Countdown to Olympics fatigue

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IT was 100 days until Christmas last week. It is still, believe it or not, 310 days until the London Olympics.

Here’s a contradiction: while the country’s default position is to ridicule those who dare prepare for the former too soon, the commercialised coverage of the latter is already more relentless than a Daley Thompson training regime.

Perhaps before I start ranting I should declare an interest: I’ve never quite ‘got’ the games.

Don’t take me for (much of) a curmudgeon. There are literally thousands of different qualities I admire/respect/am jealous of in people. Composing music, writing literature or parking a double-decker bus, for example. Each a feat of magnificence for sure.

But being fast, strong or capable of throwing something a long distance? Meh. If Usain Bolt can explain to me the practical purpose of arriving at a destination 100 metres away a few seconds ahead of someone else, then I’m happy to hear him out. If not, change the channel, lad - there’s county cricket on the other side.

Swimming? Hockey? Rowing? Badminton? The same. Enjoy them, by all means, but why inflict it on the rest of us? And why inflict the preparation for said sports on the rest of us a year before they’re due to take place? Just...why?

To reiterate, then: I do not get the games. I expect to find the whole three-week extravaganza like an extension of the inevitable opening ceremony - a largely dull, occasionally bemusing procession of pointless spectacles. In short, I am biased against the Olympics.

But - here’s the key thing - even if I was as enthusiastic as Steve Redgrave, as earnest as Seb Coe, and as much of a bandwagon jumper as Boris Johnson, I’d still be questioning whether, for example, a party to mark 500-days-to-go wasn’t taking things a little over the top?

Because. It’s. Ages. Away. Because for six months we’ve had a day-drip of non-news dressed up as big announcements and breaking stories. And because if we have to put up with another year of that, like with a sumo wrestler who’s forgets to dab down in talcum powder, things are going to start to chafe.

Ticket fiascos? Stadium openings? Teams announced? The Feeling getting involved?

It’s never ending. And who even knew The Feeling were even still going?

There are interviews each morning on Radio 4; there’s a mention in more or less every paper every day; and even this fine organ - serving a city some 160 miles from London - has a daily countdown.

All with - allow me to stress this again - 310 days left.

There’s more to come too. Organisers are now looking for community heroes to carry the torch (if it’s you, try not to do a Helen Sharman), the next lot of tickets are soon to be released and volunteer uniforms are set to be announced this autumn. Get that last one in your diary, for sure.

All of which means, by the time the games actually start, we’re all surely going to have Olympic Fatigue Syndrome? Forget the marathon runners, everyone in England will be knackered.

So, here’s a plea to the organisers, media bosses and cultural commentators: can’t we at least wait until Christmas is over before any more announcements?

Go on. It’s less than 100 days away, you know.