Beach volleyball is butt end of olympics

The Olympics have their dignified moments. OK, crying into the swimming pool over silver is not one of them. Neither is the misfiring missile Magnussen saying swimmers “just want to have fun” (note to Magnussen – this is your job!), but beach volleyball – I mean, really?

Let’s run through it: a fake beach, outfits the diameter of dental floss and an atmosphere that seems, well, even through the TV, un-olympian. What gets me is that it doesn’t even pretend to be olympian. It just seems like, well, a fun game of volleyball at the beach.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Especially if it happens at an actual beach. And I’m also not disputing the athleticism involved. The girls (do guys play beach volleyball? If so – when? I’m watching!) do seem to know how to put that ball away. They can also give the ball a bit of biff. All helpful skills in life. But is a gold medal in beach volleyball equivalent to the marathon? The 100m sprint? An 800m medley?

You see, it’s kind of like making beach cricket an olympic sport, or extreme hopscotch or darts, or badminton, or table tennis or … oh, hang on.

Gold, gold, gold for McDonalds

It’s back. That two week interlude into our lives. Those two weeks where we suddenly become an expert on dressage or the triple double point high jump. Those two weeks when dreams come true in the most amazing way possible. And that’s just for McDonalds.

The Olympic Games have turned into a mass opportunity for McDonalds (and all the other major sponsors) to tap into a brand new market, which for them must be like winning the relay. Just think – two weeks of global telly rights, and chuck in a million or so people every day passing through the Olympic Gates. It is like the Lost City of Atlantis, only with better plumbing.

Sport, is a sideline, an afterthought to the greatest marketing gig on earth. It’s just that somebody forgot to tell the athletes. Poor pets – they think they’ve been getting up at 3.30am all these years to prove the limits of human endeavour. For that, you have Boris Johnson.

The question is why do we keep watching the Olympics, just for the sake of a little reflected glory for ten minutes, before we all get back to squabbling about boat people and the carbon tax. Well, I guess I’ve just answered my own question there.

Giro this – porn for girls

If you like your porn best served with pink lycra, a bit of sweat on muscle and rolling Italian countryside, turn on your TV set.

That’s right – it’s Giro time! If you haven’t experienced the pleasures of the Giro before, it’s the Giro D’Italia – a professional cycling race in Italy held in May. It’s the precursor to the Tour de France, which also has its fair share of porn for girls (scenery, lycra, cyclists) but the Giro is just, well, more Italian. It seems a bit more relaxed, but not too relaxed, if you know what I mean.

It’s attractive on so many levels. It’s best recorded so you can fast forward the ads and go back to the bits that particularly appeal (SBS 2 every night at 6pm). You can do a straight vanilla watch first, to see who wins (it’s fun pretending you actually follow it) and decide which bits need reviewing later. Then watch for the winsome scenery and then go back and watch for the sheer viewing pleasure of seeing extremely toned (but not beefcakey) men grunt up hills. It’s addictive, I tell you and just as good with the sound down.

It’s got an international flavour, which is good, as I like to mix it up. Europeans are well represented, there’s a smattering of Americans and a few patriotic moments when the Aussies do well. And what a relief that Aussie cyclists seem quite erudite, not a Warney in sight.

I’ve checked the website and know the schedule – there’s nearly two more weeks of Giro, and I intend lapping up every second.

Nick D’Arcy – role model of what not to do

The Olympics are meant to be about fair play, doing your best, passion for sport and inclusiveness. That’s why it’s sick, with a dollop of extra sick on top, that Nick D’Arcy should be going to the Olympics.

It’s not because he decked someone that night, it’s not because he hides behind daddy, it’s not because he doesn’t seem that contrite, it’s not because his eyes are too close together and he has stupid hair. It’s because he declared bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy. No money? Really?  So how does that explain the gazillions spent on legal fees, a shonky-as-hell PR firm, not to mention all the costs  associated with the Olympics not picked up by the taxpayer. I’m sure there’d be lots of travel, diet, therapies that are paid for by D’Arcy Inc.

But nothing for a victim who has had two operations, had to change jobs and been thrust into the limelight for no good reason I can see. His only crime was he happened to suggest, according to witnesses, that D’Arcy should take it easy. And the rest is history.

In a funny way, D’Arcy is a victim of the system. His father protected him with his three prior assaults, ensuring it never went to court and he was not formally presented with his crimes. The judge presiding over the Cowley case, gave him an extraordinarily light sentence. Did D’Arcy’s father, a surgeon, exude some old-boys club pressure? And he is let down by Swimming Australia and the Australian Olympics group, who should have made a stand about bad behaviour, instead of gold at all costs. So in a way, D’Arcy is a victim of the system, and he clearly believes he has done nothing wrong.

It does look like D’Arcy is off to the Olympics. I’m sure most Australians don’t want him there representing them, and it is a shame that the pillars of society – judges and government sport bodies can’t man up and chuck him out.

Tennis girl grunters get my goat

Womens’ tennis always been the cutting edge of pushing standards of “acceptable behaviour for ladies”.

Take wearing your underwear on the outside for instance.

I could go on but I won’t. OK, I will for a bit. There’s whacking the shit out of people; swearing on live TV and aiming for the crotch in mixed doubles then kissing the boys afterwards. All these things are good for the game, as well as good life skills for us all – it’s real girls playing sport without the airbrushing.

But as for grunting, I draw the line.

Hearing that blood-curdling scream is just not cricket, let alone tennis. Generally I watch with the sound down, but I pity people who have forked out big moolah to spend an evening hearing meerkats mate.  If Tennis Australia are looking to put bums on seats – muzzle Sharapova and the others who followed her, thinking that they need to scream to win.

Screaming has become a tool of the trade, but really it’s just like sleeping your way to the top – it’s a big cheat and somewhere along the line someone finds out and it’s all very messy and unpleasant and in ten years time someone will do it back to you.

Unless players are sponsored by Strepsils – the authorities need to enforce a rule of no screaming. Fining won’t do any good. Here’s my solution: screamers need to clean a toilet in Hisense Arena for every scream. That’ll make them want to scream – this time for real.