Olympics minister Jeremy Hunt today confirmed that in the wake of last week’s spending review Olympic medals would be replaced with cheaper alternative prizes. ‘With rising gold prices we’ve made the decision to give Olympic champions more original prizes to celebrate their achievements,’ he told reporters ‘and we’re determined to make the Games more about taking part and having a fun day out.’
Taking their inspiration from low budget 1980s gameshows, winners can expect to be awarded teasmaids, personal stereos and fondue sets, with former hosts such as Jim Bowen and Roy Walker presenting them with their prizes instead of international dignitaries. Bruce Forsyth singing the theme to The Generation Game is to replace all national anthems.
Despite some criticism for 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 standing on a podium and potentially crying’. Medal ceremonies will now become known as the ‘prize round’ where athletes who would have traditionally received silver and bronze medals will be told ‘here’s what you could have won’ before being given a plastic Dusty Bin, and other finalists will be given their bus fare home. The winners will then be offered the chance to stick with their small domestic appliance or to gamble for a better prize, such as a British-made saloon car. The crowd will be able to join in to shout their advice as well, ‘It’ll be super, it’ll be smashing, it might even be great,’ promised Hunt.
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 there’ll be a conveyor belt round as well – I could do with a new cuddly toy.’
Britain’s greatest ever Olympian Sir Steve Redgrave is even thought to be considering coming out of retirement with former team-mate Matthew Pinsent for a crack at the new awards. However, talks between the pair are said to have stalled over who would get first dibs on trips in a jointly-owned prize caravan.