Home Advantage

So with the Olympics just around the corner no doubt the UK’s athletes are limbering up to get going….at least those lucky enough to have been selected! There have been some claims however that the British team have been a bit harsh in their selection standards. Its been claimed that they’ve pushed the bar too high, well above the minimum standards required by the International Olympic committee, as well as being extremely inconsistent (i.e. rigidly applying the rules with one sport, yet bending them to let in a no-hoper in another discipline).

For example, despite they’re being several athletes within the qualifying time for the women’s 800m only one will be running in it. This is due to the fact that the selection committee made some arbitrary discussion that the one women selected, Lindsey Sharp was “on form” but because she was only a grade B athlete, the IOC rules said a mixed team of B’s and A’s (which included the three other women who had run faster times) could not be submitted. So in essence 3 A class athletes were sacrificed for one B class athlete. Similarly Richard Kilty (men’s 200m runner) has been left out in the cold despite achieving the A class time.

Now if it was Ireland hosting the Olympics I guarantee you anybody who could run the 800m, or 200m and make the qualifying time (down hill with a tailwind! :DD) would be selected and stuff the IOC rules! I mean what are they going to do, move the Olympics to France with a week to go?

I suppose I have to ask the question as too whether this is another sign of our miserly government trying to save the pennies by cutting the number of athletes, despite having spend many billions on the Olympics to begin with?

On the other hand, the athlete they don’t want competing, Dwain “druggie” Chambers, is still on the team. If they can make such arbitrary decisions for one athlete, why not another? Again this won’t be a problem in any other country. In Ireland, it would be made clear that he was persona-non-Grata and that every possible barrier would be put in place to stop him competing (and I mean we’d lay the concrete in his lane just before he started running sort of stuff! :))). He would not get sponsorship (it would also be made clear to any potential sponsor that they so much as gave him a pair of trainers and they could expect a very in-depth tax audit next year).

I think it hasn’t clicked with the Brits yet that host nations take home cricket score worth of medals, not because they’re athletes magically run faster at the Olympics just because they’re being held in East London (then again, I’d run faster in East London, only way to stay one step ahead of the locals!), but because these nations have taken advantage of, well home advantage. That means bending the rules here and there as necessary.

I’m not saying ye should cheat or anything. But gently bending the rules to give your athletes every possible chance. Other host nations have done far worse in the past, and gotten away with it. For example, in the Moscow Olympics there were two large doors at the end of the stadium that always seemed to be open when a Soviet athlete was throwing the Javelin or Discus. There are rumours abound that a number of US athletes (including Flo-Jo who ran the fastest ever 100m in 1988, tho she only won sliver in 1982) either got caught doing drugs, or missed one too many tests in the lead up to the games (which effectively counts as a fail) but fortunately the evidence to prove this got “accidentally” destroyed by a US Olympic official (I mean how easy is it to get a fax machine and a shredder mixed up! :>>). The Australians and Chinese made sure their aquatics centre’s and cycling tracks were open well in advance of the games, to give they’re athletes plenty of time to train on them, and “learn” the route.

But trust the British to screw things up and go all honest. Just don’t be crying come mid-August when you’re left with a handful of medals to show for it all.

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