So London 2012 is almost upon us, and pretty much since the announcement seven years ago that the Games were coming to England, the British public and (especially) media have been bitching more or less nonstop. Among the litany of complaints: it’ll cost too much, we’ll cock it up, they should have used existing stadiums, they should have built more new stadiums, the events should have been spread around the country more, it’ll cost even more, the building work will never be finished on time, ok it might be finished on time but it’ll look a mess, the transport systems will never cope, it’ll piss down with rain the whole time, we really will cock it up you know, the terrorists will blow it up, the security is a farce, the opening ceremony will be rubbish, everything’s going to go wrong, and look at how great Beijing was, the British can’t do events like that, and did we mention it’s going to cost a bloody fortune?
Is this a uniquely British attitude, or did previous host cities suffer the same combination of apathy and defeatism prior to the games? I imagine in Beijing the media were fairly tightly controlled so such pessimism wouldn’t have been tolerated, but what about, say, Athens, Sydney, Atlanta, Barcelona? Did the public get behind the Games?