Your browser (Internet Explorer 6) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.
X
Aside

Unit 1.13 – 2012 Olympics

Difficulty: Easy/Medium

Time: 6 minutes

 

The following are a series of letters to the editor of www.guardian.co.uk concerning various aspects of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

 

Letter 1

My four children would have been thrilled to see even one event in the Olympic village. Yet after bidding online for numerous tickets we did not get any. Having the Games in London is like having a party in your house, being asked to pay for it and then not being allowed to attend. I went to the Munich Olympics which had none of the restrictions on attendance with tickets available during the games. 2012 seems a jamboree for sponsors, providing unhealthy food with a large proportion of the tickets reserved for corporate use. I’m now booking a holiday abroad during the Olympics. We’ve all had enough of watching sport on TV. I just hope my children will get a chance to see the Olympics live when they take place in another country.

 

1.            “Having the Games in London is like having a party in your house, being asked to pay for it and then not being allowed to attend.” Why is this metaphor flawed?

  • A            The writer does not personally own the Olympic village
  • B            One would never have to pay for a house party
  • C            It will be possible to watch the Olympics on TV
  • D            It is based on loose evidence and broad assumptions

 

Letter 2

The Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing is an icon one that could only have been built by a totalitarian regime. We’ll never know its true cost or how many workers died building it. It used 10 times more steel than its London counterpart, whose roof is almost entirely recycled steel. Since the 2008 Games the Bird’s Nest has barely been used for sport and earns its keep mainly as a tourist attraction. The real disappointment about the London stadium is that, instead of sticking with the original plan of reducing it, post 2012, to a basic, 25,000-seater, community-based athletics stadium, a facility London badly needs to replace Crystal Palace and that would fully suit its parkland setting, the Olympic Park Legacy Company fell into the old trap of seeing it as a commercial opportunity. When Wembley was being built, Chris Smith, the then culture minister, tried to make it into an athletics venue. Now his successors seem to be trying to turn the Olympic stadium into a football venue, for which it was never designed. There was nothing wrong with the original, modest plans.

 

2.            The word ‘modest’ in the final line of Letter 2, is closest in meaning to:

  •             A            Cheap
  •             B            Reserved
  •             C            Un-ambitious
  •             D            Unpretending

 

Letter 3

I’m a little under-whelmed that the Olympic torch does most of its journey in a car. It goes through larger towns on foot, with people cheering the fit runners, but for the long boring bits it is being driven. So we are effectively cheering a car and a fire. The idea that this is some ultra-marathon slog is a con: watch the coverage to see how often the car crops up with David Beckham sitting in first class holding the torch. I suspect never.

 

3.            Letter 3 suggests that which of the following aspects of the Olympics has been compromised?

  •             A            Its entertainment value
  •             B            Its authenticity
  •             C            Its integrity
  •             D            Its powerful symbolism

 

 

4.            Which of the following views is not supported in any way by any of the above letters?

  •             A            The 2012 Olympics has been the subject of political decisions
  •             B            Hosting the Olympics is an unnecessary expense
  •             C            The Olympics is far removed from the glory of its earlier days
  •             D            The 2012 Olympics have been over-commercialised
  • Q1:A
    In this metaphor the Olympic village, where all the games are held, is being compared to the writer’s own house. The house is their personal property which their live in. The village is owned by the state and the cost of enjoying its facilities is therefore dictated by them. The other 3 options may or may not be true, but do not invalidate the metaphor which is hypothetical.

    Q2:D
    This letter gives several examples of stadiums which were re-purposed into something they were not designed to do. The writer suggests that the same thing is happening to the London 2012 Olympic village. The ‘modest’ plans are the ones which do not overestimate the abilities of the construction. Unpretending is the closest in meaning.

    Unambitious is close, but if that is what the writer meant by it then, conversely, we would have to assume he thinks the new plans are ambitious. We know he doesn’t think this, and actually thinks they are stupid. ‘Modest’, as it is used in this sentence has only positive connotations, which ‘unambitious’ does not have.

    Q3: C
    “The idea that this is some ultra-marathon slog is a con”
    Integrity and authenticity are quite close in meaning, however, integrity has more to do with honesty and morals. Authenticity mean genuine, or real – ‘the genuine article’, ‘an authentic $5 note’. The writer is not suggesting that this drive in the car is turning the Olympics into some sort of counterfeit Olympic-project, he is suggesting that it is dishonest. What is truly happening (the car) is not what people have been largely led to believe happens with the torch. He does’t mention symbolism, though if this got out it might be effected. The entertainment value is not effected, because nobody will ever see the car. The answer is therefore C.

    Q4:B
    Option D is ruled out by letter 1’s line: “2012 seems a jamboree for sponsors, providing unhealthy food with a large proportion of the tickets reserved for corporate use

    C: ” I went to the Munich Olympics which had none of the restrictions on attendance with tickets available during the games” along with letter 3.
    Letter 2 supports option A – “When Wembley was being built, Chris Smith, the then culture minister, tried to make it into an athletics venue. Now his successors seem to be trying to turn the Olympic stadium into a football venue, for which it was never designed.” “London badly needs to replace Crystal Palace” the writer adds. If this is true (which, from his point of view, it is) then that makes the revelation about the plans for the Olympic stadium seem less sensible and more political.
    This leaves B.

    Gamsat Sample Questions

    May 24, 2012

Leave a comment  

name*

email*

website

Submit comment