Reading Brand Republic and the British media in the last few months you would have thought that the world had stopped turning, and 8 billion people had stopped living to watch the Olympics and that nothing else mattered in life.
Hate to disillusion you all but not even half the UK population did that…
I could write a blog about it but it comes from a viewpoint of an expat who deliberately left the UK in order to find a better and happier life in Asia for innumerable reasons and has never looked back since.
Fundamentally I left the UK because I no longer wished to live there. So I am biased.
However I was reading the excellent Martin Samuel’s column in the Daily Mail (I only read the sport section on line honest!).
He has not left the UK and is not only passionate and patriotic but is amazingly astute, perceptive and cuts the crap to get to the point that other people were thinking but dare not say in case they are accused of being unpatriotic (as if that was a crime). He does it in a very readable and witty way.
So why don’t i let you read his column, read by 10 million people in the UK and millions more across the world (but probably not many marketing folk) and you can see that it’s not just me who believes that the UK has somewhat lost perspective of what a sporting event held in the UK actually means to people outside of the UK.
From Martin Samuel in The Daily Mail:
After the Games, clarity begins at home
‘The greatest show on earth’ read the headline in the New York Post on Monday morning. Yet, before we embark on another round of self-congratulation, it must be pointed out that the story concerned is not Britain’s glorious Olympic summer but the New York Jets’ 48-28 win over the Buffalo Bills in the NFL.
For Olympic news, specifically Paralympic news, you had to turn to page, er, you had to turn to page, um, actually, forget it. There was no Paralympic news in the New York Post. Not in the New York Times, either, despite a dedicated sports pull-out and the boast of ‘all the news that’s fit to print’.
There were shorts on cycling, Nascar motor sport and a whole page of roof ideas for the tornado-blighted Billie Jean King National Tennis Center but of London’s grand Olympic finale, nothing.
USA Today found room for six paragraphs in the Update section, above the death of the president of the National Amateur Athletic Union and Tony Schumacher recording his ninth Top Fuel victory in the Mac Tools US Nationals. No, me neither.
And this is not to knock the American media. They have to sell newspapers, too. If the British public had not embraced all aspects of the Games so magnificently, it would not have received blanket coverage on these pages, either.
Realise, though, that while we think our Olympics has been the most wonderful life-changing event of the 21st century, events always feel bigger when they take place on your doorstep.
Melbourne promotes itself as sport’s capital because it has nine Australian Rules Football teams, hosts Australian Open tennis, the Australian Grand Prix, Test matches, rugby internationals and the Melbourne Cup. What’s the Melbourne Cup? It’s a two-mile horse race dating back to 1861. Australia stops for it. Beyond their shores, however, it has about as much significance as the Grand National does in Bulgaria. But Melbourne thinks the world is watching.
All hosts do.
So we cannot simply presume that progress will follow London’s Olympic triumph without affirmative individual action. People thought China’s Olympics were going to revolutionise that country, too. Then, less than three years later, the artistic consultant for the Bird’s Nest stadium, Ai Weiwei, was arrested and held for months without charge.
‘It sends out the message that nobody is immune,’ said Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch. Some change.
We take nothing for granted from here. Sport makes a difference in people’s lives but real social change is achieved in the years when the circus isn’t in town. Grass roots involvement, whether sporting or political, is the key.
Basically, if you really want to make an impact on disability, start with a foreign policy that doesn’t require so many young men to have their legs blown off.