Monday, 13 August 2012

Sports Year of the Personality.

How the Olympics has been about more than just sport.

Well, I couldn't have been more wrong if I'd tried.  Prior to the start, I thought the Olympics were an astounding waste of time and money, a huge white elephant no-one really wanted or could afford; our hopes would be built up and dashed as athlete after athlete didn't quite make it on the Olympic stage.  I'll admit it now, I totally didn't 'get' the opening ceremony - switched off after about 20mins and went to bed.  But I was as wrong as Wendy McWrong  going the wrong way up a one way street on the wrong side of the tracks wearing a sign saying 'I am wrong'.  After a bit of a slow start, the Olympics have been brilliant.  The athletes have been brilliant.  And I've fallen a little bit in love with all of them.

I mean, c'mon.  How likeable is Jess Ennis?  How much do you want to give Nicola Adams or Katherine Grainger a hug?  Mo Farah?  He made me cry!  Chris Hoy.  Bradley Wiggins.  Laura and Dani and Joanna and Vicky.  Helen and Heather and Anna and Katherine and Sophie.  I could go on and on and on.  And don't even get me started on Adam Gemili, who I'm trying to adopt.

They're just so nice.  And, along with many others who have said much the same, I'm so flippin glad to finally see their hard work, determination, sacrifice and grit rewarded and lauded in place of vapid ronsealed utter nonentities filling our conciousnesses unbidden with who they're shagging and what they're eating.  Quake in your stilettos, denizens of TOWIE, your time has been.  Virtually without exception, I would like to buy the athletes a large drink with a sparkler and and plastic monkey in it, named after the sexual innuendo of their choice.  These are likeable, funny, intelligent, ordinary people performing the most extraordinary of feats.

As the parent of young children I have been concerned at the people currently held up as 'role models' by a society that appears to exalt a nebulous notion of 'celebrity' (I cannot overstate how distasteful I find that word) where it is acceptable, nay desirous, for your sole life achievement to be having a nice bottom; and appearing on a TV 'Talent' or 'Reality' show is promoted as a genuine career option.  There are young women achieving said 'celebrity' by selling sex to high profile husbands and fathers.  How utterly delightful.

I would far rather my daughter choose to emulate people like Jessica Ennis, Katherine Grainger and Nicola Adams than Kourtney, Kim and Khloe.  People whose worth is not measured by their car or their boyfriend or what they wore last week, but by genuine talent and hard work and achievement.  Inspire a generation?  Oh, I bloody hope so.  Hell, it's even made me want to do some sport.

And so I put it to you, BBC, that we do not sully the experience by subjecting our astounding athletes to the indignity of a Sports Personality of the Year TV phone-in popularity contest.  Rather, let's spend a happy evening in December celebrating all their astonishing achievements and toasting re-runs of the Olympic montages while David Bowie's Heroes plays in the background (we'll have got over being sick of it by then), while we all get a bit pissed and misty eyed.

Fact is, they all deserve it, every one.


  1. But Bradley deserves it just a little bit more!

    1. Couldn't agree more. In terms of pure sporting achievement it's a no-brainer for me.