Olympic pageantry is over-the-top

Spending millions on opening ceremonies takes focus away from athletes

On the eve of my eighth decade, I am contemplating the spectacular performances and events at the current Olympic Games.

Fleetingly, my thoughts return to Games of long ago, when all were amateurs (e.g. Chariots of Fire) and the great names included Owens, Zatopek, Nuurmi, Haag, etc. Champions all.

Today our world is in a chaotic state. Desperate human needs are being thwarted by a lack of funds, we are told (let them eat cake). Coincidentally, extravagant and garish opening and closing Olympic ceremonies – likely for commercial profit – belie this sickening refrain. Public liability is the likely cost (remember Montreal in 1976?). It reminds one of Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

What has all this showmanship to do with athletic excellence and prowess?

Certainly, all praise to the athletes, and huge congratulations to medal winners, but please, cut the cost of the carnivals. Has greed and crass commercialism become the raison d’être, even at Olympic Games?

Spoil sport? No, create simple, sensible priorities.

Stephen Lamb

Victoria