I remember the night I fell in love with the Olympics. I was 11 years old. My best friend and I begged her parents to let us stay up to watch the opening ceremony.

The time zone worked against us. It was starting at 4am local time. They said yes.

I remember the fireworks, the troops and how far away Atlanta, Georgia seemed. For the first time in my life, I felt part of a big world.

Sixteen years later I watched the Games' opening ceremony in the city where they were held. I couldn't believe I was in London to report on the Olympics.


I stood in front of the five big circles erected on a grassy patch and just stared. I went to a soccer game. I held a medal.

There is something special about what these athletes do. We like watching people run faster than we can. We like to marvel at Usain Bolt covering 100m on his legs faster than we can on a bike.

We like to wonder at how hard these athletes must have worked to be able to run a race in the time it took us to cross the lounge and turn the telly on.

But 20 years after I fell in love, the magic has worn off.

It's like someone has told me the truth about Santa.

I just don't believe in the Olympics any more. If Bolt gets beaten in the 100m at Rio, I just won't care. How do I know the winner didn't use drugs to do it?

Nothing will seem amazing any more.

No sprint, no throw, no jump will make me wonder at the ability of a man.

No woman with broad shoulders, a moustache and a deep voice will convince me she's drug-free. No team will beat our rowers without making me suspicious.

Sure, the Russians took their cheating to an epic level and I can't wait to see who they cast as Vladimir Putin in the movie about spies pushing wee samples through holes in lab walls in the dead of night.

But it's not just the Russians who ruined the Games for me.

It's the 98 athletes who peed into bottles for the London and Beijing Games but have since tested positive for doping. It's the Chinese gymnasts who looked like little girls and turned out be little girls when their birth dates were uncovered.

It's the squads of speedy swimmers from East Germany, the questions over runners from Kenya, Lance Armstrong and New Zealand's own Liza Hunter-Galvan.

It's the elitism that has crept into a event that was originally meant for amateur gentleman. It's the picking and choosing of sports that, often, only the wealthy can participate in.

It's the broadcaster charging me huge amounts of money for a TV deal so I can watch the athletes my taxpayer dollars have supported as they train.

No, thank you, Sky, I'd rather not watch.

So it's over. I'm breaking up with the Olympics. It'll be a difficult 2 weeks while most of you indulge in non-stop coverage and conversation, but I won't be tempted.

I'm holding out for the World Doping Games.

Imagine what a spectacle that would be. We'd watch athletes run so fast they'd finish the race just after the sound of the starting gun clears.

We'd build new stadiums big enough to accommodate the long jumps that go on for so long you can boil a jug while the athlete keeps on sailing through the air above the sandpit.

We'd need to borrow the host city's shipping fleet to act as the weights in the weight-lifting division.

If you're going to allow dopers to play, you might as well make it a proper spectacle for us.