London’s Big Sporty Thing (part 6)

London Olympic mascot BoJo. When he’s around, even gravity doesn’t get anything done. In picture 2, he has figured out how flags work. (pic via The Telegraph)

The swimming controversy resolved in a spectacular twist, everyone suddenly has an opinion on the slow-motion shuttlecock game and seats are beginning to fight back. Also, Boris Johnson looks silly.

The row over Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen’s spectacular wins in the 200m freestyle and 400m individual medley events took a dramatic turn last night, when she admitted that she held on to the computer-generated world record line, which sweeps across the pool in front of quicker swimmers. American objections to her swimming performance were dropped when 15-time gold medal winner Michael Phelps confessed that he has been hanging on to the magic yellow line for years in order to improve his performance. The International Olympic Committee quickly pointed out that, strictly speaking, this is not prohibited by the rules. “People think that the yellow line is just for people watching on TV or for broadcast commentators who can’t yet tell their numbers. But the yellow line goes down the pool at the same pace as the fastest person ever to swim the distance and if swimmers can catch it, that’s just their good luck. Also, if Michael Phelps does it, it’s probably fine.” Future Olympians may choose to be fitted with a head harness that includes a hook, so that they can equal the champions of yesteryear.

An empty seat has managed to escape from the holding cells in south-east Kent and is reported to be hiding in the marshes east of London. While the seat has not been named, it is understood to be one of the leaders of “Stakked In the Cornr” [sic], a radical group which seeks to promote rights for occupied and empty seats.  A million-man Feet For Seats march will converge on the Olympic Stadium on Saturday morning to show solidarity with the seats, which have repeatedly expressed their dismay at feeling ignored since Team GB started winning gold medals. Master of the Universe Sebastian Lord Coe was dismissive of the moves by Londoners: “Look, they’re empty seats, no-one wants to actually see them. These Games are about sport and inclusiveness – we’re wasting our time by talking about empty seats.” Lord Coe has previously come under fire for saying that blue plastic seats “all look the same to [him]”.

Olympic games organisers have announced that they will not be refunding ticket money to people who sat through four badminton teams who spent all their time deliberately playing as badly as possibly on Tuesday. They will instead be provided with a set of Olympic pins, if they send a cheque for fifty pounds to the Olympic committee, to cover postage and packing. According to Paul Deighton, former investment banker and CEO of the London Organising Committee of the Games, if a system is introduced where spectators get refunded for events where athletes aren’t trying, “You get into grey, very dangerous territory.” Olympic consultants have been examining the possibility of adding a series of small holes to the badminton nets to make the sport more exciting. Yu Yang, one of the Chinese competitors mired in controversy following the match, has announced her retirement from the sport. She will be sent to a salt mine to avoid embarrassment for officials who introduced a system whereby teams have an easier route to the medals podium if they lose.

Olympic mascot Boris Johnson got in a spot of bother (youtube link) yesterday when his attempt to sail across 20 metres of east London on a zip line ended in complete failure. BoJo, a fuzzy creature and a favourite with London children and adults who went to private school, was unable to get to the end of the wire when gravity failed to work. Londoners quickly debated whether to allow him to come down or to leave him suspended in mid-air. The assembled masses were convinced that BoJo should be cut down when he finally managed to wave a flag correctly before calling for a ladder. Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio de Janeiro, confided to reporters that BoJo is called ‘crazy Boris’ at the annual Slap’n’Tickle mayors’ conference. He is also worried that Johnson will “do something crazy when he hands over the flag” at the closing ceremony of the London Thing. Staff members at the office of the London Mayor have been instructed to hide all sugary items from the fuzzy BoJo monster during the final days of this year’s Olympics.