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A new Olympic sport for 2012

This is 2008, and the Beijing Olympics are in full flood. I am, of course, doing my best to ignore the proceedings; however, I have been unable to avoid the unwelcome realization that in 2012 the circus is coming to the UK.

Leaving aside all other issues (for example, one friend of mine is planning on spending 2012 somewhere nice and easy-going like Singapore, purely to avoid the five-ring security nightmare that will descend on London during the games), I believe the proceedings could be enlivened by the adoption of a suitable present-day ethnic guest activity remixing the best and most popular recreations of the host country to maximize audience involvement and draw the entire world into the true British Olympic spirit.

I therefore present to you the best of contemporary British sporting activities: the Ned Pentathlon.

The Ned Pentathlon consists of five events. Participants are required as usual to remain free of drugs, but a special exemption is made for alcohol and tobacco.

1. Crack dealing.

The contestants are required to shift 10 grams of assorted size rocks among the Olympic audience. Hard-sell techniques are encouraged but limited to purely verbal and unassisted physical persuasion. Arrest and prosecution by the Police is an absolute disqualifier, as are the use of knives or firearms as a sales tool. (Remember: "The customer is your friend.")

2. Carjacking

The contestants must proceed to the venue for the third and subsequent events by means of private transportation. Failure to TWOC (Taking Without Owners Consent) is an absolute disqualifier, as is arrest and prosecution by the Police. Bonus points awarded for: assault, abduction of baby still in child seat, driving under the influence, setting fire to the vehicle and posting the results on YouTube prior to disembarking, and driving without insurance.

3. Buckfast drinking

This is a presentation event. The contestants drink 2 litres of Buckfast while singing tunelessly and shouting abuse at passers-by. Points will be awarded by the judges for deportment, inelegance, incoherence, and projectile vomiting. Unconsciousness or arrest for a Public Order Offense is an absolute disqualifier.

4. Happy Slapping

The contestants must locate and happy-slap a police officer. Failure to successfully post the cameraphone footage to YouTube is a disqualifier. Additional points will be granted for good style and illiterate self-incriminatory boasting in discussion forums. A maximum bonus may be awarded for happy-slapping an SO19 unit (and surviving).

5. Out-running the police dog

Contestants must out-run the police dog on the 300 metre steeplechase circuit, with obstacles. Points will be deducted for bites delivered (see anatomy chart). Biting the dog is an automatic disqualifier. The normal anti-doping regulations are applicable to the contestants, but not the dog.

6. Tie-breaker

In the event of a tie, the surviving contestants will be locked in the Big Brother House with a bounteous supply of processed foods, tins of Carlsberg Special Brew, and blunt knives. A loaded Mac-10 and five grams of Columbian White will be hidden in one of the rooms. The last three survivors will be allowed out of the house and given their medals before being taken to hospital (where Police officers will interview them once their medical condition has been stabilized).



Suggested variations for the ladies' event:

  • Wrestling outside nightclub in boob-tube, micro-skirt, and Stilettos. Points deducted for removing stilettos and using same to injure opponent.

  • Communal screaming at 4am in a low-level residential area. A minimum of 10% of residents in a 100-metre radius must show signs of being disturbed. Style points awarded for flashing disturbed residents and/or security cameras.

  • Baby-buggy racing (tandem): participants to be aged 15 or under, own children must be used. Twins are allowed, but at least two children must be non-cosanguineous. Public transport may be used, and points will be awarded if participants find a bus that will allow them on.

  • Shoplifting: points to be deducted for leaving babies in the shop, so no over-stuffing the buggy. However, extra points will be awarded for removing the gold lame dress with matching heels from the dummy in the display window without alerting the security guards.

  • As per Male event, outrunning 120lbs of furry, slavering, pointy-teethed officer of the law. And her dog.

  • 2:

    This is a perfect example of why I, amongst many others, love your writings!




    Some years ago when DC was in the running, I just kept hoping that it would go elsewhere, which it did. I don't think civilians would have been allowed anywhere they wanted to go.

  • Crack dealing.
  • I propose Ticket Touting instead. It would surely generate local interest, Londoners being fast-talking people who are always trying to sell you something. If there's enough competitors the whole box office might become unnecessary.


    Why try to improve on perfection? The Pythons hit perfection, just rename it to the International Twit Event. It is sad they did not have it this year, I am sure Bush would have won this.


    Making fun of your own country is easy, and no one comes after you. Try doing a U.S. version.


    You know, since contests involving fully-automatic weapons are not known for leaving precisely controlled numbers of "winners", I don't expect your proposed tie-breaker will typically result in gold/silver/bronze medalists. Expect one winner (usually) and no winner (sometimes), which is likely to leave the podium rather bare.

    What's that, you say?

    Budget trouble? Fiduciary responsibility? Competitiveness mandates?

    Right-oh. Carry on, then.


    You want to watch that stuff with the neds, people will come after you for "social racism", innit.


    Bring it. I'll take the 'Muricans. Though we'd be at a disadvantage on event 4. Happy-slapping a cop in the US is good for (at the very least) a battery check with a 4 'D' cell Mag-Lite. If not pepper spraying and/or 2 minutes with the dog. God forbid you do so in New York or LA. Also, may I propose that the tie-breaker be done "Running Man" style? I used to think that movie was over the top, now I realize it was just 30 years ahead of its time.


    But first, bring back the seizure-inducing logo. That way you have the audience at ready. And don't forget the chavs.


    I suspect that Israelis will win event 5 hands down unless knife wounds to the dog count as disqualifying.


    shiving the dog/bitch not only counts as disqualification but gets you a free entry into the 'were shooting at you - how fast can you run?' eevent


    Now that's an Olympic event I'd love to watch. Really brings together the genres of athletics and... entertainment :D

    When I consider the Olympics I'm always torn between two feelings. Part of me is just amazed at the almost superhuman athletic achievement (and insanely jealous), while the other part just lets out a loud 'Meh' and wonders what the hell is the point? I mean, it's not like running 100 metres in 9 seconds actually achieves anything. Big fucking deal. Unless you're running for the bus, or running away from a gang of chavs with knives. That would be a useful skill to have in that circumstance.

    I'd win gold if procrastination was an Olympic event. I'd also probably qualify in the wanking marathon but ulimately lose it to the Americans or the Japanese.


    Since most Israelis are ex-Army due to conscription I suspect that the firing event won't be anything to faze them.


    Adrian @1

    This sort of police officer?

    120lbs of furry, slavering, pointy-teethed officer of the law




    Adrian@16: yep!

    Dave@15: Thanks; another one for my collection.


    I think there is easily scope for Olympic Sponsorship Rules Snubbing.

    Given the hooks the marketing types have got into the competition, there are all kinds of rules and regs they expect people to follow associated with the Olympics and their precious paid sponsors. There are even special new laws that make it difficult to even refer to the Olympics if you haven't handed over your 30 piece of silver. Whatever you do, don't try and get in wearing the logo of a company that hasn't coughed up - they won't let you in.

    Against this backdrop there is ample scope for the typical British mentality to tweak the noses of those that think they can own everything.

    I see it as a team event, with points determined by total viewership x duration seen and points deducted for getting nabbed by the filth. Bonus points for obscuring the logo of a company that did cough up.

    The heats would be in the lead up to the games with only top teams going forward to compete in the games themselves, from the opening ceremony till the closing with medals awarded in the tube station after.


    Adrians (@16*17) there are certain images I do not post to the net.


    Ew, thanks, in my mind's eye I can already see the thumbnail galleries scrolling down forevermore. Shouldn't you be off in Second Life somewhere?


    You are focusing too much on the negative here. Negative only spreads negative. We need to move focus to more positive events such as: Morris/Maypole Dancing, Gerning, Tiddly Winks, Cheese Rolling, Bog Snorkling and maybe a synchronised mother & buggy formation. An event that further promotes good manors and common sense would also be nice but I can't think what that would be.


    the Robert Elms BBC London show had a long running quest for new olympic sports, including skiing off the bus station in vauxhall, taxi rat runs and routemaster surfing/ chasing, running up the spiral stairs at various tube stations, public track race down oxford street on a saturday afternoon … not to mentions the tribe who stand on the left I'm sure a Mornington Crescent tournament could be enacted, depending which staff at LU you got on board. - but as you wont be able to move down there any way, and to keep the rule book from warping time ad space, keep it audio lets see a competition to see who could get furthest away, (Virgin Space Taxi booked up yet?) or rent out their house for the most money. Got to keep middle england involved, with decking cars with flags, free form Tatlin's Towers from DIY, navigating from one National Trust (,for scotland) to the next without marital law being declared, synchronised sports-wear wearing, Queuing. Enough already


    For those of you who haven't come across The Monument to the Third International, this wont help a bit

    but might suggest a different approach to charlie's question


    I thought complaining was the national sport of the British Isles. "Men's under-30 Free-style whinging finals" has a certain ring to it.


    "Fazakerly!" - as Ken Dodd would say.

    Since I live 4km directly North of the main arena-area of the XXXth Olympiad, and am being forced to pay extra council-tax for this ghastly white elephant, I am wholeheartedly in agreement.

    Needless to say there APPEARS to be a conspiracy between the local politicos and journos, that the "Olympics" are wonderful, and good for us .... Of the eight other near-neighbours whom I speak to with any regularity, none of us are in favour, and my complaints to the council have been ignored.

    However, there ARE ways of fighting back.

    I have lodged an FOI request with the council (Waltham Forest) requiring them to show what permanent, material benefits will accrue to us (the residents and taxpayers) after all the money has been spent. I'm not expecting a reply any time soon, but it could be amusing, especially if there IS no benefit, or a tiny one - because then ...

    The next move is to go to the Local Government Ombudsman, alleging gross financial malfeasance and financial maladministration.

    Deep joy!


    We need to move focus to more positive events...

    Queueing. It's something we Brits excel at. Best of all, if someone cocks up the entrances/exits/toilets/bars etc. then the IOC simply sets up a podium and hands out medals. Problem solved!

    An event that further promotes good manors...

    Visiting National Trust properties? You could make it a three day event - indoors, gardens and negotiating the car park :)


    You know, I've always wanted to see American Idol/Eurovision/Mongolian Cow Yogurt Super Girl turned into an Olympic sport. Maybe add in a little participatory element to the games, yes?

    Gary@21: Endurance Morris Dancing?! Keen!


    "Social racism" is just a redundant new phrase for old-fashioned class prejudice. It wasn't clever or funny in the old days either.

    But the overwhelmingly middle-class composition of UK science fiction fandom is a big taboo subject, except when they touch on the edges occasionally by wondering why UK science fiction fandom is so overwhelmingly white.


    I have a flat in Stratford and am dreading the coming circus. I think I seriously need to sell and move out before the olympics arrives!


    "Social racism" is just a redundant new phrase for old-fashioned class prejudice.

    Oh, I dunno. Call it racism, you get to bring the whole "privilege" thing in, that'll keep people going for years.

    except when they touch on the edges occasionally by wondering why UK science fiction fandom is so overwhelmingly white.

    Truth be told, sometimes black folks avoid certain things without being specifically oppressed into doing so, including swimming, apparently. They might be thinking, "Ew, bunch of pasty geeks, no thanks!" I mean, there probably aren't that many upper-class people going to conventions either.


    Wait, isn't the whole point of that article that it was oppression that led to black people not being into swimming?

    And this sort of thing is utterly vile 3. Baby-buggy racing (tandem): participants to be aged 15 or under, own children must be used. Twins are allowed, but at least two children must be non-cosanguineous. Public transport may be used, and points will be awarded if participants find a bus that will allow them on. Mocking teenage mums? Honestly, get a life.


    Wait, isn't the whole point of that article that it was oppression that led to black people not being into swimming?

    Well, originally, but after a while it just got momentum and became an identity thing. I imagine the forces keeping black people out of science fiction conventions in large numbers could also be to do with them not wanting to go, that's some honky sh*t. It's not like they all went once and were made to use separate toilets, is it?


    "Failure to successfully post the cameraphone footage..." Tut and also another tut; it ought to be: "Failure successfully to post the cameraphone footage..."

    The other event should be speed dialling. Who can ring the Police or Ambulance service fastest after getting thrown out of Chasers Nite Klub for being drunk and incapable?


    Try these:

    I'm sure there are some much better, and ruder ones, but I can't find them at present ......


    Surely shin kicking would be a good, traditional English event.


    Derek @28: I'm not prejudiced against people who aren't posh, I'm prejudiced against ass-hats who make public nuisances of themselves, regardless of whether they're posh or poor.

    As for your classist sniping at SF fandom, all I have to say is: get a life.


    Keir@31: Yes, it's vile - so were my comments on the sort of clothing you find people wearing outside of nightclubs, what people do at 4AM when they've been to nightclubs, the stereotypical shoplifters, and policewomen.

    It's nowhere near as erudite as Dean Swift's comments on Irish babies being fattened for English tables, but it's the same dark vein of satire, by way of the Daily Mail.


    It depresses me that some of the people going to such places, and being on the periphery of such behaviour, at least, can sometimes be trying to tell me how I should run my life.

    I've been at several Eastercons which drank the hotel dry by Saturday, and that sort of insane behaviour was almost unknown. A few people did get horribly drunk, but I doubt I would have to take my socks off to count them.

    I'm going to make a wild guess and suggest that some people drink to escape the tedium of their lives.


    Reading that events list the first thing that popped into my mind was that it would make a great episode of 'The Bill'.

    With all this drinking I feel there needs to be an event that includes imbibing a curry or a kebab. It actually reminds me of the old 'Ironman' contests they had when I was at uni in Melbourne which involved rounds of sculling beers between rounds of eating pies and sauce and desserts, with sprinting or other physical activity after each round. Last contestant to collapse in a pool of their own vomit was declared the winner.


    Why the 'more irksomely right on than thou' month in Fandom, are we gearing up for the future reign of terror of Call Me Dave, last PM of the UK and first of England (well, England, Wales and Northern Ireland presumably)? It seemed to start with people validating everything by the Bechdel test, to which I can only propose the beak-del test, so called because the test is 'do I think the author of this book / story / whatever should be chained to a rock and have their liver pecked out by eagles?'.


    The Olympics is well on its way to being a TV event. Yes, there's always be people who want to see the events; attend in the flesh, but how big a stadium does London need, compared to what people think the Olympics need?

    London might be the last big stadium Olympics.


    Hows the cost of the London Olympics going, anyway?


    Guthrie: I gather it's in the double-digit Sagans already.


    Police dogs are fast.

    Not that I know that from personal experience or anything.


    Whats a Sagan when its at home? It is a unit I am unfamiliar with, and a quick check doesn't find any obvious answers. Is it more or less than A Scottish PArliament?


    Police dogs look a lot like the pedigree German Shepherds of a century ago. The current Kennel Club spec and judging rewards dogs who could only catch a very slow burglar.


    guthrie @46, Sagan said "billions and billions" (okay, billyuns an billyuns) so the lower limit is 4 billion.


    Dave @47, I have a neighbor with a Secret Service dog. She's a German Shepherd from Germany, but I've never seen her run. She's off-duty when I talk to her and I don't talk to her when she's on her way into the official van and on-duty.


    Marilee @49, it's possible that dog breeding in the USA hasn't gone as crazy as in the UK. I was referring to the UK Kennel Club.

    The programme showed the German Shepherds at Crufts, the top of the dog-show tree in the UK. They had backs which curved like an arc of a circle, starting from the middle of the back. Their back legs seemed to waddle as they walked.

    And these were the dogs which were winning best-of-breed.

    The photos I find on the net will show the back-shape, but they're mostly side views, which doesn't show the odd stance. The pictures I can find of Police Dogs show a very different profile--a slight curve, and much longer, more erect, legs.


    Dave- Police dogs will be selected for fitness and intelligence. Pedigree dogs will be selected for looks.

    However, with the usual caveat that I'd need pictures to say anything properly about it, it sounds like the really stupid american fashion of breeding Alsatians so that their lower spine curves downwards has spread from the USA to the UK, and I had hoped our breeders had more sense than that these days. I found out about this weird fashion a few years ago, seemed it had caused a split in the American german shepherd breeding community, with one lot trying to be normal, the others heading off down this weird ugly bad for the dog kind of fashion.


    Not all working dogs have working class owners--think of gundogs--but the pedigree dog world seems rather full of middle-class owners with pretentions of superiority.

    Greyhounds and whippets look a bit strange, but they are bred to run like the clappers. My grandfather's lurcher, so family story has it, worked as a sheepdog. Farmers who breed livestock, while conformation is a factor in the show-ring, are breeding for profit.

    And the best farm dogs I knew, well-behaved, long-lived, and intelligent, were of thoroughly indeterminate ancestry. I'd hesitate to call it training, but we were used to having animals around. As much as anything, we had some unconsious sense of their reactions.

    Now there's just the cat. She turned up one cold spring day, sheltering in a tractor cab. She came with us when we moved, and has settled here, friendly with the neighbours, a very different cat from the rather scared creature I found.

    Maybe it's simply that we didn't abandon her. Cats are social animals too.


    Our beloved old dog Tas was a mix of German Shepherd, Black Lab, and probably a bit of collie. Largish, smart, and surprisingly fast! She was hard to keep to a calm pace when walking her, because my wife had formerly run her on her bike.

    At a wild guess Tas could do close to 30mph when she got excited and broke into a full run - for instance, when she saw a cat she didn't know and wanted to go over and make friends. The cats never stuck around to discover her good intentions. Usually once she got excited enough to get going, she wouldn't stop, and would continue at top speed for some distance, bounding over 3-4 foot walls which got in her way. It was hopeless to try to follow without a car. A few hours later she would show up shamefacedly apologetic.

    In conclusion, dogs are fast. People, not so much.


    Dave Bell @ 50

    The breeders in the States have been working on 2 very bad characteristics: a narrow skull, resulting in dogs with increased risk of various brain disorders, and a strange, bowed posture that has resulted in large increase of occurrence of dysplasia in the breed. So the average life expectancy of a German Shepherd is running 8 to 10 years instead of the 12 years it once was. Damn shame, says I; they were really great dogs.


    Thanks Bruce, thats what I was thinking of. Stupid breeders.


    "The Ned Pentathlon consists of five events. Participants are required as usual to remain free of drugs, but a special exemption is made for alcohol and tobacco."

    Bah, humbug! The participants are not only allowed to consume special 'sporting supplements', but regular tests of bodily fluids will ensure meeting required minimum levels.

    "With all this drinking I feel there needs to be an event that includes imbibing a curry or a kebab."

    Imbibing and, um, 'disimbibing'. Alcoholic aid in the latter not only allowed, but required.

    Shiving (or shanking) the dog will, of course, be an automatic disqualifier. Sh*ing the dog will earn extra points. Riding the dog like a sharp toothed Shetland pony will also earn extra points.

    "1. Wrestling outside nightclub in boob-tube, micro-skirt, and Stilettos. Points deducted for removing stilettos and using same to injure opponent."

    Don't you mean 'extra points awarded'?

    "Biting the dog is an automatic disqualifier."

    Peh. Biting the dog shows High Olympic Spirits, in the Great Traditions of ....[insert more boilerplate]. Given the minimum 'sporting supplements' blood level requirements, biting the dog might allow the participant to opt out of one or two hourly blood tests.


    I wonder if we could Uplift a few whippets by 2012?


    guthrie @ 55 had a nasty surprise in the second half of your comment as i thought for a mo you were dissing 90% of the planet… any one asked the cycle couriers if they want to make their comps Olympic? in stead of world class ie - or urban golf? chokes on her ovaltine


    And the bus arrived on time...



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    This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on August 16, 2008 9:56 PM.

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