How much aviation fuel? How many hotel beds? How many police officers? How many stewards? And what an utter waste of time! The transcontinental journey of the Olympic flame. What a load of bollocks! What is it supposed to mean? Maybe once the Olympic spirit was about African hill peasants coming down from the mountains to win marathons and about dedicated steelworkers or secretaries filling their spare time with Olympic training regimes - having a dream and going for it.
Now it's all about sponsorship and urban renewal, political profiles and performance enhancing drugs, Nike shoes and Tag Heur timing, logos and TV interviews. It stinks.
It was Nazi Germany that first conceived the idea of a torch relay from Olympia for the Berlin summer games of 1936 with their classical symbolism and Hitler's transparent posturing to present himself to the world as an international statesman. Why are we continuing that cynical tradition?
Regarding the protesters. Yes. It is true that China has enslaved Tibet and abused many of its people but no country that has ever hosted the games could claim to have been politically spotless. The main thing that makes my blood boil about the absurd torch relay is the very unnecessary waste that the scheme has caused - all those air miles, those massive hotel bills etc.. Besides, it is perhaps ironically significant that the flame is regularly being doused. Wasn't the whole idea that it would be the same flame - the flame first lit in Olympia - that would circle the globe. It's all a sick joke.
Konstantinos Kondylis - the first torch runner in 1936