There were plenty of heroes to enjoy at London 2012, but we must also look at those who failed to cover themselves in glory. From greedy, grasping, attention-seeking politicians, corporations, and celebrities, to athletes who found ever more ingenious ways to get an unfair advantage over their rivals. Here are my Top 5 Villains of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Some of the political pond-life were doing their best to get into the limelight of the games. Potential POTUS, Mitt Romney, was flubbing his lines by claiming that London wasn’t ready. As it turned out a way-off remark, with the G4S security fiasco being the only noteworthy sign of unreadiness.
A couple of embarrassing occurrences came from stunts, with disgraced culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, breaking a bell that led to taunts of ‘bellend’, whilst Mayor, Boris Johnson, found himself dangling like a demented pigeon above London when a zip-wire failed.
An intervention about as welcome as a turd in the Olympic swimming pool came from Cannock Chase’s Nazi-partying MP, Aidan Burley, who derided the multiculturalism of the opening ceremony. Imagine that, people of different races working, playing, and living together happily. Whatever next?
David Cameron, meanwhile, was deriding multiculturalism in his own inimitably ignorant, out-of-touch, and dismissive fashion by claiming that British sport was plagued by people doing ‘Indian dancing’ in school PE classes. Whether he meant Asian Indian or Red Indian no one was quite certain. He probably wasn’t either. He also chose a rather unfortunate time to set out plans for improving ‘failing’ British sport by increasing competitive sports in schools, which he clearly felt was the problem.
Not only does the number of medals won by Team GB appear to disprove his hypothesis that British sport is failing, but also Cameron announced his plans in the same week that we found out about school playing fields across the country being sold off by his government. Cameron had a bad games. He should have simply sat back and watched the golds roll in then praised our team for doing such a good job. Thankfully most politicians seemed to realise that everyone is sick and tired of them and kept a low profile during the games. So should he.
The corporate beast was at work in the games once again. Fortunately, there was so much great action going on that most people, including myself, were largely able to ignore it. But several things must be mentioned. First, the incompetence of the firm G4S, charged with providing security. So unable were they to recruit the staff that they’d promised to deliver that thousands of police and army had to step in to fill the void. Then there was the influence of corporate sponsorship, which led to aggressive brand protection by LOCOG, taken to absurd proportions with, at one point, suggestions being made that simply wearing the wrong trainers could get you locked out of the games. Organisers were also embarrassed as corporate holders of tickets for events often failed to turn up, leaving many empty spaces at venues.
3. Drug cheats.
Thankfully there were relatively few drug scandals this time. One can only hope that this means there aren’t many cheats to be caught rather than the other possibility: that the drugs, or the methods for covering up the drug use, are evolving faster than the methods of detecting them. Still, there were around a dozen drug cheats caught out. In particular, a big jeer goes out to Team Belarus shot putter, Nadzeya Ostapchuk, stripped of her gold medal after the games had ended. There was also the uncomfortable sight of previously banned drug cheats such as Justin Gatlin and Dwain Chambers competing. But there were also allegations of cheating that couldn’t be substantiated, and may simply have been sour grapes, with gold-winning 16 year-old Chinese swimmer, Ye Shiwen, being singled out for attack by American coaches, only for one of their own 15 year-old swimmers, Katie Ledecky, to win gold as well. Both appear to have been clean.
4. People not trying.
Naively you might think that athletes will always do their best to win. But sometimes the rules of a competition are such that losing gives them an advantage. The Olympic badminton tournament was a case in point, where we witnessed the sorry sight of players deliberately serving into the net in an attempt to lose games so that they faced more favourable draws in future rounds.
There was also a rather strange example in the athletics, where the Team Turkey middle-distance runner, Taoufik Mahkloufi, was thrown out of the games for failing to make a proper effort in the 800m as he pulled up early on. A doctor’s note got him reinstated and he went on to win the 1500m, his ‘injury’ having mysteriously cleared up overnight to such an extent that it didn’t hamper his performance in any way.
5. Piers Morgan.
From people not trying to someone trying too hard. This attention-seeking twat on stilts was at it again during the Olympics. But not content with shouting his mouth off at every opportunity, there he was giving the Team GB athletes stick over whether they sang the national anthem or not. Indeed he even went so far as to offer money to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital for every time an athlete sang the anthem. It’s one thing to be obnoxious but it’s quite exceptionally tasteless, even by his standards, to exploit a children’s charity to further his own agenda.