London’s Big Sporty Thing (part 11)

North island for sheep. South island for hobbits. West island for a big sandpit where medals get stored. Sorry, native peoples, you lose out again.

Funky muffins and dodgy somethings cause two competitors to be eliminated, France is worried about illegal levels of magic being used by British cyclists and there’s another solution from Australia for the NZ problem. It was an interesting Monday.

That’s all, folks
US judoka Nicholas Delpopolo and Italy’s long-distance walker Alex Schwazer have become the latest competitors to be sent home without any supper. Delpopolo tested positive for cannabis following his seventh place in the 73kg judo event over the weekend. According to the judoka, he consumed the substance without his knowledge a few weeks ago in some baked goods which were made by a family member. He followed the brownie consumption with a four hour sleep, during which he dreamed of pixies battling goblins in a mystical adventure set in a displaced Neptune of an adjoining universe. Mr Delpopolo stated that the first suspicion he had that there might have been something unusual in the brownies was when his drug test revealed that there was something unusual in his bloodstream. He finished seventh in the competition rankings. A hastily-scribbled statement from the International Olympic Committee pointed out that “what works for Michael Phelps does not work for everyone”.

Alex Schwazer, Italy’s most celebrated walker, has been removed from the London Olympics after failing a pre-Games drug test in his home country. While the banned substance has not been revealed, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) announced yesterday that Schwazer has ben sent back to Italy. The athlete won a gold medal for walking at the 2008 Beijing Games, setting a new 50km walk world record in the process. He was expected to defend his title next weekend. He had been entered for last Saturday’s 20km walk but withdrew, citing a cold. Schwazer, who works as a police officer, had previously condemned doping, before making the discovery that it might aid his performance. Walking is a highly technical sport and is rated by athletics experts as one of the most demanding events in Olympic Games competition. Competitors are required “to maintain contact with the ground and straighten their front knee when the foot makes contact with the ground, keeping it straightened until the knee passes under the body”.  Despite the high regard in which walking is held by humans, it has not always been free from controversy. Scandal swept through the 1906 Intercalated Games in Athens following the 1500m walk event, when the first two finishers were deemed to have cheated by running. The race was awarded to US athlete George Bonhag, despite spectators criticising his walking style, which involved skipping to the finish line.

But wait, there’s more!
Algerian middle-distance runner Taoufik Makhloufi has won an appeal against his exclusion from today’s 1500m final. After winning his semi-final, Makhloufi was forced to compete in the 800m race as his team failed to withdraw him from the shorter distance. He jogged for the first 300 metres before dropping out. An IAAF statement read: “The referee considered that he had not provided a bona fide effort and decided to exclude him from participation in all further events in the competition”, which has been translated by Babelfish translators as “forgot to say ‘ow’”. Algerian sports authorities protested that a knee injury forced Makhloufi to drop out of the event. According to the IAAF, he needed to supply “a note from a doctor, saying, like, that he was totally sick” to regain his place in today’s final.  Having supplied the required documentation as well as a reality check from his mother, he will be allowed to compete.

Coates: “When I said 46, I meant 30. I think.” Lundy says all is well.
John Coates, president of Australia’s Olympic Committee, has downgraded his expected Olympic medals haul for Australia from his previously-declared estimate of 46 to a new expectation of between 30 and 36. He criticised the lack of funding for sport in Australis before explaining that his initial expectations have not been met by London 2012 athletes. Federal Sports Minister, Kate Lundy, strongly disagreed with Coates’ view of the drop in gold medals for Australia since Beijing, saying: “They’re on the podium. We’re still up there with the best of the best.” In other news, Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. Chocolate rations will be increased this week from 45 grammes per person to 30 grammes per person, demonstrating the continued success of the economy. New Zealand has been scientifically demonstrated to be a myth. Sea monsters are roaming the streets at night and therefore the benevolent government has imposed a curfew for the safety of all citizens. Prepare yourself for your new, happy life.

Welcome to Aus Zealand, mate!
The Sydney Daily Telegraph has offered a solution to Australia’s disappointing performance in the medals table: combine Australia with New Zealand. The smaller country of New Zealand has so far won three gold medals, while Australia has won only two. Last night, Australia was placed 19th in the medals table, with New Zealand four places higher. A third gold medal for Australia would push the country to 12th, just below North Korea. The success of the proposal is now in doubt as New Zealanders expressed some dismay following Tom Slingsby’s victory yesterday in the men’s laser swimming for destroying a currently popular national joke – “New Zealand has just won gold, Australia has just one gold”. The proposed new territory of Aus Zealand still lies behind Kazakhstan in the medals table but manages a top-ten placing which has so far been achieved only by New Zealand on its own.

US news outlets are unlikely to adopt the model by claiming Canada’s medals as American, as the move would still result in China topping the table at present. Even adding Mexico would unfortunately still yield the same result.

Aus Zealand’s placing in the medal table. Ninth. There will be fireworks.

Magic Wheelz and Trickery
Team France is concerned about Team GB’s cycling success, with team director Isabelle Gautheron asking L’Equipe if Britain has “found a new training process based on certain energy pathways.” So far, Great Britain has won nine medals at the London Olympics, including six golds. France has secured three silver medals. “We know that they work with McLaren,” she added and speculated that British scientists may somehow have invented a better wheel. Talk of witchcraft has taken over at the breakfast table of French cyclists, with competitors reportedly looking for sacred ley lines near Stratford, on which they can have nightly relations with their bicycles to improve performance. French officials have been sent to search the surroundings of the Big Wheelz Arena every evening to check for illegal wizardry. Ms Gauthron has also proposed to French track cycling authorities that they abandon their traditional square-shaped wheels and adopt round wheels for competitive cycling in the future.  “The speed gain is difficult to explain but I think it might be an advantage,” she said. French square wheel manufacturers and national unions are expected to object.

In other news…
Sprint phenomenon Usain Bolt has requested a trial with premiership side Manchester United. It was reported on page 1 of The Sun but might still be true… American rower Henrik Rummel had a trouser malfunction during the medal ceremony for the coxless four, when he was apparently really pleased to see his bronze medal. Fourth-placed Greece may choose to object on grounds that the team was no longer coxless… Michael Phelps has been awarded a special trophy for winning 22 medals at the Olympic Games, when he’d probably have preferred a nice set of golf clubs… Soft rock supremo and militant vegetarian Morrissey has revealed that he no longer likes the Olympics as he finds them quite nationalistic. Irony detectors have been exploding around his Rome house all morning.