Peter Corrigan: Cynical fun and Games

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The Independent Online

Our revelations last Sunday that Olympic chiefs feared that British media cynicism would damage the Games if they were awarded to London in 2012 have, at least, given our bid team one ready-made excuse. They can always blame us if they lose out when the International Olympic Committee make their choice in July.

Our revelations last Sunday that Olympic chiefs feared that British media cynicism would damage the Games if they were awarded to London in 2012 have, at least, given our bid team one ready-made excuse. They can always blame us if they lose out when the International Olympic Committee make their choice in July.

But I am slightly at a loss to know what peeves the IOC. I hope they were assured that cynicism is one of our national sports, and a healthy one too. And that, on balance, more newspapers are behind the bid than have questioned it.

Indeed, one of our larger newspapers has been so sycophantically supportive you suspect they have some derelict land for sale in the East End. We are entitled to some objectivity, and those of us who have expressed a lack of enthusiasm have done so without too much malice.

The main thrust of my particular beef concerned not the bid but the entire selection procedure. The IOC have done well to cleanse the process of bribes and backhanders, but it remains a vastly expensive and time-consuming rigmarole.

Would it be beyond the power of the IOC's evaluation team to gather all the facts and impressions they need without all this fuss and fawning? Considering it had to be done, the London bid committee under Lord Sebastian Coe did an admirably thorough job of pressing home their case.

It shows the lengths they had to go to that Downing Street had to be heavily involved and that the Queen had to have them all to dinner at Buckingham Palace. Fancy Her Majesty being stuck with that boring lot all evening - I'd rather go to a wedding.

And after all that, they were upset by a few discordant voices in the press. Weren't there enough people bowing and scraping to them? Wasn't the entire nation down on one knee in supplication?

My concern from the outset, apart from my distaste at the needless palaver of the process, has been that if London's bid has fallen down the Government will consider that they've done their bit for sport, which will be promptly returned to its natural habitat in the dark recesses of their hearts.

Is that cynical enough?

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