Looks as if Moscow will fail to lift the spirits and relieve this post-Olympic hangover
A year on from those perfect nights in London and the sport is off track
Night after night London put on a show, including the exploits of Mo Farah, that seemed so out of this world that it was always going to be impossible to relive any of it. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
One of the strange things about living in the mountains is that the landscape is constantly changing, and part of the view out my front door right now, by the sandy shore of Lough Tay, is a bustling little Viking village, with dozens of large heavily-bearded men, some sitting around smoky fires, others loading spears and shields onto the three enormous wooden ships berthed along jetty.
It all makes perfect sense, and not just to anyone in the film business. Because one year on from the London Olympics, everything about those sweet 16 days of glory feels not only like another time or another place but another world. In fact that Viking village feels more real right now compared to what unfolded inside the Olympic Stadium.
Night after night London put on a show that seemed so out of this world that it was always going to be impossible to relive any of it – not that they haven’t tried. London’s Diamond League meeting – rebranded as a two-day Anniversary Games - rewound the clock and drew a sell-out crowd back to the Olympic Stadium last night, and again this afternoon. Yet no matter how the BBC or anyone else tried to jazz it up the sport is probably enduring its worst post-Olympic hangover since 1936.
If anyone walking out of the Olympic Stadium last year, said the 2013 World Championships in Moscow would struggle to sell tickets, they’d have been sneered at. If anyone listed some of the reasons why (Oscar Pistorius awaiting a murder trail, David Rusisha and Yohan Blake injured, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell facing doping bans, a trail of drug offences in Russia and Turkey already, etc) they’d have been simply laughed at.
That’s the big part of the problem: this time last year Usain Bolt could hardly have imagined that the next time he was back in London, to run last night’s 100 metres, every single question he faced at the meeting press conference would be about doping, and why he should be still believed, while so many of his present or former rivals continue to show up positive tests. “I was made to inspire people and made to run,” said Bolt. “I was given a gift and that’s what I do. I know I’m clean . . . I’ve broken every record there is in every event I’ve ever done. I’ve proven myself since I was 15. I was always going to be great.”
It’s still not an entirely convincing defence, especially to those who do somehow doubt Bolt’s credibility or that of Jamaican sprinter in general: but it is about the best defence there is in the current sporting climate.