Enough Olympics. Many of you scheduled days off from work, took the phone off the hook, and obtained divorces in order to concentrate on the games. I just can't get excited.
For weeks we've heard about the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan business. We're supposed to get all slushy and sentimental about two women who have been exempted from most human responsibilities so they can spend the first 22 years of their life sliding around on ice like smiling hockey pucks. One of the hot topics these days is the idea that Tonya Harding is experiencing prejudice because of her bad family background. No doubt. After all, haven't most of the world heavyweight boxing champions of past years got ahead because they came from such good families? Of the so-called sports in the Olympics, figure skating is particularly dumb. I refuse to take seriously any sport that is played to the tune of Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty waltz. Another problem is the skating costumes. Not that they are bad in themselves - the television stations seem to get a kick out of showing Tonya Harding in that see-through number.
But it seems silly that so-called athletes of both sexes should try to outdo each other in wearing the sexiest costume. (Something like that might be in order to get Americans to watch the World Cup, though.) Figure skating is really dancing on steel blades.
Now, if it's dancing we want, maybe we should have Olympic ballet or Olympic tap dancing events. No, you say, it's the skates that make all the difference. Well, then let's put them on, say, chefs and have Olympic ice dessert baking events. 'It looks goodfrom here, Dave, but you know, grating almonds at speeds upwards of 40 km/h is no picnic. These last minutes are crucial. Four years ago Lars Nykvist fell just as the blancmange was coming out of the oven, costing Sweden the gold medal.' Finally, any event where people are judged by other people holding up cards is not a sport. That method of judging is more appropriate to beauty contests. Let's take diving, another so-called sport. There's a judge - and God knows where they get them from- and she has sworn to evaluate each diver equally and impartially. The first day goes well. But suppose that night, the chairman of the diving committee gets her drunk, and the next morning her head feels like much of Eastern Europe.
Then she calls her kid back home to find he hasn't fed the dog since she left for the Olympics a week ago. Breakfast is an hour late, and the eggs are burned. The first diver is a dead ringer for her ex-husband. You're asking this poor woman to decide fairly who is going to go into Guinness Book of World Records? The Olympics has always been steeped in hypocrisy. The athletes were always supposed to be amateurs. Yet governments trained them for years at the taxpayers' expense. By that definition, the Canadian Air Force were amateurs. Then the spirit of universal brotherhood through sport became a joke as we all realised just what competitors would stoop to for a gold medal. Old joke: Why does the Soviet men's team always win? Because if they don't, they become the Soviet women's team.
The other question is why the athletes should not take money, since everyone else is in it for cash and publicity. The Americans have made a fine art of selling off bits of the Olympics to corporate sponsors, until we have 'Rubber Demon, the official Toilet Plunger of this year's Winter Olympics.' The Olympics should be reformed immediately. Some possible steps to take to eliminate hypocrisy are: 1. Allow drugs, hormones, sex changes.
2. Forbid a country to compete if it imprisons dissidents, engages in war, pollutes land, air or water, kills whales, dolphins or elephants, discriminates against minorities, manufactures or sells arms, or restricts trade. That would streamline things a bit.
3. Add new entertaining events such as pie-eating, hairstyling, javelin-catching, and Nintendo.
4. Ban Tchaikovsky.