Tag Archives: London olympics

Taylor Maid

Think of women fighting and you think of a pub car-park, a misunderstanding over a bloke, a lot of hair-pulling and the phrase “leave her, Marian, she’s not worth it”.

(I was well aware while writing the above sentence that whatever name I chose could cause trouble, as it would imply that holders of that name are less than ladylike, so I decided to use whatever girl’s name I saw next from the bus. So if your name is Marian and you’re feeling a bit miffed don’t blame me, it’s all the fault of the Marian Gale boutique in Donnybrook Village.)

It’s not an edifying spectacle. Yet for eight minutes yesterday the entire country of Ireland shouted encouragement at their televisions as an Irish girl repeatedly punched a Russian one.

This is the first time that Women’s Boxing has featured in the Olympics, and our Katie Taylor, four-times World and five-times European Champion, has won the Lightweight Gold Medal.

We now have five medals- a Bronze in Show-jumping, three that will be at least Bronze in Men’s Boxing, and Katie’s Gold. We’re not quite in the same league as our neighbours from Britain, who are currently winning just about anything they enter. If fishing through a hole in the ice was made an Olympic sport in the morning Britain would win the Gold Medal, beating the Eskimos on the final.

While our tiny country regularly produces football teams that get far further in major championships than our size suggests we should, and while our golfers are currently winning events every second week, we do not historically win a lot of Olympic medals. Activities like running, lepping or dancing on a mat with a piece of ribbon seem to be beyond us.

We don’t even win the Dressage, which is essentially Irish Dancing for horses.

So it is not surprising that we have all got behind this young girl, made her our flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremony, and all cheered wildly yesterday. She is from the town of Bray, five miles north of where I live, and for each of her bouts they have had giant screens in the town, and huge crowds have turned up to watch her, and to throw themselves joyously into the sea each time she has won.

For someone in a sport so fierce she is a remarkably shy, quiet girl. She is Ireland’s heroine.

And a real lady.

Slower, Lower, Frailer

Changes are being made to the Olympic Stadium in London ahead of the 2012 games.

A ninth lane is being added to the running track, so that any Irish athletes who do not qualify for the final will be allowed to run anyway.

Panic-stricken Olympic Council members, fearful of Irish protests whenever things don’t go our way, have tried to pre-empt the situation by giving us every possible chance of success.

Other measures which they are taking include:

  • since we have never really adapted to the metric system in any case (we still drink pints, and drive in miles per hour), we will be allowed to run yards while other athletes run in metres giving us a 10% advantage;
  • John and Edward will compete for us in the Synchronised Swimming. Those who saw their attempts at dancing in the X-Factor will know they have no idea what the word synchronised means, but apparently they’ll be guaranteed at least a bronze as long as they don’t actually drown;
  • our golfers will be allowed two Mulligans;
  • the Rose of Tralee competition and the Ballybunion Bachelor of the Year contest are both being recognised as Olympic sports;
  • as we have no 50-metre swimming pools, the races will take place in the kind of conditions our swimmers train in – in a pool twenty-feet long, full of kids and smelling disturbingly of wee.

Meanwhile, following our horrified discovery that there is an entire Olympic sport called “handball”, we have demanded that this be removed from the games.

Please don’t laugh at any of the above (don’t worry, Tinman, we weren’t planning to). FIFA president Sepp Blatter laughed openly at our suggestion that we be admitted to the World Cup as a 33rd team and was forced to apologise by enraged Irish officials.

Now I happen to think that Sepp Blatter is an unctuous git who looks like the love-child of George Graham and Silvio Berlusconi, but that doesn’t mean he was wrong to laugh.

Cheap Jokes

Two smart remarks that occurred to me watching London’s section of the Olympic Closing Ceremony.

1.  Wouldn’t it have been funnier if the bus didn’t arrive when it was meant to, and then three had turned up together? and

2. They were originally going to use a London taxi, but they couldn’t find one that would go south of the Equator at that time of the night.