Olympics minister Jeremy Hunt today confirmed that in the wake of yesterday’s spending review Olympic medals would be replaced with cheaper alternative prizes.
‘Money’s already tight’ he told reporters, ‘and with rising gold prices we’ve made the decision to give Olympic champions more original prizes to celebrate their achievements.’ Taking their inspiration from low budget 1970s gameshows, winners can expect to be awarded teasmades, personal stereos and fondue sets, with former hosts such as Jim Bowen and Roy Walker presenting them with their prizes instead of international dignitaries and a cheesy jingle replacing national anthems.
Despite some criticism of being cheap and of glorifying crap 70s TV Mr Hunt defended the decision, arguing ‘this is actually an opportunity to reinvent the tired old format of world-class athletes being awarded with the symbol of success they’ve been striving for for the last four years. Medal ceremonies will become known as the ‘prize round’ with winners offered the chance to stick with their outdated small domestic appliance or to gamble for a better prize, such as a speedboat or a caravan. The crowd will be able to join in to shout their advice as well – It’ll be great, you’ll see.’
Athletes who would have received silver and bronze medals will still take in the prize round, although only to be told ‘here’s what you could have won’ before being given a plastic Dusty Bin. Other finalists will be given their bus fare home.
The announcement has been warmly welcomed by athletes keen to get their hands on the new prizes. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, much fancied to win a clutch of events said excitedly ‘I can’t wait to get my hands on a whole fleet of speedboats. I’ve never been able to find a use for all those gold medals anyway. I hope they’ll be a conveyor belt round as well – I could do with a new cuddly toy.’
Britain’s greatest ever Olympian Sir Steve Redgrave had mixed views on the news however, firstly complaining that it wasn’t fair that he never won anything as practical as a canteen of cutlery any of the five times he won, but adding that he was going to try to tempt his former team-mate Matthew Pinsent out of retirement to compete for a prize and in the hope of meeting Jim Davidson. ‘As long as I get first dibs on the caravan’ he added.