London’s Big Sporty Thing (part 9)

New Zealand is populated by hobbits and sheep. Everyone knows that.

Australia is suffering from ego problems, it’s raining in London and Paul McCartney just won’t stop singing. Also, another mention of Jessica Ennis as the BBC has stopped talking about her.

There are NINE countries, just NINE
Faced with the issue of admitting that New Zealand was higher on the medals table than their own country, Australian TV’s Channel 9 took a novel solution to ignoring the problem: they displayed the medals table as a Top 9 instead of a Top 10. Australia, which hosted the Big Ring Sports twelve years ago, was in nineteenth place in the table, while New Zealand was lying tenth. The channel later admitted that the success of New Zealanders was likely to embarrass Australians and that it was easier to ignore the problem by pretending that New Zealand didn’t exist. The two countries competed as s single team until 1920. The small sheep-infested country of New Zealand has so far won three gold medals, while Australia, somewhat larger and mainly populated by sand monsters, has a single victory. The Australian broadcaster joins a recent tradition of re-jigging the medals table for public relations purposes. In 2008, US Olympic broadcaster NBC changed their method of displaying the table from most gold medals to most medals in total so that the United States could be better than China.

Safety pins in short supply
London ran out of safety pins last night as athletes secured their numbers with extra pins to take account of the London weather. A shortage of stainless steel has resulted in competitors having to use iron pins, which rust and quickly disintegrate in the six-hourly hours of rain, requiring constant replacement. A small number of 400-metre athletes were seen frantically licking the back of their track numbers so that they would stay attached throughout the 50-second duration of their race. Suggestions that the British Olympic Council might consider supplying a pot of glue were met with derision by Supreme Leader Sebastian Coe. “They’re top Olympic athletes, not competitors at the Sudbury Sack And Spoon,” he said. “Give them a pot of glue and some of them will just spend the evening eating it or sniffing it.” Despite Lord Coe’s comments, glue is not a substance prohibited by doping authorities.

Cycling fan sings ‘Hey Jude’ (repeatedly)
Paul McCartney, aged 70 and one quarter, from Liverpool, yesterday led the velodrome crowd in four hundred choruses of his very well-known song, ‘Hey Jude’. Following the Team GB victory in the team pursuit event, the jubilant crowd began singing the hit parade favourite of yesteryear without knowing that the song’s creator was in the crowd. Fab Macca grabbed the announcer’s microphone and sang the song repeatedly for the next half hour. “It’s an easy song to sing,” said one spectator later, when asked about the impromptu concert by McCartney. “And it works well with, you know, ‘na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-gee-bee’. We tried to sing the theme from Batman but ‘na-na-na-na -na-na -na-na -na-na -na-na -na-na -na-na -gee-bee’ was just too much for people to remember.” Asked if the popularity of his song was due to it being easy to sing, McCartney retorted: “It’s not. Only I may sing it.” Small children have been convinced for many years that singing ‘Na’ in front of the mirror seven times will make Paul McCartney appear. The Team GB uniforms for the Olympics were designed by McCartney’s daughter Stella, who, despite that, is still well-regarded as a fashion designer.

You wait ages for one bus and then three come along…
Jessica Ennis deservedly won the heptathlon event for Great Britain, continuing the spectacular run of form that began on Friday. No, no smart comments from me, she thoroughly deserved it. Team GB followed her gold medal with victories by Greg Rutherford in the long jump and Mo Farah in the 10,000 metres. Even the pounding music from the Olympic DJ (not a medal event) failed to keep 80,000 people from falling asleep for fifteen minutes during the 10,000m race, though a fall by Ugandan athlete Moses Kipsiro caused everyone to wake up at once. Unfortunately, BBC commentators are now reduced to discussing the composition of the bouquets that they hand to winning athletes. They each have four kinds of roses and nice-smelling things to make them smell like the parts of England that aren’t London.

Michael Phelps’ record falls
Michael Phelps’ Olympic record of most Olympic medals won by a single athlete was dramatically bested last night by a 25-year-old younger American swimmer named Michael Phelps. Mere days after Michael Phelps (27) had become the most successful athlete in the history of the Olympic Games, with a total of 21 medals, young upstart Phelps rocked the world of swimming by winning more medals (22) than his American rival. Following his 21st medal, commentators had speculated that it was a record that would never be beaten. Nice Michael Phelps now occupies eighth place on the Olympic medal table, with naughty Michael Phelps in seventh. Announcing his retirement from the sport last night, twelve hours later Phelps described life without swimming as “weird”. Fellow American Ryan Lochte has been designated the next Michael Phelps but will not be presented with keys to the Phelpscave and Phelpsmobile until next week. Mr Lochte confessed on Friday that he peed in the Olympic pool.

In other news…
Kim Collins, sprinter for St Kitts  and Nevis was sent home by his national Olympic association yesterday for spending the night with his wife instead of partying down in the Olympic Village… bored Olympic viewer David Mitchell (probably not the comedian) is sending fourth-place medals to people he deems worthy... Police in the UK are concerned with the ‘Bradley Wiggins effect‘, as UK cyclists have resumed using their bikes in public…