RIO’S SHINE SHADES OVER THE START OF THE FOOTBALL SEASON
The Rio Olympic Games have just finished and that two-week fiesta every four years has rightly had the lion’s share of our hearts and minds again, despite the opening of the European football calendar.
The Olympics is a useful aide-memoire that other sports are out there, rather like the Roman who was employed to whisper “Remember thou art mortal” in the ear of generals returning to the seven hills in triumph.
Rio also served, like London 2012 did, to show the public how elite sportsmen can be good role-models and do not have to cut such greedy, ill-educated figures as so many top footballers do.
The clean and honest endeavour of so many gold medallists always cast footballers’ modest achievements in a poor light again, and the abundance of aggression-free joy from Olympic spectators also served to shine a light on the darker sides of the Beautiful Game.
Only two months before, Europe’s top international sides had gathered in France for Euro 2016 and several city centres were left full of broken glass and blood stains. Rio has its social problems of course but they were not caused by visiting …