In The table of Olympic Nations. Who’s Shooting Up?

As I am typing this, the countdown-o’meter to the Rio Olympics tells me that there are just 4 days to go until the XXIX Olympics. That’s number 29 in old money. It kinda made me stop and think back to those much earlier games. A time when the Olympic motto of “Citius, altius, fortius” – meaning “swifter, higher, stronger” hadn’t yet been substituted with the new motto of ‘testosterone, human growth hormone, and cough mixture?  And as the event gets ever nearer it will reach the point where we’ll all sit down and kid ourselves that every competitor has a fair chance of winning a medal and that all the events that  unfold are as a result of fair yet hard play and an adherence to a punishing training schedule and austere lifestyle in the pursuit of Olympic glory, blah de bleedin blah.

You know, there was once a time when true amateurism was cherished, and held dear and even today we pointlessly try to imbue our children with the ideal of that eternal quote from Baron Pierre de Couberti that:  ‘The most important thing is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.’ Yeah right. Because we all know that winning is now the ‘only’ thing while managers and coaches frequently remind their charges that nobody ever remembers the guy who came second.

But let’s just briefly get back to those amateur ideals that started it all in the first place. Ah yes indeed. It gets you all gooey eyed doesn’t it? Because sadly as we approach this summer’s Olympics nothing could be further from that Amateur ideal. To me and millions of others, the Olympic Games have become little more than an obscene product placement event and a sponsor’s wet dream. And all before I even mention the four yearly gathering of so-called amateur athletes, a very large percentage of whom have spent the previous four years as much with their local chemist, as their personal coach, developing the requisite skills that will enable them to essentially turn their piss into Lucozade once the drug testers show up.

Let’s face it. The entire event should be re-named the ‘World Pharmaceutical Championships’ because that’s what it has essentially become. This year in Rio, as in recent previous games, the amount of discovered drug-cheats will increase but not by as much as those who evade capture because as the Jason Gatland’s of this world have shown, it’s worth the risk? And to top it all the gutless IOC has just shown us that its own testicles have shrunken to the size as those cheating male athletes who are pumped full of Dianabol. It’s decision not to ban the Russians from competing shows that it doesn’t have the best interests of the athletes at heart and that’s before one questions the process of selecting Rio in the first place. A process laced with political intrigue,  kick-backs and bribes. Sounds all a bit FIFA don’t you think? 

Yet I won’t be watching a single second of any of it. Not because I don’t have some admiration and due respect to the hours upon hours of training that the genuine athletes have put into their quest for Olympic glory but because I just cannot know who these genuine athletes are anymore. Nowadays a ‘clean athelete’ is someone who has just stepped out of the shower.This makes viewing uncomfortably difficult because with every shock result will come a question mark. With every broken games and world record, enough collective eyebrows will be raised around the stadium to lift the roof just a few inches higher. Out of this world performances will be met with suspicion and head shaking disbelief. Any unfamiliar athlete that improves upon his or her previous times for any event by a margin of over a millisecond must be ‘on something’.

 And when it comes to being on something, doesn’t it make you ponder that surely never in the history of sport has a collection of over ten thousand of the world’s  fittest people ever been riddled with so many asthma, bronchial and chest infections, runny noses and other ‘things’ all which enable them to consume enough questionable ‘medicine’ to keep the World Health Organisation funded for the next hundred years. Shouldn’t all of these people be at home in bed with a hot Lemsip and a cosy duvet pulled over them? And yet, an oddly strange co-incidence, occurs because the most unfortunate side effects of their ‘medicine’ means that if you’re a sprinter for example,’ then your inability to read the ingredients label, means that your head cold medicine will enable you to run the 100m in 4.7 seconds….backwards!! Naturally once the cheat, oops sorry patient, is caught then his personal trainer, his GP, the team doctor, his lawyer, his girlfriend and his fellow cheats, will all come to his aid and point out that it was all a ‘simple mis-understanding’ as the poor illiterate athlete didn’t realise that one of the chemicals in his medicine called: ‘howcanitakethisstuffwithoutbeingexposedasacheatingbastard’wasn’t checked against the IOC banned list of drugs!

And you know what? The odds of him getting away with it are pretty darn good. Sadly the drugs cheats are everywhere. We’ve even had show jumping horses being doped up to their manes for God sake!  Tennis cheats, snooker cheats, football cheats and rugby cheats. Cricket has so far escaped because the only people tasking drugs here are the spectators who need all the help they can get to watch a match that lasts five days and ends in a bloody draw! And beware that it won’t be long before the first evidence appears of competitors deliberately throwing away a dead cert gold medal in return for a handsome pay-out from some far-east betting syndicate. So let’s all call a spade a spade, or a cheat a cheat shall we? What’s the point in pretending anymore? It’s like the police chasing around and nicking people who smoke grass while the crack cocaine dealers are standing outside the school playground?

Here’s my simple proposal. They’ll be no more gold, silver or bronze medals. This year at Brazil XXIX, the winner of an event will be awarded four years supply of Dianabol. Second will receive free Zika virus innoculations and third place will get a bloody good telling off as well as ten minutes personal tuition in how to find a vein. All discovered drug cheats will receive a certificate of ‘incompetence’. Everybody else will be given a prescription for a month’s supply of cocaine to go and party and forget the names of the cheaters and the whole sorry Olympic experience. I’ve already started looking at the most convenient bars around Rio! 


1st  August 2016