I hadn’t realised that the Olympic Games was on, because it has all been somewhat low-key. Don’t worry if you too hadn’t noticed – it’s so far been excruciating but very 21st century, and that’s not just the skateboarding and BMXing.
Russia has been banned, so all the Russians who haven’t been caught chewing horse steroids are competing as the Russia Olympic Committee, or ROC.
Outside Brussels, you won’t find better fudge. I’m praying for just one failed dope test or a cheeky penis popping out during the women’s floor exercise.
In taekwondo, everybody was raving about the guaranteed silver for one of our athletes who had reached his final. And it was that mindset that guaranteed the silver. Well, that and the fact that our martial artists style themselves as ‘athletes’, while the rest of the world see their pyjama prancers as ‘fighters’. Of course, the ‘fighters’ are the ones who are hauling in the golds.
Shock of the tournament so far was Simon Biles withdrawing from the team gymnastics event, citing her mental health after completing a vault that had less poise than Spiderman’s throat kick at the Asda in Clapham Junction.
According to Simone, stronger people and better competitors know when to stop rather than battling on. We’ll have to remember that and jeer the next mug who battles through adversity to claim glory, the prick.
Still, all that lovely unassailable gloss looked like a converted assault to boss the high ground until she dropped this perky truth bomb:
‘After the performance I did, I just didn’t want to go on’.
Oh dear – that sounded like plain old disappointment to me. She came for gold and the truth dawned that it wasn’t on. If she had suffered a mental collapse why wasn’t she on the first plane home to the nearest couch? Answers on a postcard, please.
It’s certainly a mental issue, but her own words speak of this stemming from a dip in form rather than it signposting a disintegrating psyche.
If the prospect of losing has led to a sharp deterioration in her mental health, it’s a much greater tragedy than her just unexpectedly losing her marbles. It all feels avoidable.
Perhaps sports headshrinking is not what it used to be? I recall Freud’s definition of the aims of psychoanalysis, which were to take patients from a state of hysterical misery to one of common unhappiness.
Level-headed folk understand that a dab of failure is part and parcel of life. These Games have been characterised by stars who bail out when the chips are down and competitors who see heroic failure as worthy of celebration.
Oh, and some ridiculous events.
It all seems a tad bonkers, but does rather spell out the cost of gold and exemplifies why those whoop-whooping bronze and silver are never likely to get their mitts on the big one.