The spirit of sport

Given all the protesters on the Olympic torch relay route in other cities, I really wondered what would happen in San Francisco. Reading a few reports on how events unfolded left me very amused.

Let me give you the good bits, first from the CBC:

But just minutes before it was to begin, San Francisco police told spectators that the 10-kilometre relay route would be several kilometres shorter than originally planned.

Then in a bizarre scene at the planned starting point, the torch disappeared into a warehouse as IOC officials and torch runners, surrounded by police, huddled to discuss alternate plans with city authorities.

A few minutes later, television cameras showed a number of people dressed in official Beijing 2008 track suits boarding a convoy of buses, which then drove out the back entrance of the warehouse complex with a police motorcycle escort.

CNN continues:

The torch was driven to a nearby neighbourhood, where the runners began the relay.

There was “a disproportionate concentration of people in and around the start of the relay,” Mayor Gavin Newsom told The Associated Press.

A few things contributed to my amusement about this event.

The main thing was that they were so worried about the protesters that they saw no problem with cheating the people who simply wanted to see the torch out of what they came for. And related to this is the mayor’s fear of all the people showing up. This was a well publicized event, and the only North American appearance of the Olympic torch, so how dare the people show up? The international event was executed with all the finesse of a fire at a church bake sale.

I also enjoy his using the word ‘disproportionate’ because it implies a comparison, with a proportionate concentration of people, but he doesn’t mention this so we have no idea what he’s talking about. All the people scared him and he fell back on his politician-speak, it seems.

So welcome to the Olympic torch relay. We moved it a few blocks away so you already missed it. Yes, we spent millions of dollars on the ad campaign, but too many of you showed up! What were we supposed to do? Someone had to think of the children!

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