The Olympic torch is travelling through Cheshire and Lancashire today. It will be back in the North West at the end of next month, passing through Salford and Manchester.
You can draw up a pretty lengthy charge sheet against the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee has long been associated with corruption and was led for many years by a Spanish fascist, Juan Antonio Samaranch. The 1936 Berlin Olympics - the first with a torch relay - became a propaganda event for the Nazis. The 1968 Games in Mexico City went ahead after the army had massacred hundreds of students protesting against them.
The build up to the London Olympics has already seen the "social cleansing" of working-class tenants, homeless people and sex workers from surrounding boroughs, restrictions on protesting near the stadium and the now standard corporate control of ticket allocation, merchandise and refreshments.
In itself, though, there is nothing wrong with the idea of an international event bringing together athletes and other sportsmen and women from across the world to compete. The participants themselves are not responsible for the actions of the IOC or host countries - indeed, many of them may oppose them and, in one inspiring example, used the medal podium to signal their opposition to racism and poverty.