The London Olympics 2012 are clearly cause for celebration. The best games of all time? Arguably so. The most successful for British athletes? Certainly since 1908. But it is also important to recognise the games exist inside of a bubble, one which will no doubt burst in the coming weeks as the public, and the media, return their attention back to the everyday reality. A reality which highlights some glaring contradictions…
We celebrate the pinnacle of drug free performance before closing the ceremonies with a long procession of drug fuelled ‘celebrities’.
We rejoice in the celebration of sports whilst the government is selling off school sports fields, having already scrapped targets for school sports provision.
We jubilantly proclaim how proud we are to be British amidst widespread unrest about the way Britain is being run, and when the usual British cynicism has never been stronger.
We boldly set out to tackle global hunger as part of the Olympic legacy, at the same time as allowing McDonalds, a company playing a significant role in a global obesity epidemic, to be the official restaurant of the Olympics.
We gladly celebrate the achievements of immigrants such as Mo Farah whilst witnessing increased hostility towards our immigrant population as a result of record unemployment and a hate filled media.
We delight in the diversity the games brings to our country, and yet all but omit any form of culture and diversity from its closing ceremony.
We are thrilled when certain Arabic countries send female athletes for the first time, then force them to turn their heads at a stage adorned with scantily clad singers.
We enthusiastically embrace a spirit of togetherness whilst allowing our government to wilfully play divide and rule to re-ignite a long standing class war.
We proclaim the games to be the greenest ever, whilst slashing investment in green technology and turning our back on our carbon reduction targets.
We honour those who push the boundaries of what is possible whilst condemning protesters who are trying to bring about positive social change.
But the Olympic legacy presents a genuine opportunity. The opportunity as a society to choose to change our culture and remove these contradictions. But this needs to be a conscious decision that we all participate in. Do we want the obesity epidemic to continue to permeate our youth? Do we want to continue idolising drug taking pop stars over sporting heroes? Do we want to allow a dark shadow to continue to hang over multicultural Britain? Do we want our political leaders to continue allowing the richest in society to profit from the suffering of the rest? If the answer to these questions is no, then we should not be content with celebrating contradictions, but but we should fight for an olympic legacy we can all be proud to pass on to the next generation.