What’s an Omnium…and quite frankly who cares?

17 Aug

Now I don’t know a Keiran from an Omnium but golly gosh they were exciting yesterday. My Shorter Oxford tells me an Omnium is a ‘…miscellaneous assemblage of persons or things; queer mixture.’ Well the queer mixture did it for me last night and it was a bonus having the Keiran named after a buddy of mine. The Trott/Kenny combo added to a vast number of tear-jerking and admirable successes at the Olympics. A gymnast called Tinkler; a ballet-dancer-turned-hammer thrower called Hitchon; Grainger; DuJardin; those nice boy divers; the hockey girls …sailors, rowers, cyclists, swimmers;, gymnasts. Nicola Adams, Andy Murray, Justin Rose,Jess-Ennis-Hill, Mo…gosh it just goes on., doesn’t it?

There are points to be made here. What a release after the summer of Brexit and continuing Labour party infighting. Parliament’s recess has enabled the nation to enjoy Wimbledon and the Olympics and a bit of sun without the distraction and possible irrelevance of our sad politicos. I miss Andrew Neill savaging the Westminster upstarts but otherwise not much about politics inspires. I’ve even forgotten the misery of Euro 2016 because the real superstars – those whose annual pay is the equivalent of a day’s worth of Joe Hart’s mistake-strewn season – have shown the passion and spirit of true sportsmen and women.

The BBC goes into a ‘no news’ panic mode because Mother Theresa Maybe and Boris the Spider are on holiday and can’t hijack the headlines. Dave C’s shorts got some attention back in the day but Corbyn sitting on the floor of an Inter-City train just doesn’t cut the mustard. So thank God for the Olympics. The nation’s broadcaster is all over it like a virulent rash of measles. The Omnibus and KirRoyale cycling pushed back the 10 o’clock news to 11.30. Elections and Referenda can’t do that. Something good is going on!

Of course there is a downside. The inanities of Matt Baker on gymnastics and John Inverdale on everything else are stomach-churning in the extreme. Luckily the A team of Clare and Gabi with backup from Michael J, Sir Chris and Sir Steve, rescue each evening once the silly boys have been put to bed. But it’s the athletes themselves whose ordinariness in life makes their feats of derring-do so extraordinary. What UK Sport and the Lottery and visionary people in multi-sports have done is quite remarkable.

The Brazilians have yet to join in the party wholeheartedly. Why?  Dunno. Is it the cost of the whole circus, the price of tickets, their lack of enthusiasm for sports they aren’t much cop at? Dunno. The near-empty stadium syndrome is sad for all concerned. Who sets the prices? Why can’t the seats be filled by letting locals in free/cheaply? I did note that Beach Volleyball drew sizeable crowds. Copacabana beach, sunshine, fit boys and girls. I’d be there too. I was in London – it was in Horseguards, Sublime.

The first death-rattle of Autumn is signalled by the opening day of the Premiership season and already I feel myself sinking into the mire of soccer-gossip-scandal-recrimination chatter which characterises our myopia where football is concerned. I need to hold on to the Olympics for just a while longer before the winter of politics and Premiership discontent sets in.

Last words. Usain Bolt. Usain Bolt. Usain Bolt.

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