Tag Archives: 2020 Olympics

Faster, Higher, Cyber

Russia is alleged to have planned a major cyber-attack on the Tokyo Olympics (Irish Times 24/10/20)…

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Sport has moved on from the old pre-tech days, when races were won by the first person to break through a tape, diving medals were basically awarded to whoever made the smallest splash, and entrants in the walking were monitored by a man, well, walking beside them, making one question the whole concept of an Olympic qualifying pace.

Still, when the Olympic Council heard that Russia, irritated at being picked on because their drug-taking was less covert than that of other countries, where planning a cyber attack on the Games themselves, they weren’t too concerned. After all, the race would still go to the one most speedy, the boxing to the one least punched, and that gymnastics with the ribbon to, um, whoever. There was little tech to be attacked.

How wrong they were.

At the Opening Ceremony, the Prime Minister’s words “I declare open the games of Tokyo, the thirty-second Olympiad of the modern era” were translated by his microphone into Latin, and concluded with Woody Woodpecker’s laugh. In the symbolic CGI release of doves, the birds were replaced by buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The hour-long artistic display made absolutely no sense, though in fairness this had nothing to do with the Russians.

The Flame, when lit, licked out a fifty-foot arrow of fire that incinerated the Olympic Flag, then stopped. It then flickered the five notes from Close Encounters in Morse code before settling into a ghostly green flame, in which you could see the face of Grover Cleveland.

And that was just day one.

The next two weeks were no better. As the Men’s 100 metres, the race the whole world watches, was about to start, every camera in the stadium suddenly switched to the Fencing. The Women’s 800 metres medallists, according to the computer, were Marie Curie, Eleanor Rigby and the Lady of Shalott. The final-lap bell for the Women’s 5,000 metres rang four laps early, meaning that the winner broke the world record by almost five minutes. The starting gun for the Men’s 400 metres also fired early, leaving the favourite to hop around the track with one foot trapped in his tracksuit leg. A Finnish weight-lifter received her medal to the sound of the Uruguayan National Anthem, while an canoeist from Belize, after winning his country’s first ever Olympic medal, had to stand to attention to Dolly Parton’s Jolene. A flip of the city’s traffic lights meant that the marathon was run through early- morning commuter gridlock. A Ukrainian’s javelin was shot down in mid-flight by a TV camera drone.

The golf was unaffected, though no-one was watching it anyway.

It wasn’t all bad, though. For the Water Polo final the pool switched to jacuzzi mode, and the resulting mayhem looked much fun that clubs have opened all over the world, and the sport is going to be included in the 2024 Games.