The Olympics are coming to a close and I hope my guides have held your hand throughout and allowed you to speak with authority on all things Olympian. It’s time for a final guide and whilst I may have led you to believe that cycling had the monopoly on mad variations on sport, the crazies are only just turning up.
The most brutal of all Olympic sports started life as a plot device in the film St Trinians and is not to be confused with the winter version, ice hockey that was made famous by the Oscar winning movie The Mighty Ducks.
Traditionally played by girls in what some might see as evidence of gender bias but the truth is, boys were scared shitless about playing it. That stick braying your shins or rapping your knuckles is not something you can forget in a hurry. If the ball, made from reinforced concrete, catches you in the plums you’ll be singing ‘Walking in the air’ for the rest of your life.
Whilst usually reserved for the bravest of the brave, the softies of this world can still join in by being goalkeeper. Wrapped up like someone at a sleepover in a lion’s cage, it’s a wonder anyone can see the goal behind them. Standard outfit includes cricket pads, a welder’s helmet, three 15 tog quilts and a pair of those foam rubber gloves favoured by fans of Gladiators in the nineties. It is rumoured that the Dutch keeper was shot by a stray bullet from a Rio favela and didn’t even notice.
The rules are pretty simple, football with sticks and a cricket ball, most goals win.
One to watch: Good life advice is to watch out for any woman brandishing a big stick.
Following on the theme of sports inspired by Hollywood, BMX was invented by Steven Spielberg when his son, ET, had to go for gold to win the heart of Drew Barrymore.
BMX was originally called Bald Monkey Cross due to the odd appearance of ET Spielberg but was later shortened to BMX at the behest of Scrabble enthusiasts.
The aim of the sport is simple, pedal as fast as you can, ignoring all the speed humps the Olympic organisers had forgotten to remove and try not to fall off.
Crashes are so commonplace in BMX that it is rumoured that Mark Cavendish is racing under an assumed name just to get his kicks.
It’s a sport that has struggled to be taken seriously in Olympic circles, mainly due to the number of adults riding BMXs on city streets. They aren’t Olympians, they need to grow up and probably still collect Transformers.
One to watch: ET, guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye.
The modern pentathlon consists of five disciplines, fencing, swimming, horse riding, shooting and running.
Followers of my blog will probably expect me to make up some story about how the sport’s origins lay in the cavalry training people to kill then run away. I would do that if it weren’t actually true. I’m not joking, look it up. All you have to do to be the best is stab or shoot someone then Leg It.
You may have gathered from my previous posts that I’m not enamoured with ‘sports’ involving horses. I’m even less impressed with competitors who think their horse is human. In the last week I’ve heard dressage riders say that their horse is their best friend and even more bizarrely “He wants to win gold as much as me.” He doesn’t mate, you’ve been torturing him until he dances like a bear in a cage and unless you are Dr Doolittle, stop pretending you can talk to animals.
And this is the beauty of the modern pentathlon because whilst the dressage ponces have known their horse since they were a Shetland Pony, sleep in a barn with them and almost certainly touch them inappropriately, the pentathletes win a horse in a raffle twenty minutes beforehand. You probably think I am joking again, trust me I’m not.
Totally blows out the theory about riders needing to know their horse like their own mother for it to perform. There’s an odds on chance that they are going to win one that doesn’t even speak the same language.
I don’t know the rules and I couldn’t care less. The maddest sport on the planet.
One to watch: USA’s Jason Bourne is back again this year.
Well that’s the last of my simpleton’s guide to the Olympics. Written whilst slightly hungover, it was truly olympian effort and following on from my game of Nun Bowling last night, I think I have really epitomised the Olympic spirit.