Let the politics, sex and women’s beach volleyball begin!
Olympism is such a lovely word. Politics is a slightly grubby one. Unfortunately they go hand in hand.
The founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, believed the key to preventing countries from killing each other in wars was to have them beat each other up in sporting contests.
I would have chosen a never-ending women’s beach volleyball tournament. Men, who start most wars, would be too busy watching the action to bother invading anyone.
The Baron’s idea was a noble one but unfortunately it hasn’t been able to prevent two World Wars and numerous regional conflicts.
And to make matters worse, the Olympic Games have been used for sinister purposes: by warmonger Adolf Hitler as a propaganda showpiece at Berlin in 1936, and by Palestinian terrorists in 1972 when they exploited Munich’s well-meaning poor security to take eleven Israeli athletes and coaches hostage, eventually killing them.
News that terrorists – who long ago gave up old-fashioned hostage-taking in favour of indiscriminate suicide bombing – may be planning a “celebration” of the 40th anniversary of the Munich Massacre has cast a darkish shadow over these Games in London; a city still affected by the 2005 bombings.
As part of ” the largest security operation in peacetime Britain” athletes and tourists alike will be surrounded by security “rings of steel”.
However, there have been positive political statements made at the Games too, such as the Black Power salute performed by the African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos on the dais at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.
For most countries, the Olympics have also been a force for gender equality. There was some tension in the Australian camp over the sex of our prospective flag bearer. The eventual selection of Lauren Jackson was a popular one. She deserved it, and it was time for a woman to be given the honour.
And from a practical point of view, who is better qualified to be the nation’s flagpole than a beanpole like Jackson?
And of course there is the convoluted, often juvenile, conflicts between athletes and officials.
There is also the problem of deciding what the Olympics celebrate exactly. If “the important thing is not the triumph but the struggle”, as de Coubertin claimed, then why the obsession with medals?
According to the Olympic Charter, athletes represent their countries yet compete as individuals. The question of whether Olympic athletes are proud ambassadors or self-glorifying prats looking for a deal with Uncle Toby’s or Goulburn Valley at the end of it, is a sensitive one.
Advertisers can choose to present their clients as carefree patriots, or ruthless individualists. Fox Sports has gone for the latter, getting some of our most prominent athletes to say such things as: “I’m not here to make up the numbers, or make friends. I’m here to win gold.”
Still, I’m sure the athletes will be able to put these questions out of their mind and concentrate on the upcoming events – and the sex.
Going by the number of prophylactics being shipped in, there will be 150,000 acts of intercourse performed by athletes throughout the Games, at least – in the village rooms, on the grass quadrangle, and on the floor of the 18,000 square metre canteen.
When Hockeyroo Casey Eastham was asked if she had her eye on anyone, she replied: “No one specific“.
The most popular male athletes with the women, apparently, are the swimmers and water polo players. The archers and table tennis players better hit the village gym then if they want to see any action.
For me, the Olympics are about peace and building a better world. So let the Games and the women’s beach volleyball begin!
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- London Olympics