1. Fat men can be winners.
Geoff Huegill won gold by giving up the pizza. Weight lifter Damon Kelly won gold by quite possibly eating more triple cheese super supremes than anyone in history – for breakfast. Whatever works, fellas.
2. You can feed a family Chicken Madras for under $10!
Don’t ask me how I know this. Somehow, the message has subliminally lodged in my brain, along with a really annoying tune… Daa de da-da. Da-da.
3. Who cares if the Games are second best?
Pollster Ross Neilson says the Comm. Games are stale and outdated. Well, if you subscribe to that view, I guess you won’t be watching this summer’s Ashes.
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In writing about public opinion as measured by our Auspoll research, I try only to describe the findings, discuss what they may mean socially and politically, add any insights I can. My own opinions have no business here.
This week I’m making an exception because there’s an elephant in the room, he’s getting on my wick with his noisy trumpeting of confected national pride and he’s wearing a swag of medals round his neck as though they mean something.
I refer of course to the glorified Schools District Gymkhana known as the Commonwealth Games, formerly the Empire Games, before that, even more accurately, the British Empire Games. This one is best because the whole charade ceased being worth organising, watching or taking part in when the old Empire slipped into history – WWII at the most flattering estimate.
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It turns out I’m not the only one who thinks the Commonwealth Games are an anachronistic oddity - some of the Australian team clearly shares that view and has taken it to another level.
Two Aussie athletes in two days have demonstrated just how little respect they have for Games authorities and their fellow competitors.
Remember how we all thought the US swim team were a big bunch of nobs at Sydney 2000, with their pool deck posing and big talk? At least when we beat them they didn’t flip the bird at the officials.
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First time in Parliament House since leadership spill.
Never thought I’d be back here. Had been in Pakistan doing media for an NGO. Was really thriving. My experience of NSW Labor factional warfare was the perfect apprenticeship for navigating Pakistan’s male-dominated, clan based society.
Then about ten days ago, ran into Rudd. He was on marathon tour of the region, trying very hard to write notes, listen, and look concerned simultaneously.
Asked Rudd where his staff were. He’d fired them three camps ago. Offered me a promotion, a pay rise, and the right to swear at him.
I couldn’t refuse.
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If India was hoping to strike gold by hosting the 2010 Commonwealth Games, it now looks more like it landed a lead balloon.
A week before the opening ceremony and there has been more controversy off the field than in any of the scheduled competition events at the Games.
As athletes start to arrive in Delhi this week, the loudest chatter on online news sites in recent days has been not on our gold medal hopes, but on the poor standard of accommodation, health risks and terrorism fears.
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Watching Robert de Castella win the marathon at the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games is one of my favourite sporting memories. De Castella trailed two runners from Tanzania for most of the race, eventually powering home to win in the last 100 metres. It’s what the Commonwealth Games is all about.
During the Republic debate in 1999, one of the most frequently asked questions was if Australia became a Republic could we still attend the Commonwealth Games? The answer of course was yes, but it showed how much the Commonwealth Games is part of our rich sporting history and national identity.
In just nine days, 390 Australian athletes will join 7,000 athletes and officials from 71 nations around the world to write the newest chapter in Commonwealth Games history.
If there was a prize for droll understatement in public relations, the man to beat right now would be New Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat who, with 23 construction workers being rushed to hospital after a bridge collapsed at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium early yesterday, had this to say:
“The pictures on TV make it look much worse than it is.”
The indefatigable Mr Bhagat might have graduated with flying colours from the school of “It’s not a turd it’s a chocolate éclair” media management, but nobody else is buying it.
Way back in 2003 it must have seemed like a great idea to have the Commonwealth Games in colourful, on-the-move Delhi instead of the other front-runner, Hamilton in Ontario Canada.
But in 2010 the decision by the Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly to send hundreds of fresh-faced athletes from 72 nations into a hotbed of terror threats and general chaos now looks, at the very best, reckless.
At worst, the Federation could end up sacrificing athletes and spectators to an unjustified cause. While acknowledging the strength of the argument to pull out now would “mean the terrorists win” – knowingly putting people in harms way won’t achieve anything.
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I can’t believe I’m saying this about the woman who had her fake breast removed for Australia, but I think it’s time we let Jana Rawlinson go from the shackles of her colonial confinement.
As much as the Commonwealth Games champ has showered Australia with gratitude for all the years of Woman’s Day covers and tolerance of her Olympic choking, it’s pretty clear we haven’t lived up to our end of the bargain.
Now she’s pulled out of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, it’s the perfect opportunity for us to say Jana, it breaks our hearts, but if you want to go and run for England in the London Olympics we’ll try very hard to get over it.
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Who’s going to say it first? Surely in the prickly conversations going on through the ranks of Australian sport and diplomacy, many people are suggesting it: that we shouldn’t be going to the Commonwealth Games.
It is one thing to take your own life in your hands by getting on a toboggan and going down an ice chute but it is quite another for governments and sporting authorities to send athletes to a place where people are threatening to kill them.
Following today’s threat of a terrorist attack on the Games in New Delhi from an al-Qaeda offshoot the stakes have been raised to vertigo-inducing levels. Fox Sports reports today:
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England is reportedly seriously considering pulling out of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in India in October because of fears its team will be targeted by Pakistani militants.
If it does pull the pin, it will be the first time England has not competed in the Games’ 80-year history - it’s potentially a very significant move. Presumably if the Brits pull out they won’t be the only ones - the whole Games could be in jeopardy.
Sport and geo-politics have always been inextricably linked, and sometimes this has resulted in great peril for the athletes. Images of the 1972 Munich Olympics, when Israeli athletes were taken hostage and then murdered by extremists with links to Fatah, are seared into our memories.
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