Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Torch-Relay Hurdles (and other novel Olympic Disciplines)

On the 24th of March, the Olympian beauties of the Peloponnese assembled again to dance their ancient ceremonial dances under an ominously wan early-Spring Sun. And then, as tradition has it, or should have it, or as we'd like to think anyway, the most beautiful virgin amongst them lowered the torch in the hollow of the parabolic mirror, whereupon it received the blessed fire of the (almost impotent on that day) life-giver. And then the fun began.

Hail Torch-Relay Hurdles as the newest Olympic discipline!


What the International Olympic Committee were thinking when they assigned the 2008 Games to Beijing is hard to say. Certainly their bribes must have included more than yet-to-be-built luxury apartments in polluted sweat-shop cities swarming with desperate peasants. Well, as the official story goes, the Summer 2008 Olympic Games are a great opportunity for China to show her new, modern, human, welcoming, etc., facade to the world. A legitimate political reason actually.

Too bad then that, according to the Organizers, the Olympic Games are about sports, not politics.

They are also about money, and it will be fun to watch the Olympic sponsors trying to save face, in the mess our loyal readers were warned about months ago. It could also be a matter of time before the first bunch of obscure athletes realize that boycotting China can give them more and better publicity than hopelessly going for it.


In any case, a smooth torch relay nowadays requires shielding measures more radical than a US presidential procession through a Middle Eastern capital.

What a shame this is, seriously. What a dishonor for the Olympic flame to suffer, what a disgrace! From the idyllic olive groves of Ancient Olympia to the battlefields of our globalized world, snatched, shoved, desecrated! We have to save the Olympic Spirit. And to that end, we have a cunning idea that we wish to share first with you, our loyal readers.

It is very simple, really, and has many advantages: let the Olympic Games return to Athens forever. The facilities are already in place, since the very successful 2004 Games. They are sitting there rusting, actually. Greek politics rarely cause any global stir. Who would ever boycott the Games in Athens? A Balkan neighbor with a beef? Who cares! And everybody loves to visit Greece! The whole world is welcome there! To party, relax, bake in the sun, pretend they can say kalimera like a native. The ever grumpy and overworked Athenians would get the chance to exercise that lovely smile of theirs every four years! They did it once, they proved themselves. Of course, as soon as the Games ended, they were pushing each other's buttons again. Well, it doesn't have to be this way!


Athens, Beijing, whatever: rather than Torch-Relay Hurdles, a far more fitting Olympic Discipline would be: the Cross-City Triathlon. Cross the city from south to north, or east to west, whatever is longer, as quick as possible, using all three kinds of public transportation (bus; streetcar; subway; but no taxi or rickshaw; are we forgetting something?).

Another brilliant idea tossed out into the blogosphere.


Jillian said...

I just read that in France they had to get the torch through the city by having the carrier ride a bus! Hahaha. What ARE they thinking?

I know the Olympics aren't supposed to be about politics... but it is.

Roufa Tav Gosou & Mimi Lass said...

Well, let's assume Olympics is about celebrating sports and human activity and togetherness. But when humans suffer, get oppressed, killed, the concept kind of collapses. Politics is a very human activity of coexistence too.

Roufa Tav Gosou & Mimi Lass said...

And yes, in Paris, Torch-Relay Hurdles and Cross-City Triathlon were combined for the first time!

fwidman said...

I go along with both of those ideas, but most especially the idea of leaving the Games in Athens forever :)
The triathalon would fail here, we have a lousy bus system LOL

Bimmy the Bookish said...

Hope you are keeping a (blog of all these ideas, you two! you could make your fortune yet.
Lets start a petition to keep the Olympic games in Athens - that will save us the trauma of having the games in the UK in 2012. Have you SEEN our logo???!!
There cant be many places in the world where the games could be held without SOMEONE getting upset, but Greece two have the best ideas, I read your bblogg with perpetual admiration :)

Λωτοφάγος said...

Excellent idea! Very good post!

Roufa Tav Gosou & Mimi Lass said...

Franklin, that's the point exactly: to have to deal with lousy systems of transportation. It has to be a tough sport! Or the other way around: a record time (per distance) would honor the city's transportation system, and the city, so they would be motivated to improve it before the games! This idea is a winner!

Bimmy, the 2012 logo is ... ehm... electrifying? The animated version we avoided to look at, we don't want to get epileptic.

Thanks for visiting, Lotus Eater. Forget us not.

Bimmy the Bookish said...

We have now found out that it is possible to run around London more quickly than you can get there by public transport - so we might see some poor results if the events rely on taking the bus!
How outrageous is that?
A long thin girl can run quicker than several old fogies can navigate the tube system!