So the Olympic Games has swung in to action and don't we just know it. Can there ever have been any event of any kind that has generated such hype? From the interminable, inane and constant harping about the Olympic torch to the Queen filming with Daniel Craig, it is a wonder that the athletes can actually concentrate on what really matters.
The sport is what is truly compelling, in case we forget, where the very best athletes in the world strive to achieve their ultimate performance.
The Olympic movement still seems confused though. It is regarded as the greatest sporting event in the world yet the stipulations and parameters within different sports, and in terms of its ethos, are indeterminate: why is the boxing still amateur when every other sport is open to professionals? What are they doing with the age rules in football? And how (i've said it before and i'll say it again) on god's earth are McDonalds a main sponsor?
The event claims to be the pinnacle of sporting endeavour and achievement, but could it be said with any great confidence that every athlete in every sport feels this way? Perhaps we could ask Gareth Bale about that. He evidently prefers playing for Tottenham in pre-season friendlies than competing in the Olympics. If that isn't a mark of disrespect to the IOC I don't know what is. Quelle surprise that an overpaid footballer should inadvertently belittle the efforts of every athlete in or away from London to whom the Olympics means so much.
And its most frustrating inconsistency of all? Well of course, that squash is excluded from the Games. You knew I would get on to this at some stage. As the number one player in my sport, I presently plod away at my summer training and watching the action sometimes makes for difficult viewing. It is hard not to envisage squash somewhere like the Royal Albert Hall, where myself and Nick Matthew could, as ranking positions stand and hypothetically speaking, have been competing in the gold medal match; the repercussions of such an eventuality, in London, are simply mind-blowing.
So if Bale seemingly dismissed a chance to be an Olympian without a second thought, as some sources have suggested, you can imagine how nauseating that seems, when we would gladly sacrifice certain body parts to be involved.
I went to watch Morrissey on Saturday night in Manchester, and abiding by his anti-establishment virtues, he quipped sarcastically that he was surprised not to be invited to perform at the Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Morrissey, you aren't alone in being left out.
James' book, 'Shot and a Ghost' is available to buy now from Willstrop.co.uk, amazon.com, or on kindle
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