Anorak News | Coming A-cropo-lis

Coming A-cropo-lis

by | 16th, August 2004

‘IT’S embarrassing – Britain’s only medal in this year’s Olympic games so far has been a silver won in the synchronised diving.

The Wheelbarrow Race has been playing to huge crowds

But the good news is that there’s been no-one in Athens over the first two days to witness our shame as one prospect after another fell by the wayside.

The Telegraph’s front page shows a lone spectator in a huge bank of seats for the weekend hockey fixture between Germany and Australia.

And the Guardian publishes similar pictures from a first-round tennis match (in which only a bellboy can be seen) and even from the Beach Volleyball Centre.

Fewer than 400 people attended the table-tennis at the 6,000-seater Galatsi Hall and the preliminary rounds of the boxing took place with just a tenth of the 8,200 seats taken.

‘Athenians,’ says the Guardian, ‘have shown a willingness to follow the home team, but seem reluctant to get behind the visitors.’

The organisers insist they will not resort to giving away tickets as happened in Seoul in 1988.

‘Attendance was not very high with less popular sports,’ said spokesman Michael Zaharatos. ‘We never hid the fact that less popular sports and preliminary rounds would not be a full house.’

This might explain why the tae-kwon-do hasn’t been playing to packed houses, but tennis is hardly a minority sport. And as for beach volleyball…

However, the Telegraph reports that the Greeks may have no choice but to hand out freebies.

‘Broadcasters,’ it says, ‘cringed as television audiences around the world saw tennis, weightlifting, hockey and gymnastics played out in half-empty stadiums.’

The only good news is that the fewer spectators there are in the Greek capital, the fewer there are to witness Britain’s Olympic debacle.

So far, cyclist Nicola Cooke has failed to win an expected medal in the road race after crashing into a barrier; swimmer Sarah Price gashed her leg on a TV camera while warming up for the 100m backstroke and sailor and Sydney gold medallist Ben Ainslie was disqualified in his second race.

But at least we’ve got that silver in synchronised diving, eh?’

Posted: 16th, August 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink