Preparations are well under way for the 2012 Games. Which is good to know, because they'll be celebrating their 400th anniversary. Robert Dover's Cotswold Olimpick Games, held each Whitsuntide at Chipping Campden, may be a shade younger than the Greek original, but they've got centuries on Baron de Coubertin's parvenu version. And they certainly sound more fun – wake up, International Olympic Committee, why haven't you got ashin-kicking contest? Competitors wearing white shepherd's smocks grip each other by the shoulders and, well, try to kick each other's shins; first to fall over loses. The referee is known as the stickler, but suggestions that Max Mosley has been asked to officiate because he's a well-known stickler for punishment are thought to be wide of the mark.
Number of free condoms given to Olympic athletes and officials at the Athens Games in 2004. No word from Beijing yet, though; perhaps it's one of the few areas in which they have yet to formulate a protectionist policy as far as foreigners are concerned.
Board game of the week
Little Tom Daley carries Britain's diving hopes in Beijing but he'd be rubbish at next week's other diving event, Canada's National Cannonball Championships. Because size matters in what is just a posh name for doing bum-first bombs from a 5m board. Contestants are measured for style, flair, size of splash and overall impression. The defending champion, Brian Utley – The Hurtin' Albertan – weighs in at 383lb. A bigger splash indeed.
Good week for
Luol Deng, 23-year-old basketball player from Croydon, signed a £40m six-year contract with Chicago Bulls... Yelena Isinbayeva, Russian pole vaulter and Olympic favourite, set her 23rd world record... and Mark Bosnich, formerly of Chelsea, returned to goalkeeping in Australia with Central Coast Marinersand saved a penalty.
Bad week for
Cadel Evans, Australian runner-up in this year's Tour de France, misses Olympic time trial after injuring his knee... Maria Sharapova, Russian tennis player, also misses Beijing with a shoulder injury... Billy Graham, boxing trainer, sacked by Ricky Hatton after 11 years... Joey Barton, Newcastle midfielder, charged by the FA for a May 2007 assault on Ousmane Dabo... and Michael Schumacher, knocked over a car dealer while driving a van in Kent.
Fixture of the week
Chelsea will be playing like a bunch of big girls next Sunday, probably because they are a bunch of big girls. Their ladies' team, that is, who are taking on a Chelsea Old Boys side – insert jokes about Chelsea Pensioners as you wish – at Imber Court in East Molesey, Surrey, kick-off 3pm. The Old Boys squad include Peter Bonetti and Dave Beasant (they may well need two goalkeepers in the starting XI) and it's all for charidee – proceeds will go to help former players. Given their wages, the current first-team squad at Stamford Bridge are thought unlikely to require any such financial assistance in the future.Reuse content