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Kevin Myers: I yearn for the London Olympics to fail -- I cheer news of poor ticket sales

Part of me would rather see orphans eaten by dogs rather than allow the Olympian flame pass me unmolested. Every charitable impulse within me dies whenever I consider the forthcoming Olympics: yes, I yearn for the London Olympic to fail; I cheer news of poor ticket sales, and daily pray for a fresh and cataclysmic drugs scandal.

For it is my fondest hope that mankind soon reverts to that peaceful, pre-Olympian orbit in which the world had so faithfully turned before the 19th Century ended, the starter's pistol sounded, and the century of murder began.

The first Olympics were merely foreplay to war: from an amiable fondle upon a sporting Mons Veneris in Athens in 1896 to a hasty retreat from quite another Mons 18 years later. The most honest Olympics of the 20th Century took place in 1936, when the analogy with war was not in the least figurative.

If Mr Hitler had had enough time, those Olympics would have featured the 50,000 metre Zeppelin steeplechase, the U-boat marathon, and the Panzer triple-jump through the Polish Corridor. Yes, indeed, the Berlin games were without humbug.

Happy days, for humbug is now the main Olympian event. For IOC does not stand for International Olympics Committee but actually means Indebted & Overwhelmed Cities.

What really defines the fraudulence of the Olympics is that just about every single country gets a medal, which is why there are competitions which would disgrace a fairground on Craggy Island.

There is, for example, a 20 metre air-pistol shooting contest, the winners of which are usually Swedish. No doubt we shall soon have competitions for the three-man embroidery medley, the cross-country equestrian foxtrot, or the 100 gas-meter hurdle, as a means of slipping a bronze to Zxixkistan and Yygeria, whereupon happy mobs of Zxixkistanis and Yygerians start dancing in the street at midnight in wild excitement at their phenomenal but nonetheless -- they are sure -- world-acclaimed sporting prowess.

But actually, these triumphs would be no less credible than the modern 100 or 200 or 400 metres sprints and relays, which, thanks to numerous doping scandals, could be declared "courtesy of Dupont, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline".

We once thought Carl Lewis was a true and authentic and dope-free Olympian. But he wasn't. He just "inadvertently" took some banned drugs, as one does, of course. Could happen to anyone.

The only track event that is manifestly authentic is the marathon, which is dominated by honest if tiny mountainy runners from the highlands of Ethiopia, Kenya and Tunisia. As children, they learnt to become nimble, dodging satellites. They have lungs that could find and extract a single oxygen molecule in deep space, and then thrive for an hour or two on it. They largely eat pebbles and straw: whatever's handy. And frankly, we poor white folk simply can't compete.

Remember the London Marathon a couple of years ago, when both Paula Radcliffe and Sonia O'Sullivan had to pause for hurried alimentary interludes in the street, such was the physical stress of trying to keep up with their faster, duskier sisters?

So how often does this happen in marathons, unseen, and unreported, as Europeans flounder, flail and finally squat in the wake of the fleet-footed Africans? Hence the term IOC. As in, regretfully: Incontinent, Overtaken Caucasians. Or as a warning: Inundated by Open Colon!

But despite its essential sporting integrity, I still can't remember who won the marathon in Peking, never mind who won the ladies' excuse-me, the underwater golf, the welterweight darts and other lesser contests. One soon forgets these completely unforgettable Olympian moments. And another thing: why did the West agree to say "Beijing", which is merely the Mandarin form of the Cantonese "Peking", a term we've used for hundreds of years?

Why did we accept the nationalistic and nasty confection "Mumbai", instead of Bombay? What? You say they smack of empire? But "London" comes from the Londinium of imperial Rome, while "Cologne" -- or Koln -- simply comes from the Latin for "colony."

Nor do we usually follow native usage: we don't call Turin "Torino" or Finland "Suomi" or Germany "Deutschland" or Norway either "Norg" or "Noreg", for the Norwegians -- rather like the Chinese -- have two pronunciations for almost everything.

So, rule number one in life: always ignore PC name-changes. Rule number two: never trust anything that adopts them, especially the IOC. Rule number three: remember Michelle Smith, the most honest embodiment of the modern Olympian spirit.

Irish Independent