Grunts for the Arts

Open Letter to Jacques Rogge
June 30, 2008, 8:15 pm
Filed under: The Olympics!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Dear Count Rogge,

We, members of the artists’ collective known as Grunts for the Arts, are contacting you now, at your time of need, to offer our services to you and your colleagues at the International Olympics Committee.

We appreciate that these are dark times for you, that this is an era of hardship for the IOC. The Olympic Dream is lying in tatters, and the Olympics have become a source of much controversy.

We at GFA have taken it upon ourselves to reinvent the Olympic Dream; we feel it is need of a re-brand. Should you be interested in our work, we would be very happy to take on such a role in a more official capacity.

For now however, our guidance can be summed up through two key points.

1.    If a country, as a part of its bid to hold the Olympics states that hosting the event will ‘benefit the further development of our human rights cause’¹  then make sure that it does. Continued use of detention without trial, an intensification of abuse against human rights activists and a crackdown on domestic journalism²  does not, in the rest of the world’s eyes, constitute such development.
2.    Similarly, when a country makes a bid to host the Olympics, encourage them to propose a realistic budget. As a case study, the fact that the 2012 Olympics were originally projected to cost £2.4 billion but now, when we’re still four years away from completion, has projected costs of £9.6 billion, causes a great deal of ill will amongst the populous of such countries. We appreciate that the IOC is not responsible for a country’s finance, but to undertake more rigorous analysis when bids are made, as well as to perhaps comment on the farcical situation arising as ‘money is spent like water’³  could only assist in developing a positive public image.

As stated though, such advice can be explored in depth at a later date should you wish to enter into more prolonged dialogue.

Of more urgent interest to you perhaps is our forthcoming event, London 2008, which we promise to you, and to all others who witness this letter (for we are sending a copy to all the major newspapers in England), will remain well within our budget of £100.

Grunts for the Arts also has an admirable human rights record – we have never executed any one nor imprisoned any one without charge. I’m proud to say I even offered my seat to a lady on the London Underground the other day (though she didn’t take it).

With events such as Three-Legged Hopscotch, Handbag Hurling, Footboule, Olympic Ring Discus and Grunting Relays, we are confident that we will be able to provide an afternoon of sporting endeavour and Herculean achievement.

It is of course, rather short notice, but should you, or a member of your staff, be able to make it to Butterfield Green in North London on the afternoon of Saturday 5th July, it would be a pleasure to meet with you and begin discussions as to how we can best work together in the future.

We await your response with a great deal of anticipation, and look forward to meeting you at London 2008.

Yours Sincerely,

Tim Jeeves
On behalf of Grunts for the Arts

¹  Liu Jingmin, Vice President of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Bid Committee, April 2001
²  Amnesty International report: ‘The Olympics countdown — one year left to fulfil human rights promises’
³  Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee report, ‘London 2012 games, the next lap”


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