Swimming, badminton, horseback riding while dressed like a time traveller from the 1890s- these are all minority interests. Normally they wouldn't get on TV at all. But because it's the Olympics we're supposed to have developed an overnight passion for them. Well, I haven't.
The same goes for the sailing. My parents had a sailboat once and my mother still remembers how I nearly ran it into an enormous, rusty, old buoy. I hated sailing. It's a sport- like many of the Olympic sports- only open to people with bags and bags of money. Because we're the nation of Drake, Nelson and Fisher we Brits are quite good at it- and it's one of the few sports in which we stand a reasonable chance of winning gold. So suddenly this chap I'd never heard of and whose name I continue not to know is a national hero. There was footage of him on the news, sitting in his little cockboat- becalmed- while the other competitors raced past him. And then I remembered that we are also the nation of Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel and Mr Bean.
All the build-up, all the hype, all the vast expenditure- and what's it for? It's for a bunch of activities which- in the grand scheme of things- are about as significant as growing prize tomatoes or building models of the House of Commons out of matchsticks. The Olympics is really just the village fete gone global- a multi-billion dollar celebration of hobbyism.
Jackie Fisher- quite a good sailor.