The youngsters who take up sport and stick at it obviously want to do well. A place at the Olympics is the ultimate goal and islands like Jamaica have sent some wonderful athletes to the games.
What a shame that we have allowed extremists and governments to betray the spirit of the games and sully them almost beyond hope.
It’s taken a while to get to this low point. The terror attack of Munich in 1972 and the strange incident of the pipe-bomb during the Atlanta Games of 1996 shook the Olympic movement to the core and although governments stood back in horror, many realized that sport was a useful political weapon.
Not giving a toss for the aspirations of their own people, countries have withdrawn their athletes from the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. Iran are said to have blocked the 2012 Olympic website and no doubt there will be high-profile boycotts before they light the Olympic Flame in London on July 27.
While governments parry and thrust, coaches, parents and fundraisers in poor countries do their best to teach the young the benefit of sport and the sporting tradition. Should a lucky few make it to the Olympic Games; this is what they will find: Snipers and surface-to-air missiles on the roofs of apartment blocks. Armed response teams wearing hoods and carrying assault rifles. Bomb disposal teams hiding down back streets. Take out a camera and the chances are you will undergo ‘stop and search’ by a heavily armed police officer in a flack jacket. Criticizing the London Olympics could lead to arrest.
Put into twisted perspective, kids today caught playing football on a street in England face prosecution and their parents risk a visit from social services.
It is becoming harder for youngsters everywhere to understand the meaning of sport, never mind the pain and effort they must put in to achieve greatness.
Turning the Olympics into a video game hasn’t helped.