We are disgraceful: this was one of only two photos we have of anyone in this family doing anything even vaguely athletic, while also not being naked. The other choice was H carrying 9 pizzas, which I agree is pushing it as an illustration of a post about the Olympics.
We’re all sick this week. I’m pretty sure it’s Olympic Fever. Being sick and living with your parents is basically exactly the same as being world-class athletes in the Olympic Village: we’re living away from home, trying to be on our best behaviour, and spend much of our time accusing each other of drug-taking. I don’t have proof that it was H who took the last of the proper Codrals, the ones with the real speed in them, but if I’m tempted to turn him over to the IOC nonetheless. As if they’d care.
This is the first Olympic Games of Garnet’s life. During the London Olympics I was pregnant with him, and I watched a lot of sport that fortnight, lying on the sofa, shoulder deep in a bag of salt and vinegar chips, so you’d think something would have seeped in by osmosis, but that doesn’t seem to have been the case.
I mentioned to him this morning that archery is in the Olympics and he said, ‘No, sport is balls.’
‘I generally agree with you there, Garnet,’ I replied. ‘In my opinion sport is complete balls, but nonetheless, archery is in the Olympics.’
‘What even is archery?’
‘Bows and arrows,’ I told him. He perked up a bit at that.
‘Are light sabres in the Olympics?’
‘No,’ I said. Then I thought about it. ‘Hang on, yes. They are. It’s called fencing, but it’s more or less fighting with light sabres that have run out of batteries.’
And that is when I realised that the Olympic Games contain pretty much everything pre-schoolers like to do.
Bows and arrows? Check.
Shooting things with shooters? Check.
Sword fighting? Check.
Riding bikes? Check.
Chucking rocks? It’s called shotput.
Throwing sticks? Javelin.
Walking on high walls? Balance beam.
Kicking people? Taekwondo
Arsing about in the pool? Synchonised swimming.
The IOC just needs to add hide-and-seek, and figure out how to make a sport out of competing with your sibling for your parents’ attention– which, come to think of it, is what all athletes are probably doing anyway – and they will have successfully transferred the experience of the average three year old to the world sporting stage.
I propose the next Olympics is just for three year olds. They wouldn’t have to worry about doping, because the performance enhancing drugs probably taste disgusting and will be promptly spat out. Unless someone comes out with gummy anabolic steroids. Then there could be a problem.
So Garnet’s all about the Olympics now, and he makes us race everywhere. I always let him win, partly because he’s three but mostly because my breasts are rarely suitably harnessed for me to run without holding them with both hands, which leaves no hands for holding the small child who might not realise the finish line is before the busy road. When he wins, he, for reasons known only to himself, declares that he is South Africa and has won gold, while I am Sydney and have won silver, and will not be receiving a trophy. After being such a consistent loser this week, my mind has turned occasionally to sabotage. I’m not going to Tonya-Harding him; I’m not a monster. But maybe one of his shoelaces might come undone sometime, know what I’m saying?
May Blossom wasn’t quite two during the last Olympics and hadn’t seem much TV so she was just thrilled to gaze at moving pixels on a screen. She’s nearly six now, and much harder to impress. She was excited to begin with, but once she realised how much hockey, rowing and basketball there is on TV compared to the sports she cares about – diving, gymnastics and anything involving horses – she chucked in the towel, McEnroe-style.
Luckily, this is an easily solved problem. I will simply lure her to the Olympics using the gateway drug of Amigos Para Siempre, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Olympic anthem from Barcelona 1992. With the fantastically awkward pairing of Sarah Brightman y José Carreras, soaring strings, brass up the wazoo, clicky castanets and more key changes than a house that has been burgled six times in four minutes and forty seconds, this is the song that will make her fall in love with the Olympics.
Seriously, watch them performing it live. Watch the crowd lose their minds. That, my friends, is winning at the Olympics. I defy you not to laugh, cry and take up a sport. Maybe it’s not all complete balls after all.