Speaking Personally: Paul Cardwell

You can follow Paul on Twitter at @paulcardwell
You can follow Paul on Twitter at @paulcardwell

IT’S two days until the opening ceremony of the Olympics and I for one can’t wait for the Games to begin.

Maybe then some of the incessant moaning surrounding them might stop and people can just get on with enjoying them or, if they choose to, ignoring them.

As I am looking forward to them, I am getting a bit fed up of so many people being negative towards them. I’m also getting fed up of having to explain why I am interested.

The most popular arguments that the narrow-minded naysayers (this is what I call them) have against London and the UK hosting one of the world’s biggest events seem to be over the cost, the disruption they will cause and, scarily, the point of it.

Tackling that last one first. The point of the Olympics is officially to allow people to compete against each other whilst fostering friendship and unity.

Nothing wrong with that?

Personally, to me, the point of the Olympics is entertainment.

I simply enjoy watching the world’s best athletes compete against each other. The enjoyment comes from marvelling at how good they are, and from getting caught up in the competitive tactics they use to get one over on each other. And, yes, this is regardless if it’s athletics or taekwondo; the same principle applies.

Financially, I get why people question the Olympics.

I understand that spending £11 billion, as has been reported, on an event can seem a bit much, but you have to remember the money the Olympics brings in return.

It’s said the Games will result in a boost to the UK’s economy of £13 billion, through ticket sales, tourism and jobs from building contracts – to name just a few things.

That’s a £2 billion profit and we will have had all the ‘fun’ of the Games.

They also leave a legacy of sporting, tourism and infrastructure facilities behind, as well as a lifetime of memories.

Those who say Scotland will see none of this, I disagree.

The money invested in UK sport benefits all athletes, regardless of what country in the UK they are from. Scotland will host a few football games and will benefit from that exposure.

Our country is also been used as a training base by many nations. Nigeria have been in Aberdeen, the US women’s football team in Glasgow and the Team GB swimmers in Edinburgh.

So to say there is no financial benefit to the UK and Scotland is inaccurate.

The Olympics will, I admit, cause some disruptions, but only really if you live in London, and plenty of people that seem to be complaining live nowhere near the capital.

Yes, if you live there getting to work and travelling around might be a pain for the next month but, for us in Scotland, there is no disruption that I can see, except a few episodes of ‘Eastenders’ being pushed back, but I’m sure Kat and Alfie’s latest drama will keep.

Overall, I’m not trying to convince anyone to change their mind about the Olympics, as I know they are not perfect, but what I would like is for those moaning to give it a rest to let people like me enjoy them in peace.

Paul Cardwell writes in the East Fife Mail.