Letters, Thursday, June 28th, 2012

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Have we gone too far with Olympics?

THE inception of The Olympics in ancient Greece consisted of six sports: boxing, equestrian, pankration (yes, you may well ask – a form of martial arts), pentathlon, running and wrestling.

In 1896, when the Modern Olympics began, it had advanced to nine sports. Now in the 2012 Games, there are a total of 4,700 medals already struck. It should be stated that these include the Paralympics.

I presume therefore there will be 1,566 gold medal winners approximately.

Well, this just blows me away. Is it an event created for spectators or participants? What value to a winner will these medals be worth aesthetically? Beach volleyball at Horseguards should be a wow (as everyone sways now to almost any occurrence). In 2016 we can look forward to Rugby 7s. Where will it all end?

Am I being facetious in suggesting that all of this promotion of events is to facilitate the implied importance of the organisers gathered from all points worldwide, and the promotion of income from advertisements?

I will not follow the main games myself, but will watch, with tears in my eyes, the efforts of the paralympians, doing their best with pain in their eyes, heroes all. Will these efforts rub off on the reputations and expenses of the “officials” as they hurry along, in their chauffeured limousines, made available in order they don’t miss their requirement to officiate some important decision or attend a drinks party?

As for the carriage of the torch, well all I can say is that if it turns you on, well get on with it. There obviously is nothing wrong with it, but for 8,000 people to turn out at all hours to carry a torch is beyond me.

Will you spend several hours glued to the telly and wonder at “The Isles of Wonder”, the subject matter of the official opening? Will you wonder at the cost involved? No one admires my country like I do, but really! Better for all to buy a St George flag and hang it in their garden or yard.

What have we come to? Where is the excellence we should strive to attain at the highest level? The uniqueness of the Olympic medallist.

The Olympic motto states that is not the winning that is important but the taking part. I’m sure we would all go along with that, but I wonder whether we have gone too far this time.

Allan Wilkinson

Big thank-you

MY husband and I would like to pay our thanks to all the people who helped us both when my husband took poorly and couldn’t walk in British Home Stores, especially the restaurant staff who were exceptionally kind.

The people of Sunderland are, by nature, kind and considerate and it often goes by unnoticed, but we would like to say once again, a big thank-you to you all.

Robert and Olive Burn, Comet Square, New Silksworth

Vaux site work

I PASS the Vaux site every Friday.

Since Christmas I have witnessed vast amounts of soil, of all descriptions, deposited on the area.

Some workmen’s huts in the far corner have appeared and an occasional workman spotted.

Recently, a number of paths have been seen and last week the site was almost under water.

Whatever Plan A is, it is certainly taking a long, long time to come to fruition and must be taking a lot of taxpayers’ money to fund.

And this is stage one ... the mind boggles.

Phil Fairclough, Ryhope

MP’s opinions

IN a recent letter to the Echo, (June 23), W. Quinn quoted the Conservative MP Philip Davies, to support his own opinion on foreign aid. Davies has many opinions and beliefs that makes him a very odd political bedfellow to be quoted, as an ally to a viewpoint by any self-respecting socialist.

For example, Davies is among a minority of Conservative MPs who have called for the scrapping of the minimum wage.

He also said in Parliament that disabled people “by defintion” were less productive and could work for less than the minimum wage, a statement that was quickly disowned by his own party.

Representatives of several mental illness charities also criticised this suggestion.

W. Quinn in his letter states: “Instead of generalising, Mr Dixon should use any intelligence he might have to discuss the matter (foreign aid) with Tory MP Philip Davies.”

Suggestion declined and, instead, based on the above statements by the MP and many others attributed to him, I shall leave any discussion with Philip Davies on foreign aid to W. Quinn and use whatever intelligence I may have to agree with the views of Labour’s Chris Mullin.

Michael Dixon,

Sunderland