Staff acting on behalf of LOCOG, the organisers of the 2012 London Games, have been accused of “oppressive heavy-handedness” after forcing the closure of an identical copy of the Olympic Stadium built metres away from the original.
The stadium – named “Jim’s Other Olympic Stadium”, with an 80,000 capacity – was built and operated by James Brooks, a local Stratford businessman, but was forced to shut down after Olympic officials, acting to protect their powerful corporate backers, intervened.
“When London got the Olympics, we were told that it’d be a boost to local businesses. But when one of us as much as tries to use the word ‘Olympic’, these guys are on us like a ton of bricks. We’re all just trying to make an honest living”, said Brooks, 42, extinguishing his 40-foot replica Olympic flame.
“It should be obvious that this isn’t the real Olympic stadium. Our running track’s a different shade of brown, and our opening ceremony’s only got 30 Routemasters in it. And our hundred metres has a ‘Busain Holt’. But I suppose they just feel they have to squeeze out the little guy.”
“So maybe those are ‘technically’ the Olympic rings,” Brooks added, referring to the logo on each of the millions of tickets he paid to have printed. “And maybe that guy on the posters does look like Sebastian Coe. Or actually is Sebastian Coe, and I took it when he wasn’t looking. But who are these bureaucrats to crack down on entrepreneurial spirit?”
Brooks is also facing investigation after it emerged that he had installed ground-to-air missiles on flats without the permission of residents, which LOCOG claimed was a “clear case of mimicry”.