'Olympic whinge' finally ends as media get behind the Games
The BBC is installed in the London Olympic park, the athletes are here - is it time to have fun?
WITH just days to go until the Olympic opening ceremony it seems that the British media has decided, after seven years of bellyaching, that it's time to get behind the Games.
The BBC is now installed in fancy studios overlooking the Olympic park and the dreaded 'Games Lanes' are coming into force on London's roads. It spells the end of what Simon Barnes in The Times describes as the pre-emptive "Olympic whinge".
"It has become an important Olympic tradition," he writes. "As soon as a city is granted the Games, it's a cue for a biblical seven-year plague. Not locusts nor boils but the belief that disaster and horror lurk in everything connected with the Games. And then, in a single instant, it ends.
"We're so nearly at the sport. It won't be long before we've forgotten how ghastly it all was and how doubly ghastly is everything to do with the Olympics. In a few days' time - impossible to believe, I know - we'll be having fun."
At the weekend the Independent on Sunday noted that negativity was being edged out by "a growing excitement". Today it is noticeable that the papers are devoting more manpower and column inches to the sport rather than the failings of G4S.
Those who helped bring the Games to London are no longer ogres but heroes. In the London Evening Standard, Steve Cording pays tribute to Sebastian Coe and even calls for him to be given the honour of lighting the Olympic flame.
Coe deserves praise for transforming east London, says Cording. He challenges critics of the much-criticised ticketing system to come up with a better one and points out that the draconian sponsorship regulations are not of the host city's making.
"After such a long build-up, the Olympics will be over in a flash," he adds. "Friends that I have spoken to in Sydney have warned of a post-Games depression. The 31 days of Olympic and Paralympic competition have to be savoured because there will never be another Games in our lifetime in this country."
Today the Standard website was focusing on the fun as it deemed London Mayor Boris Johnson's flamboyant rendition of a specially commission Greek ode at a gala evening for the IOC as more noteworthy than problems on the Tube that left thousands of people stranded in Stratford after Olympic rehearsals.
As ever, IOC chairman Jacques Rogge is being positive. "The Games themselves already have all the elements necessary for success – not just for the two weeks of competition, but long, long after the flame has been extinguished," he wrote in The Daily Telegraph this week. ·