Olympic pledge “a sales pitch”

This was the reported conclusion from the think tank, Centre for Social Justice, set up by Iain Duncan Smith. It contains legitimate concerns but misses the point by emphasising the word “sales” as if there could have been some other kind of bid winning pitch. Lord Coe and his brilliant team were selling London as host city, against hot favourites Paris, and to win they had no option but to promise on future performance-like any pitch.


Unlike Paris, they had a complete understanding of the decision making IOC. They pitched accordingly. Rationally they had no option other than fulfilling the draconian technical demands on finance, infrastructure, transport,security, all quantifiable deliverables that would be insisted upon, regardless of any world financial melt-down. As a power driven monopoly the IOC sets the rules, that however absurd, must be obeyed. Paris also knew this.


To win, Coe and his team knew they  had to make the emotional connection with this cabal of elderly power brokers who, from their lofty perches, like to feel they are ‘doing good’ for the world through sport. They needed to hear the promise that Coe made so movingly that ‘the youth of the world would be inspired to take up sport’. Without this the bid may have foundered.


No doubt it was a promise made in good faith even though no previous Olympics has been credited with significant increase in participation. Some UK programmes are in place but are largely re-workings of pre-existing activity.  Overall, while one million people have applied for tickets to watch the 100 meter sprint final, there is no evidence that more youngsters are dashing around than before.

 A reminder of that bid winning pitch that now seems so long ago:   London 2012. A triumph of emotion.

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