Thursday, July 26, 2012

Witius, Altius, Fortius.

India’s strike rate at the Olympics has always been underwhelming. We’ve won just 0.16% of the 12,796 medals awarded in the last 116 years. Even poor Sangma would have fared better!

The positive way of looking at it is if there are around 950 medals at stake in London, the law of averages will guarantee us at least one. So we won’t be returning empty handed.

Feeling better, already? Let me cheer you up further by culling out some unintentionally comical names from the hallowed roster of medal-winning Olympians.

First up is Gustave Cabaret, the Frenchman who bowed out to two other competitors in the 1908 Olympics Continental Archery finale. I wonder if Mr. Cabaret was allowed to do a victory jig when he climbed up the podium to receive his bronze.

James Lightbody is another chappie, history shouldn’t take too lightly as he finished with a hefty haul of 3 Golds from 2 Olympic games. I am tempted to think that James wouldn’t have been as fleet footed had he been blessed with a less cruel name.

Harry Porter, the high jumper from the United States who went on to win the Gold in 1908, was lucky not to have been born in our era. Else, his critics would have lectured him to stick to Quidditch, every time he failed to clear the bar.

But Nastia Liukin wasn’t as fortunate. Although she won the All Round Champion title in gymnastics in Beijing, many Americans had nothing but pity for her as they heard their commentators address Nastia Liukin as ‘Nasty Lookin’!

Gold winners Irina Slutskaya, Ruth Fuchs, Fanny Fischer, Balazs Kiss and Misty Hyman faced a lot of snigger and were the object of ribaldry for similar reasons. ‘What was Misty’s mom smoking when she named her Hyman?’ was the oft-heard banter about the swimmer.

Some like Bruno Junk, Salvatore Morale, Daniele Masala, Albert Gutterson, Emile Champion, Nick Winter and John Child, escaped the scrutiny of the late night comedians as the limelight was on the more glamorous stars. But this Olympics expect no such favours. If the Usains disappoint, expect the Bolts from the blue!