The Olympics Descend on a Grumbling London

Rain, recession, and another round of scandal in The City: Let the Games begin!
Cities of London's stature don't need the Olympics. Better to hold them in places that could do with a boost Photo illustration by Justin Metz

People are supposed to be excited when the circus comes to town. In the case of the 30th Summer Olympics, however, which begin in London on July 27, the event has been shadowed by a striking ambivalence. The British don’t much like to complain, in the sense of directing their grievances toward a person able to do something to rectify them, but they do love moaning and grumbling, in the sense of voicing objections and complaints to each other. Any Londoner can testify that there has been a great deal of moaning and grumbling about the 2012 Olympics. A BBC-sponsored pop music festival in late June suffered an embarrassing leak when somebody posted a picture of a backstage notice to performers: “We please ask that you do not reference the Olympic games in a negative or derogatory way.” It’s extraordinary, really, that such a request should be necessary in a host city with a month to go before the start of the Games.

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