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Do Cheaters Prosper?

Associated Press

This week South African swimmer Cameron Van Der Burgh won the Gold Medal in the 100 meter breastroke, and set a world record in the process.

In a dramatic twist, he also admitted to cheating while doing it.

In international breast stroke competition, swimmers are only allowed one “dolphin kick” (wiggling like a worm underwater) before beginning their strokes. Television cameras showed Van Der Burgh taking at least three.

Dolphin kicks maintain the momentum from the dive or wall push, allowing you to continue torpedoing through the water… as opposed to say, swimming.

To be fair, many Olympic swimmers do this. In fact, dolphin kicks were completely illegal until it was discovered that nearly all competitors were performing them, then the governing body decided to allow one.

This giving an inch has led to taking a mile, or in Van Der Burgh’s case 20,000 leagues.

To be honest, Van Der Burgh didn’t volunteer that he cheated, but when confronted, he confirmed and then defended his decision.

“‘If you’re not doing it, you’re falling behind.  It’s not obviously – shall we say – the moral thing to do, but I’m not willing to sacrifice my personal performance and four years of hard work for someone who is willing to do it and get away with it.”


Spicing Up The Games

We only get steady coverage of Olympic sports once every four years.  Because of this, I have little ability to understand or appreciate some of the events that I’m unfamiliar with, like say Handball or Badminton.  As the summer games enter their second week, Gymnastics and Swimming give way to some of the second-tier events that are supposed to tide us over until the Sprinting begins.

This means that we’re getting to the point in the Olympic Games where the events are becoming more difficult to watch.  This isn’t because the coverage is bad, or because the athletes aren’t very good, it’s just that there are some events that are so disconnected from any reality that it can be difficult to understand what is happening on the screen… and why?

Take the Triple Jump for instance.  Was there a time in history when sequential jumping was an everyday necessity? Stringing three successive, yet different, jumps together is actually something more common in a Super Mario game isn’t it?  And how did we determine that three jumps was better than two and that four were too many?  Why not just let the person continue jump after jump until they can’t jump anymore?  I say that the person who gets the furthest around the track gets the gold.

I understand that there was a time when throwing a javelin was essential to human survival, but hasn’t hitting something with said  javelin always been the historical point of javelin throwing? How come there aren’t any targets?  It also doesn’t help the uneducated viewer that the officials don’t leave the previous javelin stuck into the ground to that you can see who’s has gone the furthest.  How about spicing the javelin event up by having it become about accuracy instead of distance.  I’m not saying that we put people innocent people in danger, but can’t we at least skewer some innocent watermelons?

To make these middle-weeks of the games more interesting than ever, here are 13 more ideas that I respectfully submit to the International Olympic Committee:


It Isn’t Always Beautiful


Tonight the London Olympics officially open… and someone has already been disqualified from competition.

Triple Jumper Voula Papachristou was politely asked to return to her native Greece after making disparaging comments about Africans.

She tweeted that, “With all of the Africans in Greece at least the West Nile Mosquitos will eat homemade food.”

Every 4 years we are treated to the beauty and pageantry of the Opening Ceremonies, a celebration of nations and world heritage. The beauty and promise of the world’s youth are spotlighted against the backdrop of hope.

The display of unity and solidarity among peaceful, yet different, nations is always one of the most stirring aspects of the games.

This doesn’t mean that things can’t get heated a few days into the competition though.


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