And so the Olympic Games are finally upon us. Some highlights so far:
- Australian Michael Rogers bravely coming sixth in the men's road race behind some rather insipid and dishonest foreigners.
- Australian Michael Diamond bravely coming fourth in the men's trap shoot behind some unhinged and dangerous overseas types.
- Polish volleyballer Anna Podolec's shorts.
These highlights had varying aftermaths. Rogers took his agonising and frankly unfair defeat with good grace and humour, whereas Diamond climbed the Great Wall and began picking off tourists, killing eighteen before turning his gun on himself. Podolec's shorts, on the other hand, are unlikely to end well.
The BIGGEST news, of course, is Aussie "golden girl" Stephanie Rice, who overcame the handicap of having to fit a swimming cap over sixty kilograms of hair to break a world record and claim gold in the women's 400m individual medley. Touchingly, Rice says that her family and friends are "among the most important things for her". Which is nice.
Not THE most important thing of course. Just among them. Somewhere above underwear commercials, but a little below wearing sexy policewoman costumes, on the importance scale.
But in any case, she did marvellously well, as did Aussie "golden girl" Libby Trickett", nee Lenton, who managed to win the 100m butterfly without once hiding from photographers inside a tent. For her efforts, Trickett will receive an Order of Australia Medal and a fine wedge of Swiss cheese to gnaw on. She celebrated her victory by hitting the bars of Beijing, where she spent the night lifting cars above her head and tearing bouncers apart with her bare hands.
Other observations from the Olympics' first few days:
- It only takes about seven minutes for judo to go from "why am I watching these two idiots make feeble attempts to grab each other's sleeves?" to "oh no, quick, grab her sleeve she's going to trip you now throw her OH NO SHE GOT YOU DOWN WE LOST!"
- A volleyball team's libero makes not much sense even after you've looked it up on Wikipedia.
- The designers of the cycling road race route, in what seems an eminently sensible approach, are intent on killing as many cyclists as possible.
All this and still so much more to go. Will Michael Phelps achieve his goal of forty gold medals by winning every swimming event, the synchronised diving and the heptathlon? Can Aussie "golden girl" Liesel Jones achieve the gold medal that has eluded her for so many years, sparing the world another four years' sulking? Are the coxless pairs as amusing as they sound? I for one cannot look away.