The international hype around the 2012 Olympics in London has been gaining momentum as the countdown to the start of the summer games is rapidly approaching launch. In the UK, as expected, there is currently more commotion around inadequate security, airport logistics, traffic planning and the significance of the odd-looking one-eyed Olympic mascots than on the games themselves. Most other parts of the world, with the exception of Greece and Syria, are more optimistic about the event and are ever-hopeful of walking away with a greater medal count than in Beijing.
In this breaking exposé Wonkie undercover reporters in South Africa have uncovered a far more ominous Olympics story through their local liki-weaks monitor network. Readers will recall that a few years ago President Jacob Zuma launched an allegedly powerful think tank – the National Planning Commission, headed by Trevor Manuel. After years of thinking in their tank and producing a fat 400-page consulting report that was all but completely ignored, the NPC was thought to have disappeared into the expensive parliamentary woodwork. It so turns out that President Zuma had in fact secretly commissioned the Commission to rethink international sports and to propose an alternative ‘Special Olympics’ – one that was better suited to the kind of sporting events more familiar to the developing world.
To that end, the NPC squirrelled away tirelessly in their underground bunker in the Eastern Cape and finally released a 2,000 page proposal, part of which was intercepted by Perry, Wonkie’s diligent liki-weaks monitor. The report was titled Special Olympics – Recognising 3rd World Sports and the proposal basically outlined the need for developing nations to play to their strengths. It suggested a number of new ‘sports’ that combined elements of the western sports with a distinctive developing-world flavour. Below are some examples of the Special Olympics sports:
Wait lifting – Patience is a virtue that seems to be lost in the West. In the third world, however, waiting plays an important part of everyday life – so much so that it could easily be deemed a Special Olympics sport. Due to the nature of this sport, it typically starts many years prior to the Special Olympics and is measured by a number of complex indices including national frustration level and relative closeness to actual delivery. Some qualifying candidates include delivery of textbooks to schools in Limpopo, South Africa and of course the passing of Barack Obama’s health care reforms in the United States.
Palm greasing – Whilst unlikely to attract participants from Norway, developing Special Olympics powerhouses Indonesia, India, Pakistan and most African nations are strong contenders for medals in this sport. Participants in this time-constrained event are required to obtain a signed contract for a nuclear power plant using as few resources as possible. Both the value of the individual palm greasing as well as the volume of transactions will be considered when making the medal awards.
Women’s 10,000m Sack race – In the spirit of inclusion and to cater for participation of female athletes from many Middle Eastern countries, this Special Olympics event is sure to be an entertaining one. Initially it was proposed that each participant would be inside placed sealed potato sack and be required to navigate around a 1km obstacle course. After numerous objections to the use of land-mines by human rights groups, the NPC decided it would be more appropriate to make it a 10,000m hopping in a sack event instead.
Synchronised tendering – this sporting event refers to the amazing synchronicity that occurs in terms of tenders being awarded to unworthy parties and the simultaneous bloating of some political leader’s bank account. The extent to which this happens in the developing world is nothing short of poetry in motion. The NPC has suggested lack of detection by tax authorities, slow motion video of transactions and innocent looks of guilty political leaders to be essential criteria for judges to consider when awarding medals for this sporting event.
Short Put – One of the core sporting strengths in developing economies is rate fixing. Whilst Barclays in the the UK has recently stolen the limelight with the Libor scandal, the subtle ways in which competition is stifled in the developing world is sure to make this one of the most hotly contested events. Candidates proposed in South Africa include banks and telecommunications companies who continue to get away with exorbitant charges at the public’s expense.
Moral Gymnastics – When the NPC sat back and pondered what really distinguished South African political leadership, they knew that moral gynmastics simply had to be an event in the Special Olympics. From dishonest police chiefs and drug dealing wives of senior ministers to AIDS denialism by ex-presidents and philandering by the current president, South Africa is sure to punch above its weight in this event.
The Hammer – Inspired by the Greek hammer throw, the NPC took this sport to its roots in order to tailor it for developing countries. Considering the old adage ‘if the only tool you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail’, the NPC immediately saw the uncanny parallel to strike action by political parties, trade unions and the like. No doubt COSATU and trade unions in France will be excited by the prospect of having an event that will truly showcase their sporting abilities.
Constitutional Boxing – Whether it’s making constitutional changes to allow re-elections in Venezuela, creating a fictitious post with no real power a la Zimbabwe, or attempts by the ANC to slightly box the South African constitution into a more appealing shape for itself, this is an area in which the developing world plays strongly. Judges in this sporting event are asked to evaluate the weakness of governance structures and the flexibility of the constitution to accommodate various crimes by the country’s political leaders.
Truth Curling – Inspired by the likes of Bill Clinton, and possibly every other political leader known to mankind, it is clear that some leaders have telling lies down to an absolute art form. Evaluation of this sporting category will by done by public poll following a 20 minute speech by a participant. So, for example, George Bush might stand up and elaborate on irrefutable evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Mauritius and the immediate need for an invasion. The national polls in his country would then reflect the credibility of his statement as being true.
Stumbling upward – In countries with an abundance of ineptitude, it simply makes sense for ineptitude to be rewarded. In the developing world and particularly in South Africa, the reward appears to be promotion beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Having done a sterling job in Foreign Affairs and later as minister of Home Affairs, no doubt South Africa will be fielding Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as a Special Olympics candidate in this event. Given her recent upgrade to chairperson of the profoundly useless African Union, South Africans surely believe they have a shot at gold here.
Ducking and Diving – As expressed in last week’s Wonkie, a lack of government accountability features strongly in the developing world. As the Limpopo books crisis, the consistent failure of the ANC to deliver services to the poor, and the inability to properly empower black people after almost 2 decades in power, shows South Africa clearly has potential for Gold here too. No doubt the Americans would be happy to propose Obama as their candidate of choice in terms of non-delivery.
Golf Relay – Best practice in violent crime is yet another key strength of the developing world. The NPC consequently devised an event in which a group of 4 relay participants are required to hijack and chop up as many VW Golfs as possible within a 2 day heat. Bonus points are awarded if car owners are disposed of in an innovative fashion, e.g. leaving them running naked in a local soccer stadium. After much protest from PETA, animal rights activists are required to be present at each hijacking to ensure that no animals are harmed in the process.
Basketcase – Evaluation in this category is simple: get paid as much as possible for as long as possible whilst doing as little as possible. Civil servants in South Africa and abroad have been secretly competing in this category for years and now is the time for their effort to finally be officially recognised.
Shooting from the hip – As a sidekick sport to non-delivery and wait-lifting, political spin-doctoring is an extempo event in which country participants are given an acute case of political non-delivery and are expected to spin the events to either blame someone else for the non-delivery or make it seem as though non-delivery is clearly in the public’s best interest.
Disgus – Inspired by the traditional discus event, the Disgus sport involves making incredibly stupid statements or doing incredibly stupid things so as to invoke a feeling of disgust in most of the country’s citizens. While the Jackass crew from the United States are obvious candidates for Gold, South Africa is honing their own secret weapon, Julius Malema.
110M Hurdles – One of the flagship events of the Special Olympics is the 110 Million Dollar hurdles. Each participating country is given US$110 Million in monopoly money which their governments have to use with all their available skills: corruption, tender fraud, bureaucracy, false imprisonment etc in order to create structures to stifle GDP growth and scientific innovation. Any patent registration during this event results in immediate disqualification.
A number of other sporting events such as miracle healing were also proposed in the report. Beetroot as the revolutionary AIDS cure proposed by the South African health department, and the special brandy used to cure Schabir Shaik of his terminal illness (post prison release on compassionate grounds) are expected to be two of the front-runner medal contenders from South Africa.
Wonkie eagerly awaits President Zuma’s official public announcement of the Special Olympics – until then, Wonkie wishes all athletes participating in the regular 2012 Olympics in London all the very best!
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