If you’re the kind of person who is entertained by seeing who can run faster, throw further and jump higher than anyone else, you’re in for a fun summer. The Olympics are coming to town via the scenic route, thrilling crowds up and down the country with a stick of fire. For those of us who have seen fire before, the most exciting moment so far has been guessing whether or not David Beckham would set fire to himself.
The purpose of this grand tour is to “knit the bonds of peace between nations”. At least this is what Hitler said when his advisors came up with the idea for the 1936 games. So successful was this “bond” that many of the countries on the route that year, including Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Hungary were shortly invaded by Nazi troops.
Assuming that none of the 8000 nominated flame bearers this year have any desire to invade the home counties, why should we be interested? Maybe this is what the organisers felt when they invited celebrities to take part. The press and public are unlikely to line the streets for a housewife who has been chosen for her contribution to her community, but they will come out in force to see Chris Moyles jog a couple of hundred metres in a pair of polyester pyjamas.
Thousands lined the streets in Wales this week perhaps due to rumours that Tom Jones and Catherine Zeta Jones were lined up to take their moment to shine. In the end the crowds had to be satisfied with Dr Who.
At least Matt Smith can probably spell Cardiff which is more than can be said for Will.i.am. With no connections to the UK, other than recent appearances on a peak time television programme, he wasn’t able to spell Taunton in his Twitter commentary. He was, however, able to thank Coca Cola for allowing him to take part, which maybe tells you more about this corporate media circus than any other Olympic headline.