By the time you read this, the olympics will be history. Beijing will have returned to a cloud of smog as industries resume their relentless race to take first place in the world’s most polluted city. During the games, performance-enhancing drugs were kept at bay on threat not only of expulsion but Chinese torture of the most insidious kind.
Their record of human rights abuse was not worth putting to the test, I guess. And to this the Dalai Lama will attest. Give credit where it’s due, however, the Chinese put on a pretty good show – from opening to closing ceremony it all went off with a bang. After all, they did invent fireworks. And how did our athletes perform? At the time of writing I can only hope our flag was proudly raised at the winner’s podium. London’s next – a pretty hard act to follow. The Tri-Nations is history too. By now we’ll know who won it on our home turf, and whether coach De Villiers still has his job. Post mortems aside, our sporting ascendancy is on the rise.
No more so than in cricket. To beat the Pommies in the Test series for the first time there in 43 years was no mean feat. Hats off, guys, to Graeme Smith for his magnificent century and a half in the nail-biting finish at Edgbaston. But our footballers, though, have a long way to go to impress. Soundly clobbered by visiting Manchester United on their summer holiday tour, dare we hope to make the second round in the World Cup in 2010? In fairness to our local footies, though, if one eliminated all the foreign players in United’s team, perhaps our boys would have stood a better chance. Just the other day, I took a drive to my cattle camp to check on how the cows were calving and found neighbour Jan jogging on the road, in shorts and sweaty T-shirt, bandana round his head.
“What are you doing, Jan?” I asked. “Training for the London Olympics,” was his breathless reply. “For the marathon or the 100m?” I sniggered. He was in no mood for banter but I carried on. “Perhaps the shot put then?” I goaded. “With the physique of a Brahman bull and a temperament to match, you should do quite well.” I was now skating on thin ice. “Any more snide remarks from you, Townie, and I’ll show you just how far I can shot put you into the cactus over there.” Too much testosterone, I thought. If he’d competed in China he’d never have passed the drug test. – Derek Christopher |fw