Natalie Haynes' Olympics: Forget about the empty seats. They can't punish us now
Natalie is a guest contributor for The Independent and writes. She was a guest contributor for The Times from 2006 - 2010. She has also written for The Guardian, The Observer, The Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph and The Big Issue. She writes a monthly film column for The Reader's Digest magazine.
Tuesday 31 July 2012
One of the best things about this year's Olympics so far is how much it's proving what many of us already believed. The empty seats fiasco for one: huge numbers of sports fans who couldn't get tickets for any events have long been chuntering about the number of tickets reserved for sponsors and officials who don't really want them. The gaping expanse of emptiness at virtually every televised event on Saturday simply proved it. Here's hoping Locog mans up and starts selling or giving away Olympic Family tickets that go unused within 30 minutes of the starting time: if you can't be bothered to get there on time, even using your fancy Olympic lanes, limos and the rest, you don't deserve a seat. Besides, what are they going to do? Not give us the Olympics next time and send them to Rio instead?
Dear BBC: I know you messed up the Jubilee, but please....
I love the BBC Olympic coverage this year: it feels very much like everyone is trying extra-hard after the Jubilee to do things properly. I like the fact that they seem to have a former Olympian to discuss every sport, I like John McEnroe and Ian Thorpe, and I like that they have Gabby Logan who exudes head-girliness in a way which makes me think nothing could go wrong while she's in charge.
But could I issue a plea: if I go on record, here, to say that I think Sam Smith is a perfectly good tennis commentator, that she doesn't just have an in-depth knowledge of the game but also of the players, please can she stop trying to convince us? Commentating on Anne Keothavong's match against Caroline Wozniacki on Saturday, she was so keen to show off how well she knew the British No. 2 that she practically gave out Keothavong's home address. Enough already.
Why male swimmers are like seals – in and out of the water
My social circle is not generally very sporty. But the Olympic athletes seem to be reaching people other sports leave cold. So far, the male swimmers are the most popular: I can't imagine why. Maybe it's their extraordinary physiques, and that while they move like glorious seals in the water, when on land, they all look like they might trip over their huge flipper feet.
The women's archery final was astonishing – just one point made the difference between silver and gold. But a nagging question remains: how do those women not have wonky faces, when they spend every day exfoliating one half of their mouths with a bow string? Perhaps they spend their evenings exfoliating the other half. It is a mystery.
The perfect riposte to Aidan Burley's outburst
Although most people were blown away by the Opening Ceremony, you may have read that Aidan Burley, MP and buffoon, found it all far too multicultural, by which I can only assume he didn't like that it featured black people, disabled people, children and the Queen.
Since losing his position as a parliamentary private secretary after an ill-advised stag weekend where guests dressed up as Nazis – which couldn't happen to just anyone – you think he would have learned that even if you do yearn for a monoculture (or as I like to call it, master race), it's often best not to mention it in public.
Of the many rebuttals of this vacuous man, the stand-up comedian and Olympics nerd Paul Sinha blogged the best one. 'Trust me,' he wrote, 'when I say that your vision of an Opening Ceremony – the ghost of Enoch Powell translating Latin whilst being filmed by Leni Riefenstahl – just wouldn't have worked.'
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