recognise the Olympics as their pinnacle – the athlete who works stringently for four years to take their chance in the games, the swimmer who does likewise. Perhaps Britian’s greatest Olympian Steve Redgrave, who dedicated his like to winning five golds – do you think the footballers will feel the same as him?
Of course not, and that is why we shouldn’t be surprised that the GB public isn’t that fussed wither. We can watch football anytime. Including the week after the Olympics when the football league and Premier Leagues start again, and the whole thing means something. And you can bet Ryan Giggs will value another Premier League Trophy more than his first Olympic Gold .