Brian Sewell
Keep the Games out of London


The Olympic Games were founded, it was once widely believed, by Hercules. This admirable demi-god was an infant strangler of serpents and the adolescent murderer of a music master rash enough to censure a wrong note; a dab hand at wrestling, sword-play in heavy armour and racing chariots, as an adult he performed the 12 celebrated Labours, most of which - much like the derring-do of that other strong man, Samson - involved cruelty to animals, and then settled down as a middle-aged transvestite.

The first Games, simple footraces, the pentathlon and boxing, took place in 776 BC; the last in AD 393, when Theodosius the Great, Christian Emperor of Byzantium, suppressed this obstinate survival of pagan rite and custom.

At no point in all those centuries were women permitted to take part (a rule that many of us would like to see revived - at Wimbledon, too), or even be spectators.

Samson, middle aged tranny