Thursday, 2 August 2012

Olympic Update 10: Sacrifices for Success

The recent controversy surrounding the fixing of badminton matches at the Olympics has resulted in China’s filthy, lying cheat Yu Yang announcing her retirement from the fun seaside pastime, or ‘sport’ as it has been labelled for the purposes of the Games. Subsequent to their disqualification along with six other players, Yu Yang and her partner, the interestingly named Wang Xiaoli, were made to publicly apologise on Chinese television while wearing the Dunce Hat of Dishonour, the most humiliating garment available in China’s extensive wardrobe of shame. Yu Yang later blogged “Goodbye my beloved badminton” before chopping off her badminton arm with the Rusty Hacksaw of Disgrace. 

Jamie Oliver had borrowed the Kitchen Knife of Discredit, so Xiaoli had to find something else to use

The removal of her arm was taken in her stride by Yang, as Chinese athletes are trained from an early age to be tough both physically and mentally. Indeed, almost from birth Chinese children undergo character building levels of physical training in order to become the ultimate athletes; by the age of seven they are able to withstand a punch in the stomach from a rowdy drunk, being run over by a wheelbarrow full of broken televisions, and are able to tie themselves into a guide knot. During this rigorous training regime it is not unknown for a few of the children to break, but they are simply discarded and another takes its place. It is for the honour of the nation, after all.

But this is nothing compared to what some athletes are forced to endure in the name of achieving sporting greatness on behalf of their nations. Take a look at what Russia’s judo medalist, Arsen Galstyan has been required to wear at London 2012:

Many have branded Galstyan’s treatment ‘a disgrace to the modern games’ and ‘simply unbelievable.’ As if the tracksuit was not humiliating enough, the Russian was forced to wear a big ‘70s-style medallion and hold a bunch of flowers while singing ‘I’m a Little Teapot’. Outrageous.

And it’s not just backward foreigners who suffer humiliation for international sporting glory, British Hockey team member Laura Unsworth has admitted to imposing a ban on curly-haired team mate Ashleigh Ball from straightening her hair before a match because she thinks it’s bad luck. The mental hockeyer, who also admits to going to the toilet at certain times as part of a pre-match ritual, recently took her sanctions on her colleague’s grooming too far when she began insisting that Ball did not shave her armpits for two weeks before an important match. The ban was later lifted, however, when the straggly armpit hair became so long that it impeded Ball’s ability to swing her hockey bat, and made spectators feel a bit sick when it protruded from her tee shirt.

Multi-medallist Bradley Wiggins was also faced with a tough decision early in his career, as he used to have only one sideburn. However, the sideburn, which resided on the left side of his face, caused a huge problem of imbalance, and Wiggins repeatedly fell off his bike mid-race as a result. It was at the tender age of 19 years-old that his trainer took him to one side and firmly told him that he’d have to grow a sideburn on the right as well, in order to stabilise himself whilst cycling. Since then Wiggo has never looked back. Our cycling hero plans to retire after the London Olympics, and intends to shave off both of his sideburns in celebration of the end of his career. “I’m considering setting down to a quiet life,” he told the press yesterday, “And perhaps I’ll grow half a moustache.”

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