The Olympics have become a curious national obsession in the UK over the past week. After the success of the Opening Ceremony, which all of the UK newspapers liked (an incredible rarity), and the UK winning several medals, the whole nation has engaged with the Games. Demand for any unsold tickets is huge – there is a strong desire to be involved in the event. This seems to be a bit of escapism from the general view of national despair – a dreadful summer of rain, millions unemployed and cuts to the public sector have all led us on a road to national depression. The Games seem to have worked as a tonic – quite how long the effect will last I have no idea – perhaps in to next week, or if we are lucky until early September.
Many people from around the world are asking where the UK got all these Gold Medals – and I can tell you – it’s scratchcards!
Well to be fair it’s the money generated by the sale of National Lottery tickets and scratchcards. This is distributed to national sports organisations in the UK based, and this is key, on their chance of winning medals at future events. It does mean, unfortunately for some sports, that the more successful ones get more funding but this had led to huge success in events such as cycling and rowing. UKSport, responsible for this distribution have a web site which gives an outline of how this works on their web site.
Everyone is looking forward to the closing ceremony on Sunday, 12th at 9pm GMT. I suspect it won’t be quite as wonderful as the Opening, but it does appear to include a celebration of London, and that might just help our tourism numbers!