Category Archives: Olympic Games

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

Mad Mayor forgets it is all Greek

Olympic Rant #2: The London Games Anthem

WE all might worry about the London Lord Mayor’s insistence on an Olympic anthem in the style of an ancient Greek ode if we did not know Boris Johnson is a total loop-de-loop.

Johnson delivered his first over-the-top serving of a  of a Pindaric Ode for the London Games  — in ancient Greek, no less — at an Olympic shebang at the Royal Opera House  in Covent Garden on Monday night.

Pindar was an ancient Greek lyric poet who dished out Olympic victory odes.

An early Pindaric effort set the theme: ‘Let us not proclaim any contest greater than Olympia. From there glorious song enfolds the wisdom of poets.’

Conservative Johnson and I have little in common but we do make a living through the use of words.

The Mayor moonlights as a columnist for The Daily Telegraph. I am moonlighting, after my day job as a reporter, on these election rants from the edge of the city and the jaws of hell.

In a July 2009 interview Johnson referred to his Tele salary as “chicken-feed’’. His poultry payment each year was 250,000 GBP. That is 320,000 euro, 387, 000 USD and 376, 000 AUD.

In 2009, in the midst of the Global Financial Crisis, Boris Johnson, future Olympic Hero, declared such sums chicken feed.

For these rants I receive 0 GBP, 0 euro, 0 ISD and 0 AUD and I have a retired racing pigeon to feed. Several months back, the pigeon landed on our back veranda, with indecipherable plastic identification tags on its lower legs and sought asylum from competitive sports. Racing pigeons – even retired ones – do not live on chicken feed. Compounding the expense, the bird, having shunned competition, now allows, without any fuss, wild birds to share its food, my food, actually.

At first I thought the pigeon – which we named Pigeon, with Birdie as its nickname – had turned Buddhist. I was quickly disabused of this notion when I brought home a copy of one of the two newspapers from which I earn my living. I started to read the paper when Pigeon viciously clawed the open pages with both feet. I looked down to see Birdie’s food bowl was empty. Pigeon has done a similar thing on other occasions when I read one of our papers. It is official: I am working for pigeon feed.

I am not saying I am as good a journo as Boris Johnson but I wish I had lucked into his lark of Pindaric verse rather than sharing his unruly hairstyle.

What I have in common with Johnson are  journalism and unruly hair.

The Opera House punters broke into rapturous applause when Johnson spruiked in ancient Greek accompanied by English translation on computerised screens. The neo-ode starts

This new Olympic flame behold,
that once burned bright in Greece of old;
with happy hearts receive once more
these Games revived on London's shore.

Who knew you could garner kudos from doggerel if you tied it to the classics. Me, I am more into the Clash than the classics and every daughter and son of Heroic London must join me there. The Clash provides the English National Games Anthem.

Whenever an English athlete wins a medal, the anthem must be played. Tech-heads will synchronise it with their internet coverage of the Games. I am hoping the most sophisticated will be able to tap into that other British antthem and replace it after a couple of bars. God Save the Queen is fine for hundreds of other occasions but the London Olympics 2012 deserve something special.

London becomes the first city to host three Olympic Games. I am hoping the head of the IOC will introduce London 2012 as the Greedy Games in honour of the thousands of cities which have never hosted one. I suspect it will not happen so I will have to be content with the special games anthem.

 Little Known Olympic Fact #1

The first Asian Summer Olympic Games were to be held in Tokyo in 1940.

They were called off because the world was at war.

Norwegian athlete William Risterspyd and his supporters declared the Tokyo Games should go ahead with the neutral countries competing.

The authorities quickly decided this proposal was absurd but the stubborn. Risterspyd, a discus thrower, was adamant. He and his supporters set up a tent in Helsinki’s Market Square for the entire period the Tokyo Summer Games were scheduled for. It did not matter that it was winter in Norway.

Every few hours, Risterspyd supporters cleared people from the centre of the squares so the athlete could show off his discus prowess.

A jubilant Risterspyd linked his protest to the Summer Games when he gave a press conference to international reporters who flocked to the square on the third day of the protest.

‘Now is the winter of our discustent made glorious summer,’ he said.

Bernie Dowling, July 24, 2012.

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Gonzoid rants on the London Olympics 2012


Olympic Rant  #1 The Patron
THESE Olympic reports are written from the edge of the city and the jaws of hell.
The city in question is Brisbane where, as in all fair cities of Australia, good drug and  alcohol-fuelled citizens are regularly bashing one another senseless, and occasionally lifeless.  Friday and Saturday nights are the preferred times for  such mayhem but any warm or cool enchanted evening will do.
I am confident the industrious denizens of the western world’s capital cities are similar indulging in random violence to share the terror of life in war zones.
This is why these reports on the noble Olympic games are writ from the jaws of hell. Our patron for the Capital-G Games  is Thomas Hobbes.
London Games Patron

Before we introduce our patron to the enthusiastic international audience we should satisfy ourselves that we indeed live in violent times. Over a long period in journalism I have seen the reality of falling crime rates go hand-in-hand with public perceptions of their increase . Some politicians and sections of the media love to play the crime card: a fearful population are an impressionable lot.
I believe  the perception of violent crime today matches the reality. For a long time, I have toyed with the notion that times of war and lauded militarism create parallel violence in civilian populations.  My days of meandering through the halls of higher learning are long gone but I would like a phD student test my  theory in a thesis.  What the civilian ‘Libyan “liberators”, of the  National Transitional Council, the Gonzoid rants on the London Olympics 2012.

WARNING: This video has been identified as potentially offensive or inappropriate by some viewers.

Most of the assailants appear to be unarmed civilians watched by gun toters in military-style dress.

This was an inauspicious start for Libyan democracy.
Meet our patron
Thomas  Hobbes  is a 17th century English philosopher. I say “is’’ as Tough Tom  is alive in many people’s heads.
Hobbes wrote that you should bash people long and hard before they have a chance to fuck you over. Hobbes went on that, in a sophisticated society, the State could do  the pre-emptive bashing on your behalf. He wrote these things  in my version of his book Leviathan. My version only exists in my head but you can download  another edition here http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3207
The Religious Right owe a great debt to Hobbes. This is why they like to shooy at things while they spread the a-Hobbesian gospel of the free market.
You can see why Thomas Hobbes is an excellent patron for the London Olympics 2012. 
In rant #2, we introduce the Games national anthems of England, the United States and Australia.

Olympic shorts
GREATER London 16-year-old Mahamed Awale recently tweeted: USAIN BOLT IZ A V GD FRIEND OF MINE HIM BCOMIN A RUNNA WOZ MA IDEA.
I don’t know that time line and geographic distance pans out to validate Awale’s contention.
But Mahamed was kicked off one of those reality TV shows in the first round. Being booted first-up from the BBC Series2 of  Young Apprentice gives the lad a lot of cred in my book.
THIS reminds me of when I covered the final Goodwill Games in Brisbane in 2001.
American Ted Turner began the Goodwill Games in Moscow  in 1986 in response to the politicisation of the Olympics after the 1979 Russian invasion of Afghanistan.
The games were bought from Ted Turner by Time Warner when Turner’s company merged with TW in 1986. TW promised to keep the Goodwill Games alive
The corporation descended from Warner Bros which brought the world, hungry for justice, John Wayne movies. That lineage was interested in namby-pamby sports détente and they canned the games when ratings tanked in America.
At the final Brisbane Games I interviewed reigning  Olympic 100m champion American Maurice Greene who broke down in Goodwill Games preparation and did not compete.
It was at the Goodwill Games that I suggested Greene become a runner. No, wait, that cannot be right. I suggested, as he wasn’t competing at the Games, we go to Brisbane’s best Chinese restaurant and do a runner before the bill came. Maurice declined.
THE Olympic Gold medals and memorabilia of  Australia’s first ever double Olympic Medal winner Bobby Pearce (1905-1976), will be auctioned at Bonhams Olympic Games Sale on 25 July 2012. The Olympic Games sale will be held at Bonhams Knightsbridge, London, saleroom in case you  wish to pop down. that way.
Rower Pearce went to the Amsterdam 1928 Games and won the Gold from American entrant Kenneth Myers who was said to be so disgusted that he smashed his boat.
 Pearce won skulls gold again at the Los Angeles Olympiad in 1932.
Pearce’s Olympic Gold stuff is expected to fetch  £30,000 – 50,000 ($44,000 – $73,000 AUD and much the same in US dollars). I have Maurice Greene’s autograph on an Goodwill Games cap if the under-bidder is interested.
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Bernie Dowling, July 23, 2012.