Category Archives: 2012 Olympics

Mohamed we adore you

Olympic Rant #18 On the fourteenth day God resumed work

THE squabbles and rancour of this year’s Ilympics were run into the ground on Day 14 as Great Britain, Jamaica and the United States turned in memorable performances.
Britain’s Mohamed Farah was stunning as he held off Ethiopia and Kenya to take gold in the 5000m.

Mohamed Farah

I usually cheer for the African nations in middle distance events as I love their team strategy in running. But my hat and running shoes go off to Mohamed Farahwho won his second gold medal of London 2012 with a thrilling victory in the 5000 metres on the final night of athletics.
Farah was denied any hope of assistance from GB team mate Nick McCormick who failed to make the final.
Here were the other things stacked against Farrah:
# He admitted to tiredness after his win the 10,000m seven days earlier
# He ran 3rd in his heat.
# He was ranked 11th in the world and was competing against seven of those rated above him.
Farah took the front with 700m to go but had little peace. American Galen Rupp sprinted quickly but could not cross the Brit.
Sensing the American might have weakened the leade,r the Africans queued up to have a crack at Farah. He repelled each one and kicked on the home turn.
The fastest runner over the distance this year was Dejen Gebremeskel and he made his move, looking to have Farah’s measure half-way down the straight.
The Brit kicked again and safely held the Ethiopian for a magnificent courageous victory.
             Farah said each of his twin girls due to be born shortly would have a Gold Medal from the London Games. They will be the heroes of show and tell in a few years, especially if Dad is part of the presentation.
USAIN Bolt took his third Gold when Jamaica raced to a world record in the 4x100m relay.
Bolt was a little less certain that Rio 2016 might be beyond him than he was after his 200m win.
I’ve thought about it but I think it’s going to be very hard because Yohan (Blake), he’s just come into the game and he’s running pretty well, and I’m sure there’s going to be a lot more cats coming up to run.
I’ll take it a step at a time.
THE U.S. captured the women’s 4x400m relay and Allyson Felix achieved her third gold medal.
Felix ran the second leg after a brilliant start by DeeDee Trotter gave her a big lead at the first change. American 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross ran the anchor leg and the U.S. won in 3:16.87 – the fastest time run in 19 years.
 Russia was three seconds behind Jamaica took the bronze.
Russia had its revenge when Anna Chicherova won the women’s high jump ahead of American Brigetta Barrett. Another Russian Svetlana Shkolina was third.

           The Chinese are yet to get the knack of track and field and the Americans comfortably were ahead in the medal count in gold and total.

Leaders after Day 14
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Total
1
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44
29
29
102
2
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38
27
22
87
3
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
28
15
19
62
4
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
21
25
32
78
5
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
13
7
7
27
6
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
11
19
14
44
7
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
10
11
12
33
8
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
8
7
8
23
9
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
8
4
5
17
10
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
7
16
12
35
11
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
6
14
17
37
12
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
6
6
8
20
13
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
6
4
10
14
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
5
4
9
18
15
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
5
3
5
13
16
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
4
5
3
12
17
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
4
4
4
12
18
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
4
3
5
12
19
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
4
2
6
AT Beijing 2008, the count was
Rank
Country
1
36
38
36
110
2
51
21
28
100
3
23
21
28
72
4
19
13
15
47
China’s fall in medals and CB’s rise tell us that in any sporting contest, home field advantage is real.
So let’s hear the Unofficial Official GB London Games Anthem. Take it away one more time.
Bernie Dowling, August 12, 2012

Pirates steal sport

Olympic Rant #17 IOC what you are up to

Pirates of the High-O Sea

REDCLIFFE Musical Theatre rendered the Gilbert & Sullivan musical The Pirates of Penzance as if it were carried on an invigorating ocean breeze.
The large cast of many ages was obviously having fun and it was contagious for the audience.
Pirates, along with The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore, is the most popular of the 14 collaborations of Gilbert and Sullivan.
Although the play is often called a comic opera, it is far more accessible to a general audience than continental opera which Gilbert and Sullivan sent up.
Gilbert and Sullivan were English and their Shakespearean heritage shines through plentiful plays on words, accompanied by musical spoofs.
Directing duo Madeleine Johns and Gordon Ball work seamlessly with choreographer Meredith Johns and musical director Sheree Drummond to create a delightful musical comedy.
Each act was rendered virtually without set changes with actors hiding behind parts of the set and, to much amusement, plant foliage.
Female lead Annika Hinricks as Mabel was in fine voice and readily accepted the challenge of the occasional musical trick in the play.
Her love interest Frederic was played by Jonathon Sweeper whose clear vocals and expressive visage carried the part well.
Thomas Armstong-Robley stole the show with his Deppesque movements as the sometimes ruthless, sometimes befuddled Pirate King.
Barry Haworth brought out the full humour embedded in his character Major General, of the much parodied song which is a highlight of the play.

Johnathan Johnson as the Sergeant of Police led his officers around the stage with beguiling walks and puppet-like head popping.

Young costume designer/ producer Kara Fisher has done a fabulous job with the clobber. It all looked wonderful with colourful pirates, pristine maidens and quintessential bobbies. Fisher aims to design for stage and screen and this play is a big  early tick in her portfolio.
Sullivan once described his music for Pirates as ‘tunier’ than that of H.M.S. Pinafore.
Tuny is a good a word as any for a score that ranges from the sprightly to the boisterous.
The RMT orchestra, assuredly conducted by Sheree Drummond, who seemed to be enjoying the exercise immensely, was always buoyant but never over-bearing.
The Redcliffe Musical Theatre version of the Pirates of Penzance is based on the award-winning New York Public Theater  adaptation.
All in all, The Pirates of Penzance is a joyous musical.
It continues at Redcliffe Cultural Centre until August 19. Book at www.redcliffeculturalcentre.com.au or phone 3283 0407.
Whenever you see someone being officious or bullying, sing Tarantara! Tarantara! OIC it coming on now!

Bernie Dowling, August 12, 2012.

Phoney war on drugs

Olympic rant #16 Journalism 101 Create a furore
THE Bolt v Lewis drug brouhaha was a classic media beat-up. It raced across international television screens and newspaper front pages with a speed worthy of the central characters.
Carl Lewis points the finger
only to have it bitten off

There was little to the yarn and it was hardly news but, by the time the egg-beater had a mish-mash, it came out thicker and messier than chocolate pudding.
A London Sun journo had the most measured report on the story and it is not often you can say that.
Steven Howard wrote in  The Sun
Usain Bolt talked about Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Bob Marley. And those Swedish handball players.
And sex. And drugs. And rock ’n roll.
And how Manchester United should sign Robin van Persie.
And how he thought that the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio would be Mission Impossible.
He even talked about cricket and the IPL.
And he put the boot in on Carl Lewis, which he probably shouldn’t have done.
Yes, Bolt could have left out the bit about the Swedish handball players and should have swallowed the lines about Carl Lewis when they popped up his throat.
The wordy Bolt had come to speak on many things. He felt provoked by Carl Lewis’s assertion that Bolt’s incredible feats might be drug induced.
Wiki says Lewis made his remarks during the London Games. Someone bettere tell them it’s dead wrong. I tried correcting a Wiki article once but getting accreditation to do so baffled me.
Other reports had Lewis makibg the veiled accusations ‘pre-game’. That was more accurate, as I guess 2008, or 45BC, for that matter, is pre-game. Bolt had obviously been stewing over the insults for four years and fired back.
Carl Lewis made his assertions in a Sports Illustrated article after Bolt’s 100m and 200m victories at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Following the international protocols of calling someone a drug cheat, Lewis in http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/arash_markazi/09/11/carl.lewis/
demurred he was not saying Bolt was on drugs.
          
 ‘Countries like Jamaica do not have a random program, so they can go months without being tested. I’m not saying anyone is on anything, but everyone needs to be on a level playing field.
…he’s not going to have me saying he’s great and then two years later he gets popped.

It was all a misunderstanding. Lewis did not say Bolt was on drugs. It was just that Bolt and upwards of 10 million readers thought Lewis was saying just that. Bolt silently did his years of stewing. At London 2012, with back-to-back golds in the 100m and 200m and totally unpopped, he hit back.
Four years down the athletics track,  should have left Lewis alone. It was unfair of Bolt to bring it up as if it were yesterday Lewis said it.  Some articles mentioned Lewis had tested positive three times before the 1988 Olympics. No article that I read added Lewis was exonerated on the grounds the drugs, pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, andphenylpropanolamine were in prescription medication. Whatever you think of that decision, no drug suspensions are against Lewis’s name.
Lewis fared badly on Twitter.
If you are Jamaican I think you should be allowed to slap Carl Lewis in the mouth with a breadfruit.
Carl Lewis’s reputation ko’ed. On the night Bolt achieved what he never could, a bitter man who failed 3 drugs tests gets put in his place
@CharlesRobinson Nobody under 30 knows who Carl Lewis is. They know who Usain Bolt is.
Actually, Lewis’s  Sports Illistrated interview finished with a musical analogy which he should have been spruiking earlier insyead od f drugs in reference to Bolt.
Lewis said:
We get caught up in comparing all the time. I have this discussion with young people. They’ll tell me Beyonce is better than so-and-so. Why can’t we just say that Beyonce is amazing and so-and-so is amazing? I mean Ella Fitzgerald is amazing. Sarah Vaughan is amazing. Whitney Houston is amazing. Why do you have to say that Beyonce is better? Let’s just be happy that we had a chance to celebrate all of them.

Well said Carl. Why could you have stuck to such a line, throughout? When Black women and men become role models, it is unseemly to see them fighting among themselves. Also you have  mentioned Billie Holiday .
For his part, Bolt was at his best in victory interviews when he talked about Bob Marley.
And who was the greatest Jamaican — him or Bob Marley?
Bolt said: “When it comes to Bob Marley, he is one of the greatest ever out of Jamaica.
“He really did wonderful things for the country before me.
“So I’m just carrying out his duty. 
“We’re the same, we have the same goal to make Jamaica one of the most loved and finest countries in the world.

Bernie Dowling, August 11, 2012

Daily Mail arrives every 24 hours

Olympic Rant #15 The Mailman delivers
OLYMPIC coverage by the U.K. newspaper the Daily Mail is ranging from traditional adolescent-male nonsense to the downright weird. Extremely talented GB cyclist Victoria Pendleton is physically attractive and this has not passed across the Mail eagle eyes without notice.
The Mail loves pedalling Vicky

Condoms in the athlete’s village were gold for newspapers throughout the world but the Mail brought to the yarn its personal touch – horny adolescent male meets Monty Python.
The story should have been a few pars in length: 150, 000 complimentary condoms are available to 10,000 athletes. But of course, the Mail banged on and on, mainly in pics but with a few choice words, with the stamina born of erecting thousands of innuendoes to their mastheads.
The oh, oh, Ohhh-lympics! As record 150,000 condoms are handed out to a host of super-attractive athletes, could London 2012 be the raunchiest games ever?
·                     Athletes will receive 15 condoms each for the 17-day festival
·                     Victoria Pendleton among the glamorous female stars offered condoms
            
 
The phenomenal outpouring of prophylactics means there will be 50 per cent more available to athletes in London than the 100,000 handed out at the last Olympics in Beijing in 2008.
                     
The Mail loves to re-work information already supplied as simple equations such as 150,000 is 50 per cent more than 100,000. It certainly pads out the story and maybe, for some readers, adds gravitas.
On the internet edition of the paper we next have two sexy pictures of Ms Pendleton and four pictures of coloured condoms. 
Then more basic maths which readers apparently cannot get enough of: 
   It works out at nearly 15 each for the 10,500 competitors taking part in the Games, with Durex ready to deliver more if the sports stars exhaust their ration.   
                                                                                                                                                         
A bit of an interview with an athlete describing randiness in the village. 
Then another sexy image of Victoria Pendleton, this time in evening wear beside with a cycle. The caption reads: Racy: Sprint cyclist Victoria Pendleton is one of the most glamorous of the British athletes. She has even posed nude in the past.
Now a photo of cyclist Jess Varnish  beside pic #4 of Pendleton.  This time the caption is: Bicycle babes: Cyclist Jess Varnish said she would pose naked if she was as glamorous as her gold medal champion colleague Victoria Pendleton, right.
A barrage of photos from various sports including what look like two young-teenage synchronised swimmers and a playful photo of two young women which the Mail tagged: Intimate: Jenna Randall, 22, right, tweeted a photo of herself sitting by the pool, with her legs wrapped around teammate Katie Skelton, left.
The readers have not seen any numbers for a while so the next photo is captioned: Splashing: Team GB divers Tonia Couch, left, and Tom Daley, right, are dating. Perhaps they will make use of the 30 condoms they’ll have between them.
Four buff lads attract the caption: Macho: Australian male swimmers Eamon Sullivan, James Roberts, James Magnussen and Matt Targett on Manley beach in Sydney.
How ironic the macho men from the Mail spelt Manly Beach wrongly.
Four Swedish athletes would be the appropriate way to finish this fantastic report and the Mail does not disappoint. Caption: A recipe for romance: The Swedish women’s swimming team will be staying in the same block as Team GB footballers. Let’s hope they all behave themselves.
That was good light-hearted entertainment if you ignore the sinister overtones.
But let’s move on…to Victoria Pendleton.

             

Victoria Pendleton rode tearfully into the sunset last night with her dream of a golden goodbye indelibly tainted by a final clash with her biggest rival. 
                                                                                                                                 
From the first par, the reader can sense a poetic effort rising from the Mail
She failed to trounce her Australian arch enemy Anna Meares – a win that would finally have laid to rest the controversy, competition and cat-fighting between them.
                                                                                                                                                            
Ah, cat-fighting the last of the three Cs.

she was beaten to gold in the next race by a powerhouse performance from the 28-year-old Australian.
Whatever the result, the crowd still adored Vicky, Vicky, Vicky!
                                                                                                                               
And so to the big finish
This was Last Night of the Velodrome, a Land of Hope and Glory for the people and one last hurrah for Queen Victoria.
                                                                
An Australian ran first against Vicky, Vicky, Vicky but Britain did dominate the cycling. The Velodrome had morphed into a Jewel in the Crown of Empire. Well I’ll be a Dutchman. 

The Mail totally lost it in the euphoria of counting almost 40 GB medals before the Games were half over.
I have the feeling this report must go down in the history books of journalism. I am just not sure why.
Here is an edited version because the whole is too much.

Kings (and queens) of the sitting-down sports:

Two thirds of first 37 medals came from ‘sitting down sports

With gold medal contenders including Victoria Pendleton and Chris Hoy still to make individual quests for glory, Team GB could well be on for its best Games performance in 100 years. 
        

There’s Queen Vic again.

Statistics revealed that of Team GB’s first 37 medals, 66 per cent were in sitting down sports.

Star performances in equestrian, sailing, rowing and cycling have all contributed to Team GB’s impressive third place standing in the overall medals table.
By contrast, the two leading nations, China and the USA, both excel in non-sitting down sports.
At the same stage the two nations had over 121 medals – with a sitting down element of just 7 per cent.
                     
Has anyone out there a clue WTF the Mail is on about?
                                            
Got to be good readin’ because it’s so hard to see.

Bernie Dowling, August 8, 2012.

Winners and sinners

Olympic Rant #15 Third-rate Stuporpowers declare war

THE rivalry for Olympic medals between Great Britain and Australia is difficult to understand if you are not from one of the two countries. It is impossible for the surprisingly large number of Americans who think Australia is a European country near Germany.
Jessica Ennis helps GB leap over Oz
Australia which is my home country was invaded by England in the 18th century to establish a penal colony. Much if not all of the lingering hostility of a nation of guards versus a country of prisoners is a concoction of the countries’ respective media (many owned in the same interests) and is fought over sport.
The most genteel of the British media refers to Australians as colonials when an insult is required. The more brash English papers call us convicts.
In Australia the war is fanned by our media reprising an insult by an English tabloid, preferably on its front page.

For variety, Aussie media relished the rather restrained earlier front page from the Sun: Wanted. Gold Medal. Australia’s Sydney Morning Heralddecided that headline was a screamer but it was tepid because Sun journos knew the gold medals would come for Britain.
Hell, even the Mad Mayor of London went out on a wire to declare Britain could win more medals than Australia. In what passes for a pep talk in Tory circles, Boris Johnson told British athletes before a pool lap had been swum in anger, ‘Can we beat Australia? Yes, I think we can.’
You can see how classical studies have sharpened Johnson’s analytical mind to allow him to predict the host nation would accumulate more goodies than a team of athletes which had travelled across the entire world to compete.
Still it was relief for both countries to win their first individual gold. It seems individual gold is worth more than a team one. That’s capitalism for you.
The feats of both medal winners were insipring.
British heptathlete Jessica Ennis was robbed of a chance for Gold at Beijing 2008 by injury.
By contrast, Australian laser sailor Tom Slingsby went into the Beijing Games as world champion. He finished 22nd at the Chinese Games.
Another contrast was the relative celebrations. In typical Aussie style, Slingsby went to the pub with family and friends.
Ennis and cycling gold medallist Bradley Wiggins were special guests at a boutique gig by the Stone Roses. Led Zep’s Jimmy Page was in the audience.
Wiggins even got to party with legendary British muso Paul Weller formerly of The Jam, The Style Council and individual projects. Who knew Wiggins wore an mp3 player when he won the Gold?
Let’s all share in the great win by Ennis by playing the Officially Unofficial Great Britain National Games Anthem. 

And let us not forget the phony enemy. Here is the Aussie Games Anthem:
While we are in the mood for congratulations, let us hand out to three outstanding achievements. First Officially Designated Naughty Nation Iran collected its first ever Olympic Gold in Greco-Roman wrassling through Hamid Soryan’s gold in the 55-kilogram class. Iran had collected a swag of Olympic medal in freestyle wrassling but none in Greco-Roman. On Monday, Omid Noroozi made it a double for Iran with   the gold in men’s 60-kilogram Greco-Roman wrassling at the London Olympics. Reports by Tea Party members that Iran wrasslers threatened their opponents with nuclear weapons proved unfounded.
Kirani James, 19, of Grenada won the Olympic 400m in 43.94sec. He is the first athlete from outside the USA to break the 44-second barrier. His gold was also Grenada’s first ever Olympic medal. 
Pavlos Kontides won Cyprus’s first medal at an Olympics when he took the silver on Monday in sailing`s Laser class.
Bernie Dowling, August 7, 2008

Run up for Jah

Olympic Rant #14 Celebrate Jamaican Independence

OLYMPIC athletes  Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Usain Bolt and  Yohan Blake provided a thrilling prelude to  today’s Jamaican Independence Day with a combined four medals in the marquee 100m sprints.
Fraser-Pryce and Bolt  completed back-to-back golds, an uncommon feat in the 100m dash. Campbell-Brown took the bronze and Blake the silver behind their illustrious team-mates.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce: Four names in one: 
no wonder she is so quick

A couple of anomalies turn up when we look at the fastest woman alive compared to the men.
Usain Bolt is the fastest man alive and the world record holder.
Carmelita Jeterof the United States is the fastest woman alive (10.64s) but the deceased Florence Griffith-Joyner of the U.S. holds the world record.(10.49)
Shelly-Ann Fraser is the fourth faster woman alive and not the holder of the Olympic record either, That also goes to the deceased Flo-Jo  (10.62)

Sprinters – Women’s 100 Metres (World Record10.49 by Griffith-Joyner at the ’88 Olympic Trials)
1. Florence Griffith-Joyner (United States) – Fastest Time: 10.49 seconds
The 100m 
Olympic record (10.62) was set by Flo Jo at the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul.
2. Carmelita Jeter (United States) – Fastest Time: 10.64 seconds
Jeter ran a 10.67 at the 2009 World Athletics Final and a 10.64 at the 2009 Shanghai Golden Grand Prix.
3. Marion Jones (United States) – Fastest Time: 10.65 seconds
Jones won the 100 metre at the 1998 IAAF World Cup in South Africa with a time of 10.65.
4. Shelly-Ann Fraser (Jamaica) – Fastest Time: 10.73 seconds
Fraser, along with her Jamaican teammates, dominated the women’s 100m at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
5. Christine Arron (France) – Fastest Time: 10.73 seconds
Arron placed third in the 100m and 200m sprints at the 2005 World Championships in Paris.
6. Merlene Ottey (Jamaica) – Fastest Time: 10.74 seconds
Ottey has won more World Championships medals (14) than any other female sprinter in history.
7. Kerron Stewart (Jamaica) – Fastest Time: 10.75 seconds
Stewart won the silver medal in the women’s 100m at the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2009 Worlds.
8. Evelyn Ashford (United States) – Fastest Time: 10.76 seconds
A U.S. Track Hall of Fame athlete, Ashford set a later broken Olympic record at the 1984 Olympics.
9. Irina Privalova (Russia) – Fastest Time: 10.77 seconds
Privalova is a World Champion in numerous indoor events, and holds the indoor records for the 50m and 60m sprints.
10. Ivet Lalova (Bulgaria) – Fastest Time: 10.77 seconds
Lalova’s best 100 metre time was set in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in 2004 when she ran a 10.77.

INDEPENDENCE from Great Britain came to Jamaica in 1962, not long before the rise of the trio Bob Marley and the Wailers, with various backing musicians.
Teenager Millie Small paved the way for the success of the Wailers with her surprise 1964 international hit with a cover of My Boy Lollipop.

In the mid-1990s I wrote my plat Tosh, a dramatisation of the history of the Wailers: Peter Tosh, Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer.
The play is still to be performed.
With the success of self-publishing over the past decade has put the destiny of novels in the hands of authors. But getting a play up is still in the hands of Jah.
If you drop me an email at bentbananabooks@gmail.com, I will send you a copy of Tosh as soon as I retrieve the disk from Strathpine Library. Don’t ask; it is safe.
In the meantime, let’s hear another song from the play which these days would be called a jukebox musical.

Spoiler alert! What song do you think finishes Tosh?
Bernie Dowling, Jamaican Independence Day, 2012

Bolts in with the name game

Olympic Rant #12 Fast men are gone in well under 10


THE power of words is more than a casual contribution to the living mythology that is Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. He might not go Gaga on Twitter but he is the biggest name in Ol’ London Town as he defends his 100m Olympic title.

Usain Bolt sets the fastest 100m time ever 
in Berlin on  August 16 , 2009

Bolt is no good thing to win. It is three years since he set the extant world record of 9.58s. The field includes the second, third, fourth and seventh fastest men alive – Tyson Gay, U.S. 9.69s; Asafa Powell, Jamaica, 9.72s; Yohan Blake, Jamaica, 9.75s and Justin Gatlin, U.S, 9.80s.
Gatlin is a remarkable athlete who recovered from a four-year doping ban (2006-10) – innocent he says – to run his 9.80s on June 24 this year. Jamaican Blake also set his best time in June, while Gay ran his in 2009 and Powell set his PB in 2008.
Rank
Fastest time (s)
Wind (m/s)
Athlete
Country
Date
Location
1
9.58
+0.9
16 August 2009
2
9.69
+2.0It is three years since he
20 September 2009
3
9.72
+0.2
2 September 2008
4
9.75
+1.1
29 June 2012
5
9.78
+0.9
29 August 2010
6
9.79
+0.1
16 June 1999
7
9.80
+1.3
4 June 2011
9.80
+1.8
24 June 2012
9
9.84
+0.7
27 July 1996
+0.2
22 August 1999

Asafa Powell is a mellifluous name befitting the world’s fastest man from 2005-2008.
Asafa Powell: 3rd fastest time and 2nd best name

Then along came Usain St Leo Bolt. On May 31, 2008, fellow Jamaican Usain Boly  ran a time of 9.72s at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York City. Bolt not only had a better time but also a better name.
Usain Bolt sounds like it burst from the pages of a private-detective thriller, but it is his real moniker. I believe the name has added zest to his performance in the track. Coupled with his playful warm-up antics, the name Usain Bolt, the Thor of our times, is revered around the world.
The concept of the fastest man alive helps, as well. It is something of a misnomer in that Bolt would have to be faster than all the dead man, too.
I achieved my only gold medal at the final Goodwill Games in Brisbane in 2001. It was through the then Fastest Man Alive, Maurice Greene. Injury prevented star attraction Greene from competing but he was an ambassador.
He gave a media conference and I asked a question which led to my gold medal. I maintain to this day it was a good question. Before me was the fastest man alive, a man with an English surname and a French first name.
I knew Kansas had French settlers before and after the United States acquired most of the territory through the Louisiana Purchase. One Frenchman Ernest Valeton de Boissière was a fascinating homme who came to the U. S. in 1852.
Although he was a former French army engineer, he was of an idealistic bent and, in 1870, set up what he hoped would be a utopian commune in Kansas. He called it Silkville, planted mulberry trees and produced high quality silk. The enterprise hummed along sweetly and Silkville soon had a school, winery, silk factory and a three-story 60-room housing complex.
Cheap overseas silk imports and community members re-joining the rat-race took its toll financially Sticking resolutely to his dream, de Boissiere and his communards diversified into dairy cattle and livestock , but with little success. In 1892, de Boissiere, gave the property to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and he sailed back to France, where he died in 1894.
Some might say he wasted the last had 25 years of his life but the utopian commune survived for 22 years. By most comparisons with  similar ventures, the Frenchman did well.
In 1972,  the extant  buildings of the ghost town of Silkville  were added to the National Register of Historic Places. If you are in the area of Williamsburg Township, Franklin County, Kansas, you can  pay Silkville  a visit.
Why Maurice  Greene was given a French name might not be as fascinating as the saga of Silkville. But we would never know unless someone asked. So, at an international media conference, I asked the  fastest man alive how he got the name Maurice. ‘My mother gave me that name,’ Maurice Greene replied. It was not the answer I was looking for, though it seemed to please my media colleagues who laughed heartily.
Six months later, an anniversary of the Games was held in the swank Brisbane Polo Club, a place no one had thought to invite me to, before.
I was presented with a gold medal. I do not remember what the event I won was officially called but it was little doubt it was meant to be for the dumbest question of the final Goodwill Games anywhere in the world. I still maintain it was a good question and a lot better than Greene’s answer which sank my credibility.
After all my years in journalism I have only two small pieces of advice for novices: it is not a popularity contest and never be afraid to ask what you think could be a dumb question; you might win a gold medal from it.
So who will win the gold in the 100m.? Like most of the world, I would like to see Usain Bolt win. But I think the gold will go to Yohan Blake. As soon as I post this rant, I will contact my internet bookie to have a modest wager on Blake.
Yohan Blakei looks for gold 

If I am wrong, that’s alright. You have to back your judgement in life, or wait for others to tell you what you think.

Bernie Dowling, August 5, 2012 

Games people play

Olympic Rant #11 Games reputation on the chopping block

WHEN I heard the IOC had booted out a referee and the coppers had lumbered an Olympic tweeter, I thought it best to turn my attention to an alternative spectacular, the annual Pine Rivers Show.
No axes in the back at the Pine Rivers Show
In the noble sport of bashing, referee Ishanguly Meretnyyazov of Turkmenistan was punted from the London games after he failed to stop a match despite a fighter from Azerbaijan being knocked to the canvas six times.
Amazingly, judges awarded the fight to the Azerbaijani Magomed Abdulhamidov, but that decision was soon reversed amid allegations of a $2 million bribe by Azerbaijan. Wow, who would have thought bribery and match fixing would have crept into the pristine sport of bashing?
Outside the bashing ring, police arrested a 17-year-old for tweeting “negative messages” with reference to Olympic diver Tom Daley’s dead father. Wow, who would have thought an offensive message would be posted on Twitter? Police throughout the world are now investigating 45, 762, 811 people over possible similar offences.
Some journos have taken to referring to these London Olympics as the Twitter Games. In my day job, I tweet a bit about the Olympics among posts on more pressing local matters. (I work for what used to be called a suburban newspaper but we have rebadged ourself as a community newspaper.) In these rants, I have quoted a couple of people’s tweets. I am far from an astronaut in the tweet universe but I am not a black hole, either.
On our papers Facebook pages, I posted the discussion point of whether the gun Chinese swimmer was Ye Shiwen or Shiwen Ye. The topic was bubbling nicely when my posts and its attached comments disappeared. Our IT guru assured me the posts were there on the Faceboook page but nobody could see them. This seemed like a great metaphysical conundrum along the lines of “if a tree falls in the forest…” But it curtailed one of my more promising social-media adventures.
One positive thing I will say about my Twitter universe is all the stars in it are rarely negative or insulting. I will just check my Twitter account to see how many stars there are.  I have 22 followers and I follow 30 people. I try to keep parity between followers and followees, but it seems I have slipped up a bit lately.
I read everything I can lay my screen on about social-media strategy. Bent Banana Books is a professional publisher, after all. We need to go into the marketplace and kick arse, ass in America, though I do not get the metaphor of booting a donkey, in the bum, or anyone else, for that matter. I vow to follow hundreds of people hoping some will reciprocate.  But I find it a bit contrived. Then I start getting picky about whom to follow. Those I choose do not follow me back. It’s a mess. One woman – not one of my stars – tweeted anyone with fewer than 100 followers –she actually tweeted less than 100 but I have cleaned her grammar for her – was a cyber stalker. For some reason, her tweet made me feel better.
I believe I should have 2000 followers because what I tweet is really really relevant. Others seem to disagree. They could be right.
After reading depressing reports from the London Olympics, I decided to go to the Pine Rivers Show.

Pine Rivers is a district north of Brisbane. This is its 108th show and the showground is just across the road from where I live.
Pine Rivers has a population of about 130, 000. More than 30,000 people attend the show each year. Per capita, the Pine Rivers Show is far more popular than the London Olympics. No-one watches the show on TV, but.
I tweeted and Facebooked some of my observations to our newspaper accounts. It is my day off, but what the heck, what are a few lousy tweets between friends. I will share some of the tweets and posts, but only the ones which set the scene or demonstrate how wily I am in linking the Pine Rivers Show to the London Olympics.

1. #pineriversshow This is shaping as the best Pine Rivers Show ever. If you like leisurely strolls head down in the next few hours before the burst of the late afternoon crowds.

#pineriversshow Check out 3-month-old alpaca named Short Circuit and 10-month-old miniature long-hair goat Twiggy. They are in the farmyard.

Ugandan drummer Joseph Matovu is conducting free drumming workshops. The kids from Pine Rivers Special School (for disabled students) really pounded out the beat for Old McDonald Had a Farm. “They are fantastic,” Joseph said of the kids. Joseph is fantastic, too.

The variety of food is amazing. You have the old standards of Dagwood Dogs, burgers and chips, as well as the scouts’ sausage sizzle and the Rotary sangers. But there are also wood-fired pizzas, American-style burgers, Teppanyati noodles, Turkish gozleme which is beef cheese and spinach on pita bread and yakitori, Japanese chicken skewers. From the Taste of Greece stall I bought the spanakopita (spinach and feta pie) Yum-eee! The vendor said I pronounced spanakopita so well, he gave me an extra pie free.

#pineriversshow I don’t know what school it was but props for the kids who waited patiently in a 50-metre line to get into the show. They spent the waiting time pointing out to one another all the wonders inside.
                                                     
Pine Rivers was only settled by the White invaders in the mid-1880s and the district only began to become (sub)urbanised 30 or so years ago.  (In 1966 the population was fewer than 14,000). It has nowhere near the rich cultural history of the London and the local council refuses to heritage-list significant sites and buildings in Pine Rivers district. Yet Pine Rivers can host a friendly show of competitions – cooking, horticulture, beef cattle, poultry, arts & crafts, photography, wood-chopping, needlework, school work, colouring-in, show jumping, a rodeo and some I cannot recall – as well as exhibitions and entertainments, many with an international flavour.
I loved it when the Greek man gave me an extra pie for showing the respect to try to pronounce one of his national dishes as best I could.
On that positive message, let’s play the Australian National Anthem for London 2012.

Bernie Dowling, August 3, 2012

Badminton should be good mittens one of my favourite things

Illympic Rant #10 Do those Commie bastards!!!

IN an earlier rant I portrayed the efficiently murderous missiles being developed by a  Russian-Indian partnership as shuttlecocks for the impending Illympic sport of water badminton. Little did I know that badminton would become the focus of a Sino-West showdown at the London Games.
Life follows art in the world of badmimton

These shockin’ awful Illympic Games have become a political nightmare with China accused of progressing from drug cheats to all-round cheats.
It is as if the final medal count between China and the U.S. will be reflective of whether the American or Sino economy rules the world.
Great American author/ essayist/ polemicist/ all-round wordsmith Gore Vidal invariably showed impeccable timing throughout his lifetime. Vidal did not help matters by dying during what will become known as the Chinese Badminton Crisis, named after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Vidal scandalised the U.S by suggesting China would become the new Superpower, sending care packages to Washington, New York and San Francisco. He had the temerity to die in the midst of the crisis, reminding everyone of his prediction.
China was one of the four Asian teams disqualified from the badminton competition. Their transgressions were gloriously oxymoronic: they were losing games in order to win medals. Cheating it was, according to OIC officials.
Now, in most sporting contests, losing to win is a futile exercise. After preliminary contests, the best performing sides are seeded against the worst performing sides. Apparently this is not the case with Illympic badminton and one Chinese side had to throw a game in order to be in the medal fight with another Chinese side.
A casual observer such as me might think the structure of the sport is wrong.
Not so according to the esteemed English popular newspaper the Daily Mail. It’s simply the Chinese are cheats and they have been at it for a long time.

 Chinese players had been scheduled to meet 99 times in 2011: on 20 occasions the game was either not played, or not completed. When China played China, 19.8 per cent of games did not reach a conclusion.

In case you do no get it, 20 out of 99 = 19.8 per cent

Now I suspect, for many badminton competitions, this is the way to work your way through a flawed system when you want to win,
Apparently, the Daily Mail thought it was nefarious, which is obviously evil, being a multisyllabic word you reluctantly have to put in your paper.
China were expected to win every gold medal at the London Olympic Games and all reasonable evidence suggested that the athletes and coaches at the pinnacle of the sport were behaving in a nefarious manner. Instead, a blind eye was turned. Today, the reputation of badminton is in tatters.

I believe that should have read “China was expected to win” but the image of invading red hordes was better conveyed by “were”.
Other reports likened the Chinese selection and training processes to human rights abuse. The best of them have the Buddhist/ Daoist/ Communist medal winners being downright unchristian.

Welcome to the Brave new world of Illympic Games.
Bernie Dowling August 2, 2012.

Pay a wet tribute to Phelps

Olympic Rant #9 Give the pool cleaner a medal
ONE important thing which sets sporting champions apart from the rest of us is they hat3e to lose.
That also sets sociopaths apart from us too, but Michael Phelps is no sociopath.

The Human Medal Detector
Few of us ever have a close relationship with a sporting champ, though we have all worked with a sociopath or three. The one in the corner office is the biggest worry.
Phelps won his record 19th Olympic medal anchoring the men’s 200-freestyle relay. . Fifteen of those medals were of the golden persuasion, including eight gold at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Some journos intent on enticing tweets asked if he was the best Olympian ever. Of course it is impossible to compare disparate sports and sportspeople. But 19 m4edals are more than anyone else has won. On that objective measure, Phelps is the best ever.
It says something about American hegemony – is that word still in the dictionary – that the previous holder of mist Olympic medals Russian gymnast, Larissa Latynina hardly raised a beep on the heart monitor of popular culture. It is not a case of how quickly we forget because most of us never consciously knew.
Best play the American London Games 2012 National Anthem before we forget that. The vid is not that clear and mostly zoomless but it was recorded en el Elstadio Olimpico de Barcelona el 17 de Mayo de 2012’. If you have to go to Google Translate to decipher the afore typed, you might want to relinquish that dream of learning another language.)

Swimming is a funny sport. In other games such as football or snooker, you can trade physical acumen for guile and experience and play into your 30s or 40s. On swimming once old age of say 27 or 28, you have pretty much had it. It is also a sport which requires inordinate amounts of training from a young.
Australian Olympic swimmer Jessicah Schipper wrote the forward for my collection of earlier rants, 7 Shouts (available from Google eBooks, Amazon and their affiliates: first and last commercial on these otherwise public-broadcast rants).
Jess wrote: ‘I am also guessing he (me) would have been pretty horrified to learn I woke up at 3.45am to go to swimming training and I did that five times a week, as well as training five afternoons a week.’ Horrified, flabbergasted, disbelieving; they were three of the seven stages of gobsmacked I recall going through. I never made it to acceptance.
When I was a young man I was somewhat adept at snooker and pool in a careless wasted-youth, sort of way. I used to frequent a snooker hall owned by a pro. He would spend four hours sinking the colours, in order, yellow to black from the shooting position half-way along the diameter of the semi-circle. I should explain it took him four hours not because age had made him hopeless. It was just that he would do it again and again and again, for four hours. You have probably heard that smashing your head against a brick wall is not madness; failing to stop doing it is. That might be wise advice to live by in many endeavours, but definitely not in sport.
This brings us to the people Phelps must, in all honesty and fairness, share his 19 medals with. There are his support network of family and friends, his coaches and sports managers, all his opponents and even the pool cleaners.
Esteemed Australian author Thomas Keneally (The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith) Schindler’s List) modestly declared himself a journeyman, helping to clear the field of literature for creative geniuses to pass through. Jess Schipper will finish her Olympic career with two gold and two bronze as she goes home empty handed from London. Yet, just like Phelps, she is a true champion. I was privileged to see a teenaged Schipper rise from a journeywoman age swimmer in Australia to winning World Championship gold five times.
In between all that swimming and training, she would always give her time to worthy causes in her community.
Jess became a world champ with an iron will embedded in the sweetest of personalities.
Michael Phelps, Jess Schipper and all the journey athletes of the world, we salute you.
Because I have been so nice in this rant, I now have to punish readers with a tribute to the POOs – parents of Olympians. This is the most cloyingly nauseous song I can come up with. Enjoy.

Bernie Dowling, August 1, 2012

Pool brouhaha splashes at the shallow end

Olympic Rant #8 Dopey blasts dwarf win

‘YOU’RE a drug cheat.’
‘No you’re a drug cheat.’
‘You’re a druggie.’
Nah, you’re a druggie; nah, nah, nah.’
Back and forth across the Olympic the pool, the accusations fly like shuttlecocks; it is water badminton.
The latest design in shuttlecocks for water badminton
expected to be an Olympic sport in 2020 

Chinese swimmer Shiwen Ye was the catalyst for the first of a barrage of snide remarks when she won the 400m individual medley. It should have been a fairy tale result as Ye easily swam her personal best and snatched a world record. But it turned into a fairy tale directed by Tim Burton as the dark news unfolded that the Chinese schoolgirl had swum a faster final 50m than Ryan Lochte who had won the men’s equivalent and relegated super swimmer Michael Phelps to a medal-less  fourth in the process.
At first no one quite yelled out Ye was a drug cheat: that would be against the Olympic spirit of these carping back-biting Games.
Lochte served up just a hint of suspicion as he told journos the American camp discussed it over dinner. ‘She’s fast,’ he told reporters, just in case any of the scribes had not noticed.
It was wise to help out the world’s media with an indisputable piece of copy. It was not only the swim which had the world’s media declaring there were two Shiwen.  Yes. I am not sure about the exact proportion but let’s say half the world’s media believe her name is Ye Shiwen. I am with the “Shiwen Ye” half because that is all she writes in the official Games website. For those wishing to argue the toss at your own dinner party, Ye is the family name.
Australian swimming commentator and former Olympic medallist Susie O’Neill was known as Madam Butterfly in her heyday. She was more Madam Math as she gave her opinion of the swim of Mademoiselle Ye. ‘Every time we see a good Chinese swimmer….there’s just that .0001 per cent at the back of mind.’
It might have been at the back of Madam Butterfly’s mind but it butterflew to the front of her lips.
The coyness of such remarks failed to impress a former Chinese swimming official who did not confucius with maths or dinner-party banter in returning the water shuttlecock.
Shanghai Chen was the head of the Chinese Olympic medical team in Los Angeles, Seoul and Barcelona. ‘America’s (Michael) Phelps broke seven world records! Is he normal?’ Dr Chen asked.
Before a journo could ask the sensible question ‘what’s your definition of normal’, Chen made it clear drug cheating was abnormal.
‘I suspect Phelps, but without evidence,’ he said. This sounded like the distillation of a conversation at a tea, rather than dinner, party. ‘I have to recognise that we should be grounded in facts,’
Dr Chen said.
That is how you engage in war of drug cheating without either side making an outright accusation against the other.
‘The Americans are very bad; they do a lot of evil,’ Dr Chen said  
Swimming pools are central to geopolitics: with the medico’s unsophisticated diagnosis, all became clear.
Congratulations Azerbaijan
Valentin Hristov, 18, won Olympic bronze for Azerbaijan in the clean and jerk 56-kg weight class) event.
In another upset, North Korea’s Om Yun Chol won the gold ahead of Chinese world champion Jingbiao Wu (or Wu Jingbiao, take your pick).
Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev, watched the success of Bulgarian-born Hristov.
The Republic of Azerbaijan is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticised the nation’s record on human rights: especially its treatment of homosexuals and the media.
All may not be forgiven but this journalist is glad to see a nation which is not a household name in the West take home a medal. We applaud you in the traditional manner.
Bernie Dowling July 31, 2012

Shoot and Poke at the Olympics

Olympic rant *6 Asia tops the West 
They like to start the killing sports early at the Olympics.
China’s Siling Yi took gold in the 1om women’s air-rifle shooting-at-things and South Korean Jongoh Jin won the men’s 10m air-pistol shooting-at-things.
Jin wins shooting-at-things
Italian Elisa Di Francisca won gold in the women’s poking-holes-in-people individual foil.
A foil used in the sport of poking-holes-in-people

Italy was also successful in the team shooting-arrows-at-things. Michele Frangilli, Marco Galiazzo and Mauro Nespoli hugged and raised their hands in celebration after the final arrow from Frangilli beat the Americans 219-218 at Lord’s Cricket Ground. Frangilli shot the last arrow of the final for the Italians to win.
Not for profit broadcaster NPR proved it could mix it with all for profit jingoists such as Fox in Olympic coverage with this headline.

 Team USA Wins First Medals Of London 2012 Games
Of course, that is ITS first medals of the games not THE first. This misleading banner will not win the jingo gold but it put NPR on the early leader board.
The Australian team took the gold medal in the women’s 4X100m freestyle relay. NPR did not list the Aussie team or the Dutch who came second.  It did list the U.S. team which came third.
We need to play the Aussie National 2012 Games Anthem. This should not be confused with Advance Australia Fair.

The Aussies were Alicia Coutts, Cate Campbell, Brittany Elmslie and Melanie Schlanger with Libby Trickett, Emily Seebohm and Yolane Kukla also winning gold after they swam in the heats.
China’s Yang Sun set an Olympic record in winning the 400m freestyle and Shiwen Ye won the 400m individual medley. English, American and Australian media are inverting the names to have, for example, Ye Shiwen winning gold, despite their accepted names being readily available on the Games website. As a journalist, I am no expert on the world’s nomenclature, buy would you noi go with the official Games website and blame them if it is wrong? WTF, they are only Chinese.
Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan won the men’s cycling road race, with the favourite Mark Cavendish of the UK well beaten.
Alex puts a spoke in the UK wheel

The 38-year-old Vinokourov had a wonderful if unexpected triumph in his last year of racing. He survived a bad crash in last year’s Tour de France, breaking and broke his right femur.  The best he could do at this year’s your was a third in one stage.
Vinokourov began cycling in 1984 as an 11 year-old, competing within the former Soviet Union. He turned professional there in 1998.
Well done, that man on the bike.

Bernie Dowling July 29, 2012

Shoot off the mouth for gold

Olympic Rant #5 Barkingly mad start to the games
IT was a weird start to Games e competition with American super-swimmer Michael Phelps missing a medal in the 400m men’s individual medley won by teammate Ryan Lochte.
Lochte one, Phelps nil
Phelps described it as a “crappy race’’, presumably reflecting on his own performance rather than the collective effort of the finalists. Still, Phelps missed a medal in eloquence as well as in the pool.
It was hard to know what to make of the performance of senior sports scribe Barney Ronay after the first gold medal of the Games went to China’s Siling  Yi in the sport of shooting-at-things.  The sub-category was the 10m air rifle. Thank Mao; the 10m was not the calibre of the rifle but the distance from which you shoot at things.
On behalf of the guardian .co.uk, journo Ronay wrote, ‘China’s parpingly jaunty anthem was the first to be heard in triumph at London 2012.’ Parpingly? Really, Barney.
The obscure word “parping” seems to mean the sound made by a car horn.
Whether parpingly can be used successfully to modify “jaunty”, I just do not know. What I do know is the word appeared in the online guardian in Andrew Sparrow’s blog on June 16, 2012.
Boris Johnson has arrived in Cape Town to fly the flag for England’s 2018 World Cup bid (and) did give his views on the controversial vuvuzela, the horn blasted deafeningly by fans during every game of the South African World Cup.
Johnson said: ’Certainly the vuvuzela is a very very interesting device…..It’s a great way of expressing yourself in a loud, vehement, parping kind of way. … I think maybe that’s not the effect we’re going to want to see in 2012 [at the London Olympics].’
             
Was it coincidence that Barney Ronay revived the word parping(ly) or was it some sort of tribute to the barkingly mad Boris Johnson?  BTW, Johnson brought little to the lingual table in stating a horn had the sound of a horn and that sound is rarely jaunty.
Enough of this nonsense bring on that jaunty sound.

That anthem could have been written for a Chinese victory in the international sport of shooting at things. The lyric about China facing its greatest danger is a bit dodgy though.  This anthem is likely to be around for centuries so the message for the generations is be on a constant war footing. Grab your air rifle and be prepared.
 I am not sure tourists will flock to that new Great Wall if it is made of flesh and blood; could be a bit slippery. Perhaps I am being too literal.
It is heartening to see the Chinese lyrics pay homage to the French anthem La Marseillaise. The Chinese version has the good taste to ditch that French stuff about fearsome soldiers coming into our midst to cut the throats of your sons and consorts. It is something of a surprise France does not do better in shooting-at-things. I believe the reason is the French athletes try to sell their arms during the competition, leaving them at a distinct disadvantage during the shoot-offs for medals.
During shooting-at-things, athletes are encouraged to only fire at inert objects. Live pigeon shooting had its only appearance at the 1900 Paris Games. It did not take off.
Neither did the 21 pigeons Belgian Leon de Linden shot to win the gold. They do not call them pigeons for nothing, but even the IOC could see the ineffable killing the unflappable was a trifle off.
Crap is the word
CRAP is quick off the blocks in the competition for the golden word of the 2012 London Olympics.
Swim champ Michael Phelps missed a medal in the 400m men’s individual medley and described his performance as a crappy race. Tory MP Aidan Burley took to Twitter to describe the Opening ceremony as “leftie multicultural crap”.
You would have thought that phrase has few shades of meaning, far fewer than 50, but Burley said he was misunderstood. Unfortunately for public figures, the nature of Twitter makes it difficult to bleat the old stand-by of being taken out of context.  The MP then went on to make the bizarre claim the rappers did his head in.
‘We had all these rappers – that is what got me to the point about multiculturalism.’
Burley received little support from his Conservative colleagues. The Mad Mayor of London said it was nonsense, a subject on which Boris Johnson is an authority.
‘People say it was all leftie stuff. That is nonsense. I’m a Conservative and I had hot tears of patriotic pride from the beginning. I was blubbing like Andy Murray,’ Johnson said. Why he had to tie-in Murray’s tears after losing the Wimbledon tennis final was anybody’s guess, if anybody wants to bother interpreting thoughts from the addled Mayoral mind.
Seems my tweet has been misunderstood. I was talking about the way it was handled in the show, not multiculturalism itself
Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!
The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen – more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?
It was left up to online readers to stick up for Burley.
This is from a reader of the Independent
johngoode  
Burley was right.
This was not an opening ceremony but an excuse by the liberal elite to pour more of their absurd and defeatist multi-cultural propaganda into the Olympics. Why Danny Boyle, for crying out loud.
Look, next time, why not just have an opening ceremony full of addicts and ravers at a disco and cut the attempts to present the distorted history lessons. Why bother with the athletes at all? This country has lost it.
Most Independent readers took the opposite view: 
Hilarious! An opening ceremony for an event featuring athletes from more than 200 nations, hosted by one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities on the planet branded “leftie multicultural crap”! Where does the Tory party get such prize turnips from? I know they don’t like their MPs to be too clever, but he really takes the gold for ignorance and boorish stupidity. Cameron should promote him to the Cabinet immediately- at least he’s honest about his racism, xenophobia and fascistic tendencies!
Bernie Dowling July 29, 2912
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Olympics in song

Olympic rant #4  OIC bans Bond

WHAT were they thinking. giving mad Irish film maker  Danny Boyle $42 million to stage the Opening Ceremony of the London? When the Big End of London goes for the cutting edge, it ends up bleeding badly.
Danny Boy, the Pistols are calling

The Scots bung on the Edinburgh Comedy Festival, and, of course, they are going to put on a Fringe Festival for comedians to ridicule the High and Mighty. Among the English.
(Do not  go down to the comments column to tell me I am an idiot because Boyle is English. You will lose the thread of my dissertation . I have no time to explain why Boyle is Irish so just take my word for it and we will move on.)
But the English should not have fringes, even on their foreheads. Yet Boris Johnson is the Official Games Madman and Boyle is the Fringe Games Madman.
Of course Boyle was going to include the Sex-Pistols’ God Save the Queen in the ceremony. It was only a snippet but Boyle knew we would all usain-bolt to our computers to play the whole damn thing.
The Queen was a good sport in allowing Boyle to put together the great-looking hokum with Her Maj, the Royal Corgis and James Bond. I believe Boyle has offered Elizabeth II a role in the sequel to Trainspotting. I was going to show the You Tube vid but the IOC spolsports tracked it down and banned it. You know how it goes.
This video contains content from International Olympic Committee, who has blocked it on copyright groundsThis video contains content from International Olympic Committee, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.
.Sorry about that, says Youtube, Yair, we are too.
That vid brought out the republicans and the jingoes among the Youtubers who saw it before the IOC swooped.
good2btheking  commented ‘Thats (sic, commas and Capital Letters are optional for good2b) not fair, she had a parachute on! What a waste of my time.’
I guess the implication is, if China had Danny Boyle, Mao Tse-tung would have opened the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 
If we cannot watch the Queen/ Bondy/ corgi thing we will make do with another classic which Danny Boyle’s mob covered.
This is 4u, IOC



Paul McCartney sang Hey Jude, a song the former Beatle wrote though it was credited as being by Lennon-McCartney. I have no idea why Boyle did not have John Lennon performing beside McCartney. Hey Jude is a sweet song but not overly inspiring.

McCartney, could have chosen one of his songs which more reflected on modern Britain. You might correctly guess Lennon’s fingerprints are on some of the lyrics of the song McCartney should have sung.

Six young athletes lit the cauldron from a flame carried by five-time gold medallist, rower Steve Redgrave. In a thoughtful gesture, Redgrave’s guard of honour consisted of 500 men and women who built the Olympic Park, specifically for the London Olympics and Paralympics. After the Games are finished, it will be renamed the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and will be used as a playground for her corgis.
The Arctic Monkeys covered the Beatles Come Together but the IOC says we are not allowed to watch the replay.  You know the drill:

oundsThis video contains content from International Olympic Committee, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.
.Sorry about that, says Youtube.


Yes, it is a bit of a shame as we will not see a song with the title Come Together at the fiscally responsible Ayn Rand Olympics. (Read my previous blog. Or not.) The Arctic Monkeys did a version most faithful to the original. You can catch the sound of Youtube but, what the heck, we will play a cover  from a trio who should have been invited to perform at the London Games.
You cannot finish on a more inspirational note than that.
Enjoy the Games.!
Olympic shorts
Ducking for glory
THE archive of Australia’s first ever double Olympic Medal winner Bobby Pearce was the top selling lot at Bonhams Olympic Games Sale held on July 25 in London. (See My Olympic rant #1)
The collection included the rower’s two Olympic Gold Medals, letters, photographs and posters.
It sold for £49,250 to an Australian buyer.  The winning bid was at the top end of Bonhham’s expectations
He buyer will be able to tell the story of Pearce’s heat at the 1928  Amsterdam Olympics. He stopped rowing during his heat to allow a group of ducks to cross the course. Pearce went  on to win by 20 lengths.
It would be good if the modern IOC could realise how fireworks terrorise wildlife and domestic parts. I know I am in the minority on this one but I would like to see fireworks replaced by laser light shows synchronised with popular music.
BIGGEST representation
The Cook Islands has the biggest number of national representatives.
Its eight athletes represent the nation at the rate of 40 per 100,000 inhabitants. The greedy nation the United Kingdom (England and those countries yet to win independence) has  a rate of  under 1 for every 100,000 people.
Half the nations  have fewer than 10 competitors, while six nations –  the US, UK, Russia, China, Germany and Australia. –   have  2,720 athletes or  a quarter of all the athletes in the games.


Meet you in Burkina Faso
A HUMBLING experience for Olympic spectators is the realisation that there are countries we have never heard. Be honest: how many of these countries  do you know something about: Andorra, Aruba, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Gabon, Gambia, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Mauritania, Myanmar, Suriname, Tuvalu.
Over the next fortnight, Olympic Rants will feature some of the athletes from these countries. The Olympics is a better way for countries such as these to make the headlines for reasons other than war and famine.
Bernie Dowling June 28, 2012