It's something we're supposed to be proud of, the greatest sporting event on the planet (and I assume, other planets), an event in which almost every nation in the world seems to participate and this time its secondary function is to essentially show off our great nation to everyone else. The 2012 Olympic Games.
I find myself not so enthused.
The recent Beijing olympics were spectacular, Sydney had great fireworks and Greece was historic. I have Canadian friends who, even at this early stage, proudly tell me that the 2010 Winter Olympics are being held in Vancouver. I flew over Lillehammer this year and memories of the Italians beating the locals at the cross-country skiing and Torvill & Dean came flooding back from the 1994 games. Yet the thought of the Olympic games taking place in the UK, more specifically London, doesn't bring any excitement out of me.
Ignoring the controversy, political protests and terrorists that the games attract (Which I think make the games ineresting), I just have no faith in our country to run such an event.
Before the term 'Credit crunch' was invented and before a recession was in view on the horizon - we knew that the original 2005 budget of £2.375 billion wasn't going to be substantial (It rose to £9.35 billion in 2007, who knows at which figure it stands now).
We were sceptical when the Prime Minister said "An Olympic Games hosted in London would create significant opportunities for companies up and down the UK" - It emerged this week that a pitiful £100,000 has been spent on contracting just four companies in Wales in relation to the Olympics, whilst £100million of lottery funding is to be diverted away from Wales towards London . The vast majority of the events are to be held in and around London too, with one of the most preposterous being the mountain bike event being held in a purpose-built venue in Essex, not known to be a mountainous region, chosen over world-recognised moutain biking stages in Wales, Scotland and northern England.
London (as with most capital cities) already attracts derogatory comments from the rest of the UK for its selfishness and its perceived status above anywhere else. The people in charge of the city have done nothing to improve relations by sucking money from the other regions whilst offering little or nothing in return.
One shining light in this farce is in fact the exact thing that I've been whining about, the circus isn't actually coming to my town. I'll be free to wander around Cardiff without 2012 banners and hundreds of tourist traps being shoved in my face. Neither will my commute be affected by the thousands of aforementioned tourists dithering about in the heat of the London underground. Also, in these days of digital television I can choose to avoid the Olympics through that medium too by watching repeats of Friends (or something) instead on 'Channel 8 +1 +3 Extra'. It's only going to be a couple of weeks long anyway, despite my usual "Is this EVER going to end?" comments whilst pointless sports clog up my television.
It's a long way away to be worrying about it, but then so's the end of the universe, and that still makes the news occasionally.