What are we to make of the 2016 Rio Olympics?
More to the point, how are we supposed to take it seriously when we know that hundreds or perhaps thousands of the competitors are using performance-enhancing drugs?
What are we to make of the billions spent on a vanity project in a city where countless dirt-poor people became homeless when the government bulldozed their favelas to make way for the shiny new stadiums that benefit only the Brazilian rich?
What are we to think of our own participation in the Rio Olympics? Nearly all our boxers are now gone, some of them victims of bad judging and one who took illegal substances but was caught. There’s a murky story involving the alleged touting of tickets. People have been arrested, other people are targeted for arrest and meanwhile the head of the Olympic Committee of Ireland is seized with a delusion that we’re all idiots and the sport minister is a credulous fool who came down in the last shower.
But wait! Let’s not forget the wonderful O’Donovan brothers who captivated the whole world with their dry, laconic, laid back interviews after taking silver in the lightweight men’s double sculls.
Podium pants and pizzas.
Thanks lads. We needed that boost. It might get us past the disappointment of Katie Taylor’s defeat and the mind-boggling arrogance of Pat Hickey refusing to tell the sports minister anything about the missing tickets on “legal advice” and then inviting him to lunch.
The gods of Olympus must be filled with wrath as they gaze on these antics. But Olympus is six thousand milia from Rio and I suppose the gods’ powers must fall off in an inverse-squared sort of way, which means they can’t impose the Olympian ideal by force of will, even though they might wish to. More likely, they’d want to fling thunderbolts at the whole thing and be done with it.
Not Nike, though. The Greek goddess of victory, who diversified years ago and now makes a nice living from pseudo-Olympic activities around the world wouldn’t be flinging thunderbolts but Nike is very much the exception, apart from one other Greek goddess who might make the journey to Rio and I sincerely hope she does.
Now there’s a deity best served cold.
Maybe she’ll find time to share a salad with Pat Hickey.
Looks like Nemesis found time to have that lunch with Pat Hickey. He’s just been arrested in Rio and charged with three offences carrying a penalty of up to seven years in jail.
Hickey is not just the head of the Irish Olympic committee. He’s also the most senior official in European sport.
The mind boggles.