Games Chief Plays Down Booing Of Politicians

London 2012 chief Lord Coe says ministers should anticipate being treated as pantomime villains.

 
George Osborne suffered abuse from the crowd

Politicians should expect to be treated as “pantomime villains” and booed as they hand out medals at the Paralympics, Games chief Lord Coe has said.

It comes after Chancellor George Osborne and Home Secretary Theresa May were subjected to a chorus of jeers by spectators at the Olympic Stadium this week.

The pair were among a select few who have been on the receiving end of abuse in the 80,000-seater venue, which is normally packed with fans, who cheer on athletes of all abilities and nationalities.

But Lord Coe said it was common for political figures to become “the pantomime villain” and defended the decision to invite them to present medals.

 

Home Secretary Theresa May looks on during the Men's 1500m T20 medal ceremony at the London Paralympics
Theresa May was also jeered by spectators

 

He said: “There are 500 medal ceremonies, we require over 1,000 people, not just politicians, and from time to time, I know from my own personal experience, you do become the pantomime villain in politics.

“I don’t think that we should read too much into that and I think it’s really important that politicians have been seen supporting the two greatest sporting events in our lifetimes.

“Politicians are bold enough and brave enough to know that sometimes that is the landscape that they are in.”

Ms May was jeered on Tuesday when it was announced she was to present the medals for the men’s 1500m T20, won by Peyman Bazanjan of Iran.

The reception was not quite as hostile as that given to Mr Osborne, who was booed on Monday when the crowd was told he was to present the winners of the men’s T38 400m race with their medals.

But it was more than enough to make Ms May look uncomfortable.

 

Seb Coe
Lord Coe pictured with gold medal winner Jessica Ennis

 

By contrast, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, was cheered loudly when he presented winners’ medals, and there was wild applause for British javelin legend Tessa Sanderson as she was introduced.

At Prime Ministers Questions, Labour leader Ed Miliband said the crowd was reflecting the feelings of the whole country.

The Government has been under fire from disabled rights groups for awarding a contract to carry out “fit for work” assessments to Paralympic sponsor Atos.

Rallies have been staged by activists over tests which have been described as “damaging and distressing”.

The Prime Minister also received a less than enthusiastic reception from spectators at the Aquatics Centre on Sunday.

Former Labour prime minister and Chancellor Gordon Brown received a hearty cheer when he presented medals to the swimmers.

A Downing Street spokesman said the booing would not stop ministers going to the Games. “It is important (they) are seen to be in support of the Paralympics. Ministers have been going and will continue to do so.”

Comments
  • Andrew Healey September 8, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Coe should keep his sheltered opinions to himself he probably doesn’t even know what these NAZI bastards are doing to the sick and or disabled people of this country. He’s just another arsed licking Tory brown nose that has pocketed millions through this Olympics I always thought Steve Ovet was a better athlete. It seems you can be made a lord for any little bit of shit as long as you lick the right arse. They were booed not because they are pantomime villains but because they are, evil, corrupt, thieves, liars, cheats and responsible for the deaths of thousands of British citizens.

  • Laz September 8, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Wake up Seb,the people hate what is happening in our Country .The Con Dems are cruel, self serving and will cause mass civil unrest if they continue on their present path.

  • Alexander September 9, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    @Andrew Healey, well put. Seb Coe is a scumbag sell-out.

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