With tickets now on sale for the London 2012 Olympics, organisers have revealed that one purchase in 1000 will be a 'golden ticket' allowing the ticket holder to compete in one of the main events.
The 'golden ticket' incentive was only revealed this week for two separate reasons. Firstly, it is hoped to boost ticket sales after fears that the early surge in purchases may slump once people realised that it was going to be all about sport with relatively little, if any, nudity. And secondly everyone had forgotten about it until now.
It was only when a doodle created by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and keen mumbler, was rediscovered underneath alternative 2012 logos in the bottom draw of an old desk that the initiative was remembered. The doodle itself depicts Boris Johnson beating Usain Bolt in the 'running' event whilst a female spectator (possibly the Queen) throws her bra onto the track, with the title 'The best (and sexiest) runner' scrawled above it.
Many Olympic athletes have spoken out against this initiative; they suggest that it will cheapen the games and devalue a respected sporting heritage. There are also fears that participants may intentionally try to ruin it for the professional athletes by getting in the way in races or crashing their boat into other competitors. They argue that the amateurs may do this either as a way of fixing the event for monetary gain, or just because they're a bit of a prick.
Sebastian Coe, chairman of LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) and former athlete, was especially critical. "It will ruin the feel of the Olympics. When you tune into the dressage you want to see horses trotting around in nicely choreographed patterns. What you don't want to see is an overweight, Essex teenager sat on a horse screaming 'Dance you four legged twat!'. However, you can't argue with facts, and ticket sales are definitely up."
Cyclist Chris Hoy had a different opinion. "It'll add a bit of excitement into the games. People will find themselves watching and thinking 'Who'll win the cycling? Chris Hoy, the most successful male Olympic cyclist of all time, or asthmatic chain-smoker and father of five, Ian?' At least, they'll think that for a moment, before Ian gets absolutely battered by me. Which I'll definitely do. I'll absolutely batter him".
Bookmakers Ladbrokes and William Hill have already begun to offer special odds on potential pundit competitors, allowing us to place bets on whether they'll actually finish the event they're placed in. The odds will be particularly steep for marathon, pole vault, and anything involving a boat.
Celebrity endorsements have helped to boost the scheme from the likes of David Dimbleby, James Corden and Katie Price, who have expressed an interest in competing in the gymnastics, high jump, and discuss, respectively.