Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on Why London is Yawning Over the Olympics


Reason Foundation Shikha Dalmia reports from London on the eve of the 30th summer Olympics that the most striking thing about the games is the complete lack of buzz. There is more excitement in a geriatric bingo parlor than on the streets of London. She notes, in her column at The Daily:

 Commercial establishments are not planting new flowers or scrubbing old buildings to impress foreign guests. There are no giant screens in public squares hyping the extravaganza. Streets aren't lined with posters of British athletes. Among the few signs that something is afoot — besides roving armed troops — are tacky plastic runners wrapped around park fences depicting stick figures in various sporting poses (a decoration more worthy of a high school prom than an international event). Many Londoners I've spoken to — taxi drivers, dry cleaners, residents — consider the whole thing a "bloody nuisance" that they are planning to observe from some other European city far from the traffic snarls and the madding crowds.

No doubt the bad economy and the many snafus in the run-up to the games have dampened public enthusiasm. But the bigger reason Londoners are so unmoved is that the era of nationalistic fervor whipped up through mega-projects is over in the West. The West, quite simply, may have outgrown these games.

 Read the whole thing here.

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  1. This is some kind of sporting event?

    1. No, it’s a human-interest ‘special’ with some footage of sports tossed in.
      See, this young woman’s mother contracted cancer when the woman was very young, but she’s an American, so her internal courage allowed her….

  2. planning to observe from some other European city far from the traffic snarls and the madding crowds

    And insane, police-state like security.

    Time to go to Barcelona for the duration of the games, I would think.

    1. Fun tidbit: Friend reports paramilitary squads, squads, performing random sweeps on London Underground trains.

      1. Yeah, definitely time to go to Barcelona. That’s fucked.

        Just wait until they fuck up and have another de Menezes clusterfuck.

        1. The Israeli intelligence swears that the Iranians are trying to pull another Munich. I wouldn’t be in London right now for love nor money.

          1. If there’s anyone Iranians hate more than Israelis, it’s the British.

        2. Meh, Barcelona is too hot and smelly and full of tourists in July. Better off going to Scandanavia, the Baltics or Iceland. Just don’t come here, we get enough of you obnoxious, drunk Limey wankers already.

          1. When the US hosted the World Cup in 2004, there was a lot of talk about how the English Yobs were going to come over here and cause a bunch of trouble. That was until someone explained American gun laws to said yobs. They somehow managed to stay reasonably sober and out of trouble after that. Funny that.

            1. Degenerate bullies and vandals. It’s “them fuckin’ Yanks” until they get here and walk around among an armed population — then it becomes “hi there, mate, you alright?”

            2. Well I meant here in Prague, but yeah, they are generally disliked wherever people have to put up with them. Not that they all suck of course, but Christ, they sure excel in trashy behavior.

              What’s funny is that the Brits love to bitch about American tourists, but outside of Britain it is the British tourists that are despised in my experience.

              1. If I lived in Prague I would hate the Brits too. The fucking drunken hen parties and guys weekends would drive me nuts. There are a lot of Brits who just need their asses kicked when they are abroad.

                1. Yeah, it’s not quite as bad as it was a few years ago, when it hit peak limey retard, but then I don’t go out that much these days or spend much time in the center. I’ve a friend who lives in the center and he can’t keep his windows open at night because of the drunken singing and screaming at 3 AM (he doesn’t have AC).

                  1. Just pull out your gun and tell them to fuck off. Don’t point it or anything. Just make it visible. They’ll shit their collective pants and trip over themselves running for France and the Channel.

                    1. Well, they aren’t pussies, the problem is that they are so incredibly loud, obnoxious, drunk and belligerent. Incredibly trashy. I can’t see confronting a large group of drunk limeys with a pistol at 3 AM as having a positive outcome.

            3. When the US hosted the World Cup in 2004, there was a lot of talk about how the English Yobs were going to come over here and cause a bunch of trouble. That was until someone explained American gun laws to said yobs.

              The World Cup was held in the United States in 1994, two years before the British government banned handguns. (No, that wasn’t Britain’s first act of gun control, but it does mean that “yobs” weren’t familiar with any guns being around.)

              How do you always come up with this stuff, exactly? I mean, which “someone” explained which American gun laws to which “yobs”?

              1. (Weren’t unfamiliar.)

                1. Wasn’t a lot of the difference in projected vs. actual English hooliganism that England didn’t qualify for the tournament? Ireland did, but I thought a lot of the yobbos followed England?

                  That, and I think the word got out that American cops would be looking to kick ass if anyone started rioting.

              2. Except they were extremely rare and restricted practically to the point of prohibition before then anyway.

          2. Sorry 1994.

  3. Shit, they’re behind the curve – I’ve yawned over the Olympics for my entire life.

  4. The obvious solution to waning interest in the Olympics: everyone competes nude, just like in the old days.

    1. Yes. Yes, that would be suitable.

      1. I will BE IN MY BUNK!

    2. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.c…..gan_1.html

      Women’s soccer games would start drawing some ratings.

      1. Why is that dude wearing a bikini? Is that some sort of Euro thing?

        1. She is gorgeous. If you think she is a dude, you are sexually very confused. NTTAWWT

          1. C’mon, you’re just overcompensating because everyone was calling you a chubby chaser.

            Okay, I just thought it was the one pic and in the other photos she looks very attractive, but there’s just something missing. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is definitely something missing.


            1. TITTIES!

          2. Yeah, John, what GBN said. Someone gives you a little crap because you like a girl some some ass on her, now you’re posting pics of 12 yr-o boys.

          3. Here breasts are too small and her arms too manly.

        2. Technically, she’s not wearing a bikini.

      2. OTOH, there is the women’s shot put problem to consider.

        1. And Holly Mangold (who by the way is awesome, but I wouldn’t want to see her nekkid).


          1. Naked women’s weightlifting is definitely off the menu.

            An so would gymnastics since they are all like 15. Naked women’s diving is however a go


            1. I think you’ll find the same problem you identified with gymnastics.

            2. Also apparently our women’s table tennis team members are 16:


              1. The fencer that’s the first picture is like the real life Arya Stark.

            3. Speaking of weightlifting, There is a massage parlor near my house where a Korean lady does an awesome clean and jerk.

      3. Heather Mitts was always the gold standard for attractive women’s soccer players. She’s still on the team now at 34, and is married to A.J. Feeley.

  5. The games have always been a fraud for the ordinary population. Politicians and poobahs love having the games in their cities because they get to go to all of the VIP events and such. I am sure this is a great week in Red Boris or whatever the fuck that moron who is mayor of London’s life. For the average Londoner who can’t afford tickets, it is just another tax burden and traffic snarl.

    1. You talking about the G-20?

      1. When are we going to run out of G? I remember when it was the G-7. Are we up to 20 now?

    2. It’s Red Ken (Livingstone). Boris is your typical preppy Tory politician who was member of Oxford’s notorious Bullingdon Club.

  6. There are still probably a lot of smaller countries where people would feel a swell of national pride if one of their athletes unexpectedly won a gold, but it’s really hard for me as an American to care.

    There have just been too many Olympics, too many sports stories, too many medals. Who cares about another one?

    “Yay, we won a basketball gold!” Yawn.

    1. I would actually like to see them lose if for no other reason than to see Coach K and LaBron take the fall for it. I would be happy to see Spain or Argentina get a national holiday for winning the gold, especially if that meant LaBron got a new “loser” tag after winning the NBA title this spring.

      1. I’d like to see the United States wipe the floor with everybody else, and then watch the Eurotrolls crawl out and bitch about how America is commandeering global sports.

        1. That would have its advantages too. But couldn’t we do that in every other sport but still lose in basketball so LaBron and Wade and Coach K are nationally despised and scapegoated for it?

          1. I guess, since it’s just one sport.


            1. Sports would be absolutely pointless if it wasn’t for mindlessly hating the other tribe.

              1. We have to ban that. For the children.

          2. Wade isn’t even on the team buddy.

            You don’t know much about Sports.

            Coach K has been a mediocre coach in the pre-season too, his defensive schemes could use help.

            1. Oh that is right, Wade is getting a pedicure and LeBron’s laundry this summer.

              1. Yep, we’re champs it feels good.

      2. You’re an idiot first for celebrating National holidays. No nation deserves one, they’re a large albatross around the private sector.

        Second it is LEbron, and he dominates whatever weakass team you like instead.

        1. If you don’t enjoy a day off, you are an idiot. And your choice of basketball player shows it.

          There really isn’t anything lower in the sports world than a Miami Heat fan who isn’t either from Miami or was a real die hard Heat fan before 2010.

          1. No fool, public sector employees get the day off and we pay for it.

            Oh and I’m hispanic, and from Miami genius.

            Shows how much you know.

            1. So you are marginally one step up from the typical Miami Heat fan. So what. You still live in the worst sports town in America.

              1. I own you in Libertarianism.

                1. Miami doesn’t deserve this team probably, because we’re a smaller market.

                  There’s a legitimate economic reason why the team should move. But it is a nice place to live in I think.

              2. You still live in the worst sports town in America.

                Big words from a guy living in DeeCee.

              3. I thought the worst sports town was Cleveland? Or maybe one of the many towns which don’t have any major league teams?

      3. I would actually like to see them lose if for no other reason than to see Coach K and LaBron take the fall for it.

        Yes. Two of my least favorite people. First, I’m a lifelong Tarheels (basketball) fan. So fuck Duke and fuck Coach K. Next, I can’t explain why, but I have an intense dislike for LeBron James. I relish every professional failure he experiences.

        Also, fuck Michigan!

        1. Damn well get a new hobby, cause Miami dominates the shit out of basketball now.

          I love King James, I dislike every weak team that gets jealous. :]

          1. LeBron sucks. He doesn’t have the balls to build his own team and win and went crying to Miami so he could play on his own little AAU traveling team. What a loser. He will never garner the kind of respect Kobe Bryant does much less any of the greats of the past. LeBron pissed away any chance he had a greatness when he ran to Miami because he was too sorry to lead his own team.

            1. Who cares, King James is much better.

              Your team would get on their knees for him. Kobe Bryant is a jumpshooter and inferior in every metric possible.

              And you’re a big government libertarian.

              1. Kobe is also 8 years older. Kobe is the most durable two guard in history. He has been the best player on three different title teams and the second best player on two others. All of Kobe’s title teams would destroy this year’s Heat team.

                I am a life time Laker hater. But Bryant’s legacy is undeniable. And it is well beyond anything James will ever get.

                1. James already has the best resume ever for a 27 year old, Kobe winning as a role player doesn’t matter.

                  He’s been the best player on two title teams, and his career is that of a less athletic Wade. He’s comparable to Wade and that’s it.

                  Titles don’t matter, I just love winning this one to make guys like you go nuts.

                  And your team would trade all their players for him, it is funny.

                  1. Kobe has never won a title as a role player. And considering Wade’s knees and the fact that Bosch is worthless, and the coming salary cap and luxury tax issues for the Heat, the Heat will be lucky to win one more title and might not get that. LeBron won’t get more than two titles in his career. That alone will keep him from being even in the top 15 all time.

                    And no great player has ever choked as many times as LeBron has and so spectacularly as he did in 10-11. One run isn’t going to change that image.

                    1. Who cares, everyone knows LeBron has only had good teammates twice, Kobe’s had that his whole career.

                      LeBron averaged 38-8-8 in a series and loses, Kobe shoots 6-24 in game 7 and wins. We know Kobe blows dude.

                  2. And Larry Bird already had two titles and a finals MVP when he was 27, despite coming into the league at age 23.

                    1. Yep Kobe won a title as an inefficient, Allen Iverson type of scorer.

                      Shaq did the heavy lifting, hence Kobe only has two Finals MVPs.

                    2. Who cares, LeBron has the geatest Player efficiency rating in a single playoffs, and his advanced stats are better than any player ever to this point.

                      Last week, Kobe couldn’t do without me…..

                    3. *greatest

                      Last week…. 😉

                    4. Oh and Bosh is probably a better player than old Wade, his defensive statistics are quite dominant actually.

                      Your lack of insight is intriguing.

                  3. Titles don’t matter,


            2. But Kobe didn’t have to go build his own team, because Jerry West did it for him, twice — first signing Shaq and then giving the Lakers Pau Gasol. In between, Kobe pouted like all the rest of them and talked about leaving for greener pastures.

          2. Hey, I live in Lakers land. I’ve enjoyed 16 years of Kobe Bryant. LA judges success in championships. I’m not worried about The Heat and their “dominance” of basketball. The Lakers will continue to dominate the NBA. LeBron is a fly speck on the Lakers windshield.

            /friendly trash-talking

            1. Oh yeah don’t worry this is just a fun conversation for me too.

              I’m more offended by politicians than Laker fans.

    2. The Olympics were an actual event when it was USA vs Russia for world domination. It was an extension of the Cold War.

      Now, no one really cares — except when some totalitarian country has something to prove, like Germany used to the Olympics back in 1936 and China in 2008.

      1. The only thing I give a shit about less is soccer.

        I enjoy the Olympics when I do watch them, but I’m not really a fanatic.

        1. You’ll love Olympic soccer then.

      2. I thought it was a great moment when Tommy Lasorda led the US baseball team to gold against commie Cuba in 2000.

        1. But now they don’t even have baseball. But somehow “beach volleyball” players compete for gold medals.

  7. I don’t mind saying that I quite enjoy the Olympics, but I love all things sport, even the ones I only care about every 4 years. I plan on losing a couple weeks sleep just to watch every bit I can. I appreciate that the athletes have worked to get themselves into competition shape and for most this will be the pinnacle of their careers. That being said I will be happy if they never come back to the United States, let alone anywhere near my city.

    1. That being said I will be happy if they never come back to the United States, let alone anywhere near my city.

      I mean the games, not the athletes.

      1. The Olympics don’t matter anymore.

        1. Wow, thanks for that brilliant insight.

          1. The Olympics represent violence and coercion against private individuals.

            You’re not really aware of what’s happening in London I guess.

            1. They should make it a real competition, and ditch the countries and the anthems. Make it Nike vs. Adidas vs. Reebok vs. whatever the next big shoe company is. Then we’d see some real competition.

  8. This is the first Olympics ever that I just haven’t anticipated at all, or expect to watch much.

    That is all.

    1. You know, I think I enjoyed them more when the whole thing was every four years and there were only amateurs representing the U.S.

  9. The West, quite simply, may have outgrown these games.

    As a kid I remember the games was all about beating the Reds. The events that networks chose to air were always about US vs USSR and they constantly showed the number of US gold medals vs USSR gold metals.

    The sad thing is the West (from ancient Greece to today) is fundamentally about individual achievement. Why country affinity was not removed from the games after 1994 is why the games no longer appeal.

  10. The only sport I’m interested in is judo, and I’ll be lucky to even see it online.

    1. You may know my new object d’ interest. Ronda Rousey (Barely SFW). I find women who can apply the Ude Hishigi Juji Gatame with lightning speed to be incredibly sexy.

      1. Oh yes, Rousey is an arm collector of the first order. Too bad she’s not in the games, but I like seeing her bring judo to the cage.

    2. When I lived in Japan, all Olympic programing was judo. Judo all day and night. And ping pong every once in a while.

  11. Meh, the only time I really care about the Olympics is the Winter Games. Hockey, bobsleigh, and the biathlon are more interesting, hell, even curling is more interesting then the Summer version.

    1. Something about drinking heavily and watching Curling that is oddly appealing.

    2. Are you kidding? At least the summer games contain actual sports (Hockey aside, but I don’t care for Olympic versions of interesting professional sports).

    3. I also prefer the Winter games. I think it has something to do withh having lived in a Swiss ski resort for two years. I’m certain being a native Floridian hasn’t much to do with it…

  12. Too many events, combined with an 8 hour time difference that makes it impossible to see things live, equal me not caring one bit, although I do like watching track and field events.

  13. Another reality is that pretty much every sport, from the most obscure and provincial amateur sports, to the big-money professional sports around the world, have their own, completely separate championships.

    It’s true that the Olympics, for a long time, were Cold War metaphorical saber-rattling (a good thing, really, compared with real war). And that’s over.

    The way to make the Olympics relevant, I think, would be to roll them into the various sports’ championships. If the last few rounds of the World Cup, the NBA championships, the Tour de France, whatever, were all rolled into the Olympics, it would be a very different event.

    Interestingly, the Winter Olympics remain fun to watch. Maybe that’s because it’s Winter anyway.

    1. Private sports leagues should try not to work with the Olympics, if anything.

      The central planners don’t deserve any special treatment.

      1. I was envisioning it the other way. The Olympics would become a co-op, comprised of the private sports leagues. Self-funding.

        1. My opinion is that every major sport league should just replace the Olympics.

          The NBA is discussing a privatized world tournament, they should just do that.

          1. “Me too.”

          2. Agreed.

            They can call the world tournaments “Olympic”. Then we can say that the Olympics aren’t dead, but rather bigger than ever, more diverse, etc. But they won’t be fucking the residents of some city every 4 years.

            1. They could try, but the Olympic “movement” (which is really a business and about as much of a movement as a bowel movement is) would have a shit fit over trademark infringement.

  14. The coverage is too “feminine” for my liking. Lost’s of background info about the athletes, what they had to overcome, family member with cancer, etc. Just show as much of the actual competition as can be fit into the broadcast window, please.

    1. Yeah. Instead of yelling “FUCK YEAH, SHIT’S GOING DOWN” when Phelps won each gold, the commentators started discussing the technicalities of whatever the fuck stroke he was using at the time.

    2. They figure guys will watch anyway, so they need to appeal to women.

      1. SEXIST.

  15. I heard the idiot running the opening ceremonies fretting about how hard it’s going to be top the ceremonies from Beijing – without a trace of recognition that things are run… differently over there.

  16. I’ll probably try to catch some boxing, but that’s about it. Used to like olympic baseball, but alas it is no more.

    Now the winter olmpics, I’ll watch the fuck out of ’em shits man.

  17. There should be only one Olympic event: the modern pentathlon. If you can run, swim, ride, shoot and swordfight, you’re the ultimate athlete.

    I still wouldn’t watch it though.

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