Taki Taki

High Life | 16 August 2008

That’s not fair play

That’s not fair play

On board S/Y Bushido

As far as I’m concerned, the less said about the goings on in Beijing the better. I know, I know, I’ll be watching the judo and the athletics, especially the former (there are no drug cheats in judo, no money under the table, no money, pure and simple), but competition among chemists does not race my motor, as they say in Detroit. The opening ceremony may have dazzled some people, but it left me cold. There was no humanity to it, just a lot of Chinese animated figures acting as robots. Who invented opening ceremonies anyway? Back in the good old days Greece marched in first, in step, followed by the rest. Then some politician declared the Games open and that was it. No fuss, no tiny children marching next to some giant freak, no bull about peace and goodwill to men.

One of the most unpleasant sights was that of small African teams marching in without athletes, but only fat officials, gaily waving tiny flags and greeting the crowd. Officials have no place in opening ceremonies. They should sit in their hotels with their hookers and let the athletes do the walking. But most of these tiny African and Pacific rim countries show up in order to show up — none of their athletes having met the qualifications — so the fat ones have their moment of glory, but it’s still a disgrace.

I have often written about my favourite Games, Rome 1960, but now an American by the name of David Maraniss — a big Clinton fan, incidentally — has produced an opus about those Olympics of 48 years ago, and the book has caught on in the Home of the Depraved.

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