Ian Monk: Olympic team is beating the odds

Seventy-seven days to go* and the Olympic razzmatazz builds up despite a cacophony of dissenting noises in the media.

Ian Monk: the Olympic comms team has built up a fan base of millions
Ian Monk: the Olympic comms team has built up a fan base of millions

Through superb use of new and social media, the Olympic comms team has built up a fan base of millions, taking its invariably positive news feed direct from the organisers.

Meanwhile, the independent print, online and broadcast media retain their objective focus. They highlight the fact that the home team will include plastic Brits draping themselves in the Union Jack to qualify for the honour of competing for the nation, and the return of drug cheats such as Dwain Chambers. Unsettling stories emerge of missiles stationed on residential roofs to protect a stadium whose ‘legacy’ remains mired in uncertainty and controversy.

Security manoeuvres are carried out, redolent at times of an occupation force. Predictions abound of widespread travel chaos – and we hear that millions of tourists will stay away because of the Games (a double negative, surely?).

The publicists recognise that a predilection for bad news is integral to the British psyche and is reflected in the media we choose to consume. They must also accept that some people sense statist overtones in an event that will usurp all other programming from the schedules of the national broadcaster, and for which citizens will be banned from driving in lanes reserved for Important Olympic People.

Meanwhile, in the toughest economic times that most people can remember, there are mixed perceptions of the value of the £10bn public funding of a sports festival.
Yet, despite all this, there is a sense that the Games will ultimately be seen as a triumph. First, the host nation will surely set aside its reservations and unite to show the world a great time.

Second, as the Games begin, sporting heroes will emerge to carry the torch in compelling advocacy of London 2012.

Who knows, it could even be seen as the Greatest Show On Earth.

*From Friday, 11 May

Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and a former executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun

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