Great Debate: John Badham and Andy Sanders on their Olympic views
THE Olympics have finally arrived, but is everyone a fan? Andy Sanders, Tewkesbury Borough Council's leisure and culture manager, explains why he supports the event and Tewkesbury resident and town councillor John Badham highlights why he does not.
NO one could be against a genuine sporting competition where amateur athletes have a chance to compete and excel, says John Badham.
That is what the Olympic ideal was supposed to be all about. What it has become is a hugely expensive bean feast for a relatively small number of self-important individuals, not of course including the athletes themselves, to lord it over the rest of us at enormous taxpayers' expense and at the cost of much more valuable projects.
We have the glorious spectacle of rich sponsors, insufferably conceited former sportsmen, and self-serving politicians winging their way to the venues in their own designated traffic lanes – and we are paying for it.
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Then we have the extraordinary incompetence of so many. G4S is the prime example.
As on cue some trade unions can't resist adding to the general sense of national angst by going on strike the very day before the whole masquerade kicks off.
We are told there is going to be a wonderful "legacy". Maybe there will, but any cursory glance at Sydney or Athens will certainly encourage feelings of scepticism.
One wonders what possible legacy could justify to the expenditure of so many billions.
LONDON 2012 will be an inspiring, emotional and colourful spectacle, says Andy Sanders.
We will see amazing feats of power, commitment, and skill.
The Olympics probably won't run without a hitch. However, surely it will be worth it to see our children running around the playground pretending to be the next Usain Bolt?
The Olympics and Paralympics engender community spirit and patriotism. We only had to see the excitement on the thousands of faces of all when the torch relay passed through the county to see that.
The founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, was inspired by Britain where he saw how sport can create 'moral and social strength'.
He said: "The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle, the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well." The Olympics can provide a lesson for us all, whether we enjoy sport or not.
At the council, one of our aims is to support the health and wellbeing of our residents. This means supporting local sports clubs to take advantage of this upsurge in interest.
The Olympics and sport isn't just about the activity, the economy, or even health and fitness. It helps you to form friendships, spend family time together, learn the value of teamwork and provide leadership skills.
Local hero Zac Purchase has spent four years working towards the dream of another gold. He will have sacrificed a lot. In these difficult times, young people need to have dreams.
Being an Olympic champion seems like a good one to me.