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There are two Olympics. Not summer and winter. These are the two that exist in your head.

One is a corrupt pile, a shower, a farce of epic proportions. A world of grand bribery, pointless expenditure by countries racked with poverty, of doping cover-ups. The other is a beautiful world of sporting purity, of heroic acts, of minority athletes given their moment in the world spotlight.

These worlds don’t cross over much. They rarely coexist, in fact, as the outrage gives way to optimism at the first sight of opening ceremony fireworks.

But this Games is different. Rio has got dirty in the pool, and I’m not talking about the mysterious green water. Golf is a joke. Let’s just hope that Gatlin doesn’t win the 100m.

Meanwhile, here’s your August reading:


Phelps. Phew. Here are two things to read: the five phases of Phelps, and whether he’s the best ever Olympian.

How Katie Ledecky is the present and the future of swimming.

How to decode the Olympic opening ceremonies.

Should Caster Semenya be allowed to compete against women?


Seriously? The secret efforts to undermine the Russian doping probe.

Fifa is awful, but the Olympics takes the gold medal for sleaze.

The case for drugs in sport – a brilliant article.

Has the Olympics lost its soul?


Is Paul Pogba Man Utd’s most expensive mistake?

Jim Furyk shoots a 58. 58!

You may have missed Sri Lanka’s cricket victory over Australia, but it was impressive and important.

That’s it – see you in September, probably.