Batuhan: Tough it up-A A +A
Friday, August 3, 2012
IT’S barely been a week old, but the 2012 London Olympics has already given us a lot of things to talk about.
From a business perspective, of course, there is all the buzz about what the event was supposed to have been, and what in fact it is turning out to be, for the UK economy.
One of the strange outcomes of the droves of people that are supposed to be in and around London at this time of the year is that restaurateurs and those in the food business are complaining of crowds thinning out, rather than crowding in, to their establishments. Contrary to what was touted as a bonanza for London’s food sector, it is turning out to be a drought.
Apparently, it has to do with London Mayor Boris Johnson’s decision to call on companies to have employees work from home for the duration of the games. Ever conscious of criticisms about London’s transport system possibly not being able to ferry hordes of people around the metropolis, he took the decision to implement a “stay away” policy for the city’s workforce, as well as encourage residents to take their vacations at this time. All recommendations of course were well-heeded by the citizens, or so it seems.
Then there is all the furor about empty seats in many of the Olympic venues. Most of these are apparently allocations to the various Olympic committees, and the rest are allocated to major corporate sponsors. Which possibly implies that they have all been paid for anyway, but it still leaves a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of would-be Olympic spectators, who believe they are being denied the opportunity of being in those seats.
So it seems that from a financial gain for the UK economy, there may actually be a downside to the staging of the games. Or, even if it did not turn out to be the case, expectations of a payday would probably have to be significantly tempered.
But what of impressions of the more sporting kind?
Well, funny enough, it is still about money. And that even if money does not actually compete in the games, it does make those who compete have a bigger chance to win the glory. Pretty obvious observation, right?
For starters, the haves have more chances to win, just because they have more participants in more events. The US and the UK between them fielded over a thousand competitors in all events. In contrast, the Philippines has 11. No, that is not a typo, and yes, it is 11 measly athletes we managed to put on show. Which means our chances of ever getting silverware from them are absolutely zip.
True enough, our lady lifter already crashed out of the competition, and so too have both of our swimmers. Our shooter and archer have also already exited, which leaves our boxing lad with the only long shot of getting a medal. But wait, just one boxer?
We, the land of Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire, the country of champions, only has one boxer? Yes, you got that right. All by his lonesome. Which is bewildering to me, to say the least. And quite annoying, frankly, the more I think about it.
If I were head of the POC, I would possibly, just possibly, put a bit more focus on boxing as our sport in the Olympics. We have the natural talent around, and we also now have an increasing number of benefactors who are willing to bankroll a boxing pool. But somehow this has not materialized. And despite our status – by virtue of Mr. Pacquiao – of being one of the boxing powerhouses of the world, countries like Indonesia have more boxers competing in London than we do.
I do not want to write off our campaign in 2012 as a write-off. But it probably already is. A country’s sporting excellence follows the leadership, and we certainly do not exude a sporting tradition in ours, not when our bachelor president refuses to give up smoking, and avoids being seen anywhere near a ball of any kind – however big or small.
So tough it up, Philippines. Rio 2016 is just around the horizon anyway, so we can all start dreaming of better things to come already.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 04, 2012.