Cost of sport is high

WHATEVER the Olympic Games may do for local athletics (Observer, March 15, p25), they cannot conceivably bring the local economy anything even near their cost to us in public subsidies.

Even in proportion to population, West Sussex taxpayers’ share of the total £10bn-or-so must be around £125m.

In fact, since we’re well-off, it will be more.

Most of the spending will benefit London (and the Olympiocrats, of course).

Most of the tourists will stay up there. No way will the ‘millions’ Mr Barston talks of from extra tourism and supply contracts for our area begin to approach that cost – and even they will be turnover, not in-the-pocket profit.

For 30 years, these ‘Games’ have in fact been a grotesquely over-subsidised top-level athletics trade-fair, dominated by money and run by ‘suits’.

By now, medals in some sports depend as much on new technology, special fabrics, fancy diets, high-altitude training rooms, etc, as on skill and effort. And let’s not dream that drugs, or corruption, have gone away.

Yes, indeed, let’s encourage local athletes. Just think what £125m spent locally on that purpose could have done.

Stephen Hugh-Jones

Hill Road, East Harting