Dom Joly's Alternative Olympic Highlights
The Games have been full of excellence and endeavour. But what about the cock-ups? The bad losers? And George Bush?
Saturday 16 August 2008
Most inappropriate greeting
This has to go to the Spanish basketball team, who starred in a pre-Games advert pulling back the skin around their eyes to make "slitty eyes". Nobody in the team seemed to think this might be racially offensive. The Chinese Olympic committee has not responded, but there was a sneak preview of the official photograph of the Chinese judo squad hurling donkeys off a church tower while laughing heinously.
Sour grapes gold medal
Not all of Russia's Olympians were quite as magnanimous as Natalia Paderina (Most fateful clash, below). The superpower's beach volleyball team were less than thrilled to have been beaten by the Brazilian-born Andrezza Chagas and Christine Santanna, who were representing Georgia. "They are not Georgians and probably don't even know what the capital is," said one churlish Russian opponents. "Ay, caramba..." replied one of the Georgians, "of course we know what the capital is, it is Atlanta and they make very good peaches ..."
Hi-tech facility malfunction
The one thing the Chinese could not control – despite their best attempts – is the weather. After a sauna-like start, the rain finally burst into the BBC studio, where Hazel Irvine was commentating on UK golden-girl cyclist Rachel Cooke. Help, however, was at hand, in the shape of an assistant and a rather snazzy bright purple wastepaper basket to catch the drips. These snazzy items have been handed out by Chinese organisers for just such an event ... not really, but it wouldn't surprise me. Authorities sealed the leak by forcing hundreds of "volunteers" to lie on the roof and form a human ceiling.
Most fateful clash
Nino Salukvadze of Georgia took bronze while Russia's Natalia Paderina collected silver in the 10-metre air pistol event. There was talk of another invasion when the Russian got on to the Georgian podium, but it was only to give her a hug. Salukvadse said ominously: "Politicians should straighten out the situation, or else we'll have to get involved." Reports indicate that several brigades of Georgian air pistollers are in Tbilisi. Russia has instructed its forces to stay 11 metres away.
Benjamin Boukpeti had already achieved the "best result ever" for Togo in the Olympics. In a huge shock, the kayaker won a bronze. Benjamin is actually French, with a father from Togo, but since he found himself ineligible for the French training programme after an injury, he decided to represent Togo. He was so excited by his win that he nearly drowned in his flag. He is expected to take up his position as Minister for Sport in Togo within two weeks.
Michaela Breeze, the only British woman Olympic weightlifter at Beijing, broke through the pain barrier to compete, despite an injured back, just to register a score. She had no chance of a medal but felt she had to continue "because it's the Olympics". Breeze found the whole thing anything but a breeze. She looked in pain all the way through the event with the crowd watching her trainer try to "crack" her back into shape on the TV screens. Despite her heroic efforts she might lose her lottery funding, which would be a shame because she'd really like to writhe around in pain at London 2012 as well.
Katie Hoff, "the US female Michael Phelps", doesn't have a single gold medal so far. Hoff said of her bad luck: "It's probably something to do with the water here ... and my swimming in it ... really slowly ..." Phelps was contacted for advice and admitted he uses his large ears as extra propellants and that Hoff might need ear surgery.
George Bush was invited to slap one of the US women's beach volleyball team on her lower back. He was told it was traditional. He duly obliged, but has been trying to hide the photographs from his wife, Laura, ever since. She is already in a mood after she had to point out that he was waving an American flag upside down. The Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, was surprised to have her blouse lifted and be given a hearty slap on the coccyx before being dispatched to Georgia.
Svetlana Tsarukaeva, the 20-year-old Russian weightlifter, was the favourite to capture gold in the 63kg class of women's weightlifting. Sadly things didn't go to plan and she was so crushed at blowing it that she stormed off weeping and smashed her head against a wall as she left the platform. Russian authorities pointed out that the wall had tried to declare independence during the Russian's performance and she was simply quelling an "unfortunate internal matter" that is not anybody else's business thank you very much.
Italy's trap shooter, the gloriously named Francisco Francesco D'Anielo, dropped to his knees after winning a silver medal and wept like a demented infant for ages. The commentator tried to explain: "You've got to remember, this is one of the toughest sports of all." Other competitors looked on in disgust. One anonymous source said: "He is behaving like a baby and making us all look like muppets, he needs to watch his back, I know some 10m air pistollers ..."
Unlikely product placement
The 14-year-old British diving wunderkind, Tom Daley, was tucking into some prawn cocktail Walkers crisps during an interview with the BBC. This was seen as a canny attempt to wrestle the lucrative advertising prize off Gary Lineker and was thought to be the reason for the bust-up with his dive partner, Blake Alridge. Alridge was keen to sign a deal with pickled onion Monster Munch. None of this mattered because the pair came last and were seen showering on TV as Dancing Queen played on the pool's PA – all very odd ...
Equipment malfunction moment
Olympic über-legend Michael Phelps admitted he could have won his 200m butterfly final by a bigger margin, if his goggles hadn't leaked. Forlorn Phelps made do with a new world record and another gold medal. He said afterwards: "I've thrown those goggles away. I'll use a new pair in the next final I win."
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