Friday, 1 August 2008

Exclusive Sports News Olympic Preview

Yo, here be the lowdown on the 'lympics - is what I would say if I was some sort of hip streetster. But I'm not. I'm 32 years old and - according to family legend - prone to an occasional attack of gout. Nevertheless, I am an experienced sports journo and I carry a lot of clout in this little world; what I say is the truth. Or it will come true. Anyway, leap years are brilliant, aren't they? I was born in a leap year; there's an extra day in February; European Championship Football every leap year and, best of all, there are the Olympics every leap year.

And proper Olympics. None of this Winter Olympics nonsense. Did Archimedes and Plato (I'm assuming these people invented the Olympics) want man to go as fast downhill as he could on a pair of skis? Did they want men in leotards to dance to music on ice? Did they want men from different nations, usually Nordic nations, to pit themselves in a battle which consisted of skiing cross-country, stopping for a breather every few miles and shooting an air gun at a kind of dartboard? Did they heck as like. I tell you, the best thing the flipping IOC ever did was move the Winter Games (I refuse to acknowledge them as the Winter Olympics) two years ahead. Or was it two years behind? Plus one of the great things about the Olympics is the taking part - there is nothing funnier than watching a competitor from an underdeveloped nation being completely out of his depth: Eric the Eel, I've watched you on youtube, like, a million times! You crack me up. But even underdeveloped nations get a chance to shine at the Olympics - just look at the Kenyan distance runners. Actually, my mate's Dad told him when he was a kid that the reason the Africans were so fast was because "they get chased by lions in the jungle." And I'm not making that up. True story.

And so, this particular feature will take a look at some of the potential highlights at the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, China. I can't wait to see what those crazy faux-communist/capitalists have lined up for us. But we can be sure of one thing: those Chinese athletes are going to be doped up to the eyeballs and, man, they ain't gonna fail no drug test. Here are some of the events/competitors that you and I should look forward to.

Cycling - Victoria Pendleton

Sexy woman? On a bike? Getting sweaty? In figure-hugging lycra? And, what's that, she has a good chance of a gold medal and she's British?! And she also likes baking cakes. Everyone's ideal woman is a sweaty cake baker clad in lycra, yes? We should all pay very close attention to the delightful Ms Pendleton, if her recent appearance nekkid on the cover of Observer Sport Monthly is anything to go by. All I know is that she cycles at the velodrome - and not on the road - and recently won gold at the World Championship in Manchester.

Did I mention the figure-hugging lycra? Plus this will be a great opportunity for all us alpha males to make lewd, but respectful, comments along the lines of: "I'd ride her," "What a bike," "I'd pump her flat tyre anytime" and "I'd buy her tyre-weld for Christmas."

Look out for my 'Victoria Pe(n)dals to(n) Victory!' headline very soon.

Mens 100 metres running fast

The blue-riband event of the track, if not the entire games. And this year it should be highly competitive - a potential classic, perhaps. So will it be Gay? Or Powell? Or Bolt? Thanks to the record-breaking early season form of Usain Bolt, this promises to be the best 100 metre final since the '88 Olympics in Seoul. Will former record holder Asafa Powell reclaim his record or will he once again wilt under the pressure at a championship event? Will World Champion Tyson Gay be able to repeat his 9.68 seconds at the US trials without the aid of wind assistance and have the Castro district of San Francisco post-ironically chanting his name? Or will Usain Bolt become Jamaica's biggest sporting hero since John Candy in Cool Runnings and, heh, run off with the crown of the world's fastest man?

Look out for my 'Lightning Strikes Twice: Bolt Wins Sprint Double!' headline very soon.

4 Men and a Little Baby

No, not a sequel to the rubbish film starring Tom 'Magnum' Selleck and Steve 'Police Academy' Guttenberg, but that rowing event with four big fellas and a cox. You know the one: Redgrave and Pinsent used to do this one. We always seem to do well in this; another gold for Britain perhaps?

Look out for my lame 'Britain Sails to Gold!' headline. Even though they're not sailing. They're rowing. Look, I'll have a think and come up with something better by then, okay?

Ooh, ooh, I've got it! Some sort of 'Awesome Foursome' headline. Yes, it has probably been used a million times by lowbrow publications, but I'm going with it. It's not like ESN isn't lowbrow. Actually, we're more no-brow than lowbrow.

Mens Decathlon

What are the odds of Dean Macey's hamstring/elbow/neck/fingernail/penis giving him some gyp and him just missing out on a medal yet again? 1/50, you say? Cheers, I'll put my Fiat Panda on that, please. Still, we'll all be cheering him on and going "God, I miss Daley Thompson, remember him? He was awesome! Yeah, in the eighties. Wow, the eighties, man" until the last lap of the 1500 metres when we'll be going "Run, you lumbering, dopey sod! Aww, fucking fourth again! Yeah, that bastard German got third."

Look out for my 'Deanied: Macey Misses Out on Medal!' headline very soon.

And what happens? Two days after writing this Macey fails to make the Olympic Qualifying standard. He even had to have four injections in his groin just to complete the 1500 metres. The poor, poor lad.


This new Speedo bodysuit is meant to give you the edge, so I've been told. Heck, I dunno. In my day you'd eat Kellogs Start (as endorsed by Steve Cram), drink Lucozade Sport and rub dog doo on your rivals' bathers to give you the edge - they'd be too embarrassed to race stinking like that. But then, I suppose, Lucozade Sport is practically doping. These days I'd probably go for a few glasses of vodka and Red Bull. In fact, that does give me an edge. Well, it takes the edge off if I've had a few the night before. Roll on lunchtime!

Still, I dunno about you, but I'll be poolside brushing my elbows against Sharon Davies' breasts. Again.

Bulgarian Weightlifting Team

Umm ... apparently there isn't one this year. 75% of them failed a pre-games drugs test so they all miss out. Which reminds me of ruining a school disco for everyone when I was 14. And there was a weightlifting club in the hall every Tuesday lunchtime and it was the hall they used to hold the disco in, so there's some sort of connection here, right?

Sport, eh?

The 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 Relays

Aren't relay races just the best? The running out of lanes; the dropped batons; the hustle and bustle of the handover on the last lap of a four by four with all the athletes jockeying for position ... this is why sport is so great: you couldn't write a script for drama like that. And, remember, we're the reigning 4 x 100 champs! No Mark Fatty Lewis-Francis this time, mind. Or Jason Gardener. Or Darren Campbell. Oh, balls. But what has happened since the golden, halycon days of our 4 x 400 team when we had awesome relay runners such as Todd 'He's like Roger Black but a lot shorter and, hence, slower' Bennett, Brian 'One Shoe' Whittle, Phil 'Last Leg' Brown, John 'I don't usually run this far but I'll take one for the team and give it a go' Regis and other, brilliant runners who couldn't run sub-45 400 metres in an individual race if they tried forever, but would run 44.1, or something daft, in a relay?

Whatever happened to my boyhood heroes? God, I miss Derek Redmond. And Mark Richardson. And Duane Ladejo. Can't say I miss Akabusi, though. Twit.

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