I'm a viewing casualty of the Olympics

First published in Helen Mead Chorley Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Lancashire Telegraph columnist

Only a few days to go before the Olympics. I can’t wait. Wall-to-wall coverage will mean that that my normal TV viewing routine will be shot to pieces.

I don’t want to miss Casualty on a Saturday night to watch people who looks like Smurfs whizzing around a so-called velodrome at 100mph.

I don’t want to miss Countryfile for underwater tiddlywinks between Ukraine and Belarus, and I really don’t want to forfeit my weekly dose of University Challenge for any sporting feat, even if it involves close ups of Usain Bolt in tight running shorts.

For those of us who believe the Olympics is a big waste of billions we’ll have to settle for two whole weeks of high-brow fare such as Come Dine With Me, Big Brother and endless programmes about gypsy girls in enormous dresses.

I just can’t get excited about the Olympics, and I’m not alone. A national poll revealed widespread apathy, with 60 per cent of us “not excited” about the event.

I thought I’d have worked up a bit more enthusiasm as time went on, but if anything I’m less interested now than ever. The torch relay was a let down - I imagined there would be one beautiful, ornate torch, passed from Greece across Europe and into the UK, from person to person, not several thousand that resemble tin foil, which many of the bearers can’t wait to part with on eBay.

Even the stadium is boring. You’d have thought with all the money being spent the least they could do is produce a stunning piece of architecture as the centrepiece.

The run-up has been dominated by images not of the world’s best athletes in training , but missiles on roofs and soldiers in combat gear. Two-thirds of Olympic memorabilia has been made in China, and businesses that aren’t official sponsors have been getting into trouble for using certain words like ‘Games’, ‘Gold’, ‘twenty twelve’, and ‘London’, together in one sentence. I’m nervous now, having used the word ‘Olympics’ a handful of times without permission.

Will two weeks of sport make up for that? I doubt it. The only activities I quite enjoy watching are diving and gymnastics. And it’s nothing to do with super-fit young men in Speedos, or muscle-bound hunks twisting and turning on the gymnastic rings. Or maybe it is. Those sports are just so physically demanding, so precise, they’re captivating. So I might tune in for those. But not if they clash with Casualty.

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