Article: The Olympics feel-good factor

I landed a two-week internship at The Times (thanks to the UpRising programme) on their Leaders and OpEd desk in December 2011 and was delighted to be working alongside some of the biggest names in journalism – Daniel Finkelstein, Phil Collins, Oliver Kamm, Hugo Rifkind et al.  I had a wonderful time there, not least because they let me write articles for Comment Central, their blog, but that everybody was so incredibly warm and generous with their time.  I hope to repay their support one day.

My first article was intended to get me into the groove of writing for The Times.  The language and style is very different to what I’m used to with The Guardian and considering I was working directly with them, I was naturally nervous.  I found an interesting news story abou the Olympics and felt a mini-rant coming on!

You can find the original article by clicking here (£).

Among Londoners, mere mention of the word “Olympics” often prompts moaning about the prospect of too many people clogging up our commute to work, and of inappropriate largesse in these tough economic times.

So the news today that a further £40 million is being thrown at the Games’ opening ceremony to “better exploit ‘a great national moment’” is likely to generate mixed reactions.

On the one hand, it suggests current plans are underwhelming; indeed, Hugh Robertson, the Sports Minister, “[declined] to criticise the early efforts of some of the best creative talent in the entertainment business”. On the other, it suggests that the Government wants to generate some good feeling amid the doom and gloom.

But surely our spirits would be lifted higher with a big haul of gold, silver and bronze medals for Team GB.

So the news that a British sprinter is auctioning himself on eBay to raise £30,000 to compete at the Olympics, while creative on his part, is worrying. It suggests that some athletes have come up against serious sponsorship barriers.

It also suggests that some of the £40 million could have been better spent. It’s a bit like having a wedding without a bride and groom.