Sunday, 7 September 2008

On Getting Into The Olympic Spirit.....

Whilst spending a dissolute Sunday afternoon in the pub last weekend, with The Barbarian and The Cockney Rebel, (we originally had tickets for the cricket but it was called off for reasons that I will leave you to guess at...) conversation turned to the recent Olympics.

Or more specifically, Women’s Beach Volleyball.

Both these gents are fine upstanding sports enthusiasts whose views, rather like my own, become more insightful and enthusiastically put, in direct proportion to the amount of ale consumed. So when I contested that whilst not without some artistic merit, WBV is not a proper sport at all, but merely one that makes you feel that you are just watching it for all the wrong reasons, there was much controversy.

We then debated exactly what the wrong or right reasons might be for confusing sport with bikinis, before wondering where in the UK it was going to be held in 2012.

Now I happen to know that it will be staged in Weymouth, along with the sailing, windsurfing and general messing about in boats. (I learned this quite innocently I should point out, from watching ”Country File”, not through any in depth research.)

If this recent “summer” is anything to go by though, it might well be a bit nippy in Weymouth in August, (no pun intended) but that’s their lookout I suppose. At least a chilly drizzle will, at no extra expense, lend the quintessentially British flavour to the games that Seb, Boris and their chums at the IOC are reputedly seeking.

Which brings me to the point of this epistle….. How can we make The Games more British?

The assembled panel thought long and hard about this, and are able to proffer the following recommendations.

1. The track relay events should held on Southend Pier, with athletes having to get an ice cream cone to the end, and back, before it melts.

2. In order to curb the golden excesses of Michael Phelps, and create a more level playing field for other countries, the swimming events should be held in the sea, with all contestants having to change into their skin-tight swimsuits after the gun has gone; hiding their modesty behind a large stripey beach towel, before negotiating 30 yards of sharp shingle in order to reach the water. (Lane choice in this event will be a significant factor, as those nearer the pier may be affected by the submerged sewage outfall)

3. Beach Cycling would be a real test of skill and sinew, and would encourage other seaside states to take part, and thus make a contest of it, after the frankly rather embarrassing drubbing we handed them in the traditional format this time around.

4. Beach Sprinting was ultimately rejected as we were reliably informed, by one of the barmaids who once went there on holiday, that there is quite a lot of sand in Jamaica, and Usain Bolt is probably quite used to it, thus it would not add anything new to the event.

5. There absolutely must be a Donkey Derby!

6. In fact, we believe there are few Olympic sports which could not be improved by the addition of a few donkeys. Like the Three Day Eventing for example.

The Modern Pentathlon could easily be expanded to include Donkey-Back Jousting, with large sticks of specially manufactured Blackpool Olympic rock.

The subtle technical difficulty in the Synchronised Donkey Diving events, presumably lies not in persuading your mounts to leap off the high board, but in getting the beasts up there in the first place. Another chum (who in the best traditions of Blogspace anonymity we shall nickname The Bean Counter) has since pointed out however, that the Spanish would be favourites for this event, as they have been cheerfully tossing donkeys off of the top of bell towers for years.

5. There were several other helpful suggestions that the 2012 organising committee would doubtless have been keen to receive, but curiously, and for some inexplicable reason, I cannot now remember any of them. ……

I can’t help thinking that the oversight on my part, in not writing them down at the time, represents a great cultural loss to the nation.

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