Citius, Altius, Fortius: That’s What She Said

So the Olympic Games begin in London next week, and in the build-up to the event, sports fans from all over the world can think of only one thing: Why does the Olympic logo look like Picasso sneezed on a canvas? It doesn’t matter though, because the Olympics is the most watched sporting event ever, if you ignore the FIFA World Cup, the Cricket World Cup, the English Premier League, the Champions League, Euro Cup, F1, IPL, Ranji Trophy, Deodhar Trophy, Shivaji Park Dusty Pitch to Left of Stray Dog Licking Itself Cup, and search results for “Sushil Kumar hot pixxx”.

As you know, the Olympics originated and flourished in ancient Greece, until the Romans took over and replaced it with more exciting events, such as feeding people to lions. And now, the Olympics is a great opportunity for the best athletes from around the world to gather under one roof and boink each other. At least those are the claims of an ex-Olympian and anonymous author of ‘The Secret Olympics’ (which has received a fair bit of press despite the fact that it isn’t titled ’50 Shades of Grey’)

See, this shows that all is right with the world. It would be weird if a bunch of young, attractive people primed to physical perfection lived together and did NOT have sex. That would fly in the face of everything we’ve learnt about biology, or reality TV. However, this does raise some questions. For example, do they give out medals for a good performance? Has Leander found a partner for this? Is it Pinki Pramanik?

Not all Londoners are kicked about the event though, and understandably so. The arrival of the athletes in the city caused a 51-kilometre long traffic jam in London last week, leaving thousands of motorists stranded and seething for hours. Hey English people, calm down. Do you know what Indians call a massive jam full of angry people? Partition.

The Olympic Opening Ceremony is being directed by Danny Boyle, and has a segment dedicated to Anil Kapoor saying the word ‘millionaire’ (pronounced “MILLIONAAARRRRRGHGGHHHgarglegarglespit”) Also, this is a good time to bring up a burning issue: why is lawn bowls an Olympic sport?

No, seriously. The Olympics, for all its glory and tradition, also seems to be the result of severe cerebral trauma. Case in point: lawn bowls. This is a sport wherein players roll a ball towards a bunch of other balls, and then… um, that’s it. Think marbles, but directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. If sports were people, lawn bowls would be Atal Behari Vajpayee. On sleep medication.

Another actual Olympic sport is racewalking, which involves walking really fast and then cars explode in the background. Ok no, just walking really fast. It is derived from the ancient Greek sport of ‘Running To Catch A Train At Dadar While Also Getting A Hernia’.

It’s not all weird though. There are some non-frivolous games that I will be following for journalistic reasons, like women’s beach volleyball. I’ll do this despite the very real risk that I may be exposed to legs that run longer than freight trains. (Olympic Trivia: India did not send beach volleyball teams abroad because we find it difficult to play on sand that does not contain broken bottles or dead Russians.)

We do have some great talents though. There’s Abhinav Bindra, current world and Olympic world champion, and possibly the only Punju man who did not learn to shoot inside a discotheque. Then there’s Jwala Gutta, who is hoping to create history by becoming the first Olympic medallist named after a Mithun villain. I’d write something about Saina Nehwal too, once I get my jaw off the floor. And despite all the petulance, I do hope Leander wins a medal, so that Sania Mirza can sock him on the head with it.

Our archers have said that if they win, they will take off their shirts ala Saurav Ganguly at Lord’s. To which the Indian government replied, “We bought them shirts?” Five-time successive World Boxing Champion Mary Kom is raring to go as well. What’s interesting is that two of her titles came after motherhood. This just goes to show that having kids makes you want to punch things really hard.

There are many more that I haven’t named, but the fact that they all made it this far – despite the government’s best efforts to ensure otherwise – is no small feat. I wish them all the best. Or as they say in India, MILLIONAAARRRRRGHGGHHHgarglegarglechoke.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 22nd July 2012)