Squash: Olympic hype not helping athletes - Willstrop

Lord Sebastian Coe poses for a photgraph on the Olympic 2012 Marathon Course in London. PIC: PA
Lord Sebastian Coe poses for a photgraph on the Olympic 2012 Marathon Course in London. PIC: PA
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Olympic Games hype hit an all-time high as the London 2012 express swept inexorably past the “one-year countdown” recently.

And don’t we know it: newspaper pull-outs dedicated to the centrepiece event of world sport, countless tv reports, Tom Daley doing exhibition dives into the “new and ready well ahead of time” Aquatics centre – it was all happening and with a whole year to go!

Quite a long time you might say.

The athletes are probably confused by now what with trying to keep their focus for the World Championships in South Korea coming up in a few weeks – all they seem to be doing is answering questions about the Olympics and the same can be said for the British swimming team.

The press might be wise to curb their enthusiasm; keeping a low profile might be a good idea.

Athletes with big chances in London 2012 need to be helped not hindered and freed from the added spotlight to which many who hail from lower-profile sports are not accustomed.

there is already enough pressure without added fanfare.

Of course, for Seb Coe, pictured below, and his endless team of marketing executives, it will be different; they naturally want to maximise exposure and attention at the ultra-hyped “one-year stage” and will have attempted to make use of the athletes in any way they could for promotion.

It seems to me, though, that Coe and his team weren’t thinking straight when setting up a sponsorship deal with McDonald’s, announcing simultaneously that there would be a huge two-storey restaurant in the Olympic Park.

To publicly align the Olympics with this firm is nothing more than a disgrace.

Back in 2005, when London won the bid, Coe’s winning lines reflected on the “greenest Olympics” and “great sporting legacies for our children”. How Mcdonald’s can be connected with the Olympics is reprehensible, bordering on ironic.

However much money this has added to Coe’s Olympic coffers is irrelevant; the organisers should be ashamed for veering wildly from the Olympic ethos – that’s if one even exists any more.

Lee Beachill. Picture: SquashPics.com

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