THE OLYMPICS SEEN THROUGH SOME NATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS
August 6, 2012 6 Comments
The Olympic Games are a spectacular gathering every four years of some of the world’s greatest athletes, and some of the world’s most overweight officials, for a period of two weeks to compete for Olympic sporting glory within an environment of peace and mutual respect, when national differences are forgotten and laid aside in a spirit of competitive equality.
It is however hard for most of the Olympic competitors to overcome some of the ingrained characteristics that are specific to their national identity.
Here are just a few:
Americans must love showing the world their shaved, deodorised armpits, as the most ubiquitous and repeated action one sees in the US Olympic team is the “high five”. This is not just for moments of triumph such as when a medal has been won, but also when a medal has not been won, and also seems to have replaced the handshake and/or kiss on the cheek as a way of saying hello, good-bye or even “well done on a good bowel movement this morning”.
Kiwis seem to perform best at the Olympics when they are sitting on their bums, and in most cases when they are actually going backwards, being equestrian, sailing and rowing events. This will only really change if the Olympic committee can be convinced to introduce real sports such as rugby. I feel that this should be pursued as a strategy to replace pre-choreographed sports such as soccer which is mainly filled with national “diving” teams.
Aussies love the Olympics as it gives them a chance to come up with catchy names for their teams, even when they have little to do with the reality of their skills or abilities, such as “the famous five” for a basketball team that no-one has heard of, and the self-styled “weapons of mass destruction” for their men’s 4×100 metre relay swim team who did not finish in the medal count and who were immediately renamed “the foot-in-the-mouth weapons of self-destruction” by those who believe in truth in advertising.
The land of the Kims proved yet again that it is hard to develop a national sense of humour when your staple diet is grass soup and Kim Chee (pickled garlic-enhanced vegetables, not the name of one of their leaders). They just could not see the hilarious side of the Scots not being able to differentiate between the flags of North and South Korea, and so their women’s soccer team walked off the playing field in protest and instead spent the time wandering the streets of Glasgow looking for stray dogs.
The English continued with their overall national strategy of “blame the Germans” for anything that goes wrong (such as the creation of the euro, the protection of the euro and the possible destruction of the euro), by blaming the Germans for the poor performance of the English road cycling team because the Germans got in the way of the perfect fool-proof English strategy, which had been specifically designed to keep the gold medal for Bradley Wiggins the 2012 winner of the Tour de France.
The Canadians may not win many Olympic medals but continue to outdrink the other country teams with their beer intake. The poverty stricken areas around the Olympic village will be revitalised at the end of the games with money collected from the proceeds of cashing in the empty beer cans left over after the departure of the Canadian team.
The English may have home team advantage, but the Chinese have even greater advantages in that nearly every piece of equipment used at the Olympics was manufactured in China. This gives the Chinese team the benefit of knowing exactly when things will disintegrate into dust, or break at any stress point, in the same way that everything does today within just a few days of use, which we buy as global consumers. The Chinese manufacturers now claim that this is an integral part of their biodegradable drive for all manufactured goods.
The Indian team has been complaining about the interloper (an unidentified woman in blue trousers and red top) who marched in the opening ceremony and who they now claim was not actually a member of the Indian team. However it has since come to light that she was actually there to typify life in India as she is an unmarried post-graduate student from Bangalore, the Indian IT capitol, and she was just trying to find a suitable husband amongst all these well-honed athletes.
The French are really miffed (translated in French to “tresmiffee”) about the fact that the American team wore berets in the opening ceremony, and they have therefore registered a serious category 1 complaint with the IOC. The French feel that the Americans should have asked for their approval before adopting this very French item of apparel, particularly based on the fact that Ralph Lauren is not a French registered designer and therefore does not have the right to incorporate “le beret” in his outfits as would say Christian Dior. Furthermore, the fact that these were manufactured in China,rather than by the French firm “Berets-du-jour”, turns this into a serious international diplomatic incident. The French team have now been issued with Stetsons to wear at the closing ceremony in direct contravention of the United Nations hat proliferation treaties.
Bill Bryson, American author, summed up one key element of the Olympics with his explanation of the sport of fencing thus:
“A lot of people don’t like fencing because they don’t understand the rules and terminology, but it’s quite simple. Basically, there are four thrusts – the cartilage, the chaise longue, the aubergine and the fromageanglaise – and these in turn can be parried by four defensive feints – the pastiche, the penchant, the demitasse, and the salmon en croute. Scoring is on the basis of one point for a petite pois and two for a baguette. Points equally can be deducted for a foot fault, or pied a terre, and for a type of illegal lunge known as a zutalors. Actually, I don’t have the faintest notion what goes on in fencing, but that’s OK because this is the Olympics.”