By Mimitig - queen of the OBO
There are many sports fans who feel no warmth at all to the concept of art. They will happily argue that sport is macho: it is the epitome of the struggle of men against men. They will admit to a fine or beautiful run down the wing side resulting in, say a superb cross leading to a goal in football, or in rugby, a neat blind-side switch leading to a try, but it's not art.
But they should stop and think. There has already been a ballet choreographed about Archie Gemmell. For all I know, there may well be one about Phil Bennett and his devastating performance during the famous match in 1973 as the Barbarians beat NZ. On that day at the Arms Park there was a dance as magical as anything the Kirov Ballet could produce in their wonderful Swan Lake.
Why should there be an argument? Sportsmen and women aspire to perfection in their art and physical fitness. This is exactly the same with the artistes of the ballet. Why should we seek to find differences between these disciplines? Why not recognise that there are more similarities than disparities? When Asian cricketing hero Shahid Afridi suffered a loss of perspective and performed a pirouette on the popping crease, should we not have celebrated his artistry, and imagined him in tights, dancing on the Parisian stage?
There used to be an Olympic sport dedicated to the togetherness of sport and art: it was called synchronised swimming and drew much derision from all courts. I think we can do better. If we all come together and recognise how close these two disciplines are, there will be joy unbounded.
What fun there would be. Gilbert and George become Premiership referees and gloriously redraw the meaning of the red and yellow cards. Tracy Emin is put in charge of 30 young men with unfeasibly large thighs who like to finger each other in the scrum. Darcy Bussell controls the strip at Lords. When Damien Hirst is on stand-by with a tank of formaldehyde, and Anthony Hopkins waits with a bottle of room-temperature Chianti, who then would take the risk of a dive and a 5 minute agony-roll on the ground?
Sport must then give back to the arts: there are many sportspeople who could betaken for "Living Art". Coat some snooker stars in silver paint and put them on display to the public as living statues. Isenbayeva caught at the moment she vaults the high bar and Wilkinson trapped with his hands in prayer before kicking, both locked forever in Perspex boxes. True art.There is a wonderful arena in the heart of central London that could be the perfect venue for art and sport to come together. Southwark, stand up and claim your inheritance. The next installation for Tate Modern: gymnastics, Aussie Rules, basketball - the imagination can run riot.