Nick Townsend: She Swoopes and conquers

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Postscript to Athens: It is not this correspondent's custom to scrutinise other journalists' laptop screens.

Postscript to Athens: It is not this correspondent's custom to scrutinise other journalists' laptop screens. But on a media coach to catch the final round of luckless showjumper Nick Skelton, these eyes couldn't help but alight on that of the Star Tribune's staff writer, and a quote from the coach of the USA women's basketball team: "Thank goodness for Sheryl Swoopes". Women's basketball not being one of my specialist subjects, I cannot offer any insight into this appropriately named sportswoman who, that night, enjoyed her moment of celebrity.

Yet, in many ways, these were the Thank Goodness Games. Thank goodness, from a British perspective, for minutely accurate timing devices. Pinsent and Co (won by 0.08sec, or a few inches), Chris Hoy (victorious in the 1km time trial by 0.185sec), and the relay team (successful by a sweaty vest's thickness). Without such technology we may have been contemplating fewer, or shared, golds.

Thank goodness that Gianna Angelopoulos and her organising committee defied all sceptics' pronouncements and fashioned a superbly administered carnival of sport, at which security was evident but relatively discreet.

No doubt America would demur, but rather than this circus being shifted around the planet, at obscene cost, why not alternate it between its original home, Athens, and Sydney, which hosted arguably the best Games? Probably too obvious a suggestion for anyone to take seriously. How would IOC members survive without the junketing?

Still, if that's not acceptable, then we can argue with some conviction that what the Greeks achieved in a desperately limited time, London could achieve comfortably in seven years. Until May and that decision, we will just say: thank goodness for Athens. And Sheryl Swoopes. Great name. Great Games.

Comments