Alan Dee: Now it’s time for ordinary Olympics
WELL, that was all very inspiring, wasn’t it? The best part of a month of sport saturation is now behind us, we’re all exhausted by the example we have been set by the stars of Team GB, and now all the talk is about legacy.
But while it’s all very well to talk about the inspiration provided by elite athletes who devote their lives in the hope of just being that little bit better than someone else with similar tunnel vision on any given day, how can the rest of us step up and carry the standard?
I’ll tell you how – let’s turn the whole Olympics thing on its head, and make it more accessible to all.
Here’s the idea. You’ll remember all that kerfuffle about people trying to get tickets for the London Games?
They had to enter a lottery, and all they had to do to get involved was register their interest.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could use the same system for the actual competitions?
You yearn to represent your country on the international stage, but you just haven’t got the time or the inclination to devote your whole life to triple-jumping, canoe slalom or wheelchair rugby.
But you reckon you’re reasonably fit, have a competitive frame of mind and are willing to have a go – so all you would have to do is register as a potential member of Team GB at what I will provisionally call the Absolutely Ordinary Olympics.
All those who put their hands up would be entered into a straight lottery to select the squad, and in my deal world there would be a further lottery to assign events.
There would be no division by age, sex, or other distinction, no requirement to hit qualifying times – just a list of events which needed to be filled.
The events themselves would be pretty simple, things you could do without a huge amount of technical training. High jump yes, pole vault no – you get the idea.
And there would be no months of training, honing your skills in a particular pursuit or developing your kit with the help of boffins in the lab – everyone would use shop-bought trainers and standard equipment.
So the competitors in the Absolutely Ordinary Olympics would turn up, be told what they were going to do and expected to get on with it.
They might be unlucky, and find themselves lining up against a fit and feisty opponent in a flat sprint or a cycling circuit – but they would have just as much of a chance of being installed as the clear favourite in an event in which other nations found themselves represented by less than stunning specimens of the human race who themselves had been lucky enough to get selected.
There would be no world record and I dare say the event would not attract wall to wall TV coverage and daily newspaper supplements.
But I reckon it would be great fun to watch, as well as a challenge for competitors, and every result would be a susprise because there would be no form book.
And if it made it possible for all the Olympic dreamers to have a shot at a medal without devoting their lives to frankly pointless pursuits, so much the better.