There are many reasons the Soviet comparison is wrong, but an interesting piece: This Olympics hysteria shows that Britain has turned Soviet
Throughout the cold war, Soviet bloc nations used sport as a proxy for economic success. With the connivance of the International Olympic Committee, they turned what used to be an amateur sport into the equivalent of a national defence force, hurling money and status at their athletes
There might be something to that view, but if the Olympics really are a modern equivalent of bread and circuses is that actually a bad thing? There are many worse ways to build a sense of national pride.