We rely too much on sport to bring our country together

Editorial: When the Olympics are over, perhaps UK politicians and institutions should reflect on why sport does so much of the heavy lifting in uniting us

Friday 23 July 2021 23:12

After the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo were delayed by a year because of coronavirus, the organisers expressed the hope that the Olympic flame “could become the light at the end of the tunnel”. Although the games are now under way, the pandemic is still casting a long shadow over them.

The participants await their events in their bubbles even more nervously than usual, hoping desperately not to join the 100 or so officials and sportsmen and women to test positive in their daily checks or forced to self-isolate after having contact with someone with the virus.

Inevitably, the opening ceremony was a relatively subdued and sombre affair, by Olympic standards like the dazzling start to London 2012. Only 22 of Team GB’s 375-strong squad took part on Friday, watched by 950 VIPs in a £1bn new stadium which holds 60,000 people.

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