SPORT has grown up considerably over the last 10 years and it’s also probably grown in directions it never meant to.
For example, while top footballers from the last few decades have been increasingly well-paid, in 2018 they receive the kind of eye-watering sums that only Hollywood A-listers and highly successful Colombian drug-dealers might normally claim.
Their careers post-playing are also different. The path from the Premiership used to be to owning a pub or moving to a posh villa in Spain.
Now, some become broadcasters and presenters, appear on game shows, eat pig’s eyeballs in the jungle or go into other challenging reality TV shows or into the Celebrity Big Brother house. Conversely, others may go into property development and various lucrative businesses to flex their entrepreneurial muscles.
TV and technology generally have made sport much more accessible. Watching the big match now makes you feel like you’re playing in it, so sharp is the tech. And if you want to catch up on the Ashes or the French Open while you’re at work – on your break, of course – a quick glance at your iphone gets you right up to date.
You can bet on anything, immediately and even while a match or event is in progress. And know the result as soon as the full-time whistle blows even if you’re not there.
In modern sports, though, there is always the spectre of performance-enhancing drugs and the danger of medals suddenly withdrawn. And betting and bung scams rear their ugly heads in the media on a regular basis.
It’s hard to know what those original Olympians would have made of sport today but they might have been shocked by its colourful path. Or maybe they weren’t averse to a bet or two and took the odd boosting herb.