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August 13, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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Nothin’ But Net

The Gold-Plated Olympic

I’m a big fan of a good old fashioned bandwagon.

As an excitable sports fan with a fairly short attention span, I understand the appeal. Plus, for me, bandwagon jumpers help raise the attendance at Phoenix games from four to five thousand twice a year.

But the biggest bandwagon event in the world, without the slightest shadow of a doubt is the Olympics.

It’s a fortnight during which we’re glued to the television screens for wall-to-wall screenings of a series of sports and not-so-sports (yes, dressage, I’m looking at you) in which we have zero interest during the other two hundred quadrennial non-Olympic weeks.

But for one short fortnight we collectively explode into a throbbing ball of dressage, synchronised diving and waterpolo fanatics, inspired perhaps by patriotism, amazement, or a shared desire to be as spectacularly enjoyable on the piss as Mark Todd.

I do have some sympathy for the media broadcasters who have to exhaust every ounce of Icelandic pole-vaulting knowledge they’ve picked up over the years for ten seconds of action, broadcast to an audience who wouldn’t even know the difference if they were lying anyway.

Take Mark Todd. He’s a man who came third riding a horse (I still doubt the horses are given medals, but that’s a story for another week), which, coupled with his unorthodox technique of getting absolutely steamed pre-questioning has launched him again into the spotlight. And now, while perhaps nobody could actually put a finger on the process through which he won a medal, the manic smile of a man comfortably more than a bottle of wine down has become a memory ingrained into the national psyche.

And it’s these images which make the Olympics what they are. When the dust has settled and we’ve all adjusted back to our normal sleeping patterns and cycles of rugby, rugby and well, sleeping, we’ll have one or two gems to look back on. It might be cheating badminton players, a 16-year old Chinese human-like fish or our continued dominance in rowing. Either way, it’s your own account of London 2012.

But I promise it won’t be synchronised diving. We’ll all have forgotten the household names of Yutong Luo and Kai Qin before too long.

So I hope you enjoyed the last week of your bandwagon ride, folks. You’ve earned it. Raise a glass (or a news reporter) for our Kiwis.

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