London Olympics will answer many questions

The London Olympics are finally here, and if you’re like me, you’re eager to get answers to some burning questions — questions such as: Who will win the gold medal in synchronized underwater table tennis? Who will finish higher on the medal table — the People’s Republic of Korea or Michael Phelps? Who will win the gold medal in men’s basketball — the talented team from America or the well-coached squad from the United States?

Everyone has at least one or two questions that the London Olympics will answer. My wife, for example, has this question: “When will this darn thing be over so my husband can do something productive?” What she doesn’t realize, of course, is that watching athletes win medals inspires us to set goals and achieve them. My goal is to get off the couch at least once a day. The rest of the time, I’m going to be glued to the TV, trying to get all my questions answered. Here are just five of them:

1. Will Bangladesh win its first Olympic medal? The rich countries dominate the Olympics — they can afford to spend more on athletic programs — so it’s not surprising that Bangladesh, an impoverished country of 152 million, has yet to win a single medal. But I’m hoping that the four members of Bangladesh’s Olympic team — an archer, a gymnast, a shooter and a swimmer — can go home with at least one bronze medal, which would be an amazing achievement, especially if they can do it without leaving any fingerprints behind.

2. How many times will we get to see Kate Middleton and will it be enough? Prince William’s wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, plans to attend several events, much to the delight of the British public. Many of them have downloaded her official Olympic schedule to their iPhones, as well as the schedule of her cardboard cutout. Most people just can’t get enough of her. In fact, Indian wrestler Sushil Kumar believes she will help him win a gold medal. Just before pinning each of his opponents, he plans to shout, “Oh look, there’s Kate!” He knows how effective this strategy can be. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he beat American Doug Schwab by shouting, “Oh look, there’s Elvis!”

3. Will the Saudi women make their compatriots feel proud? Under pressure from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Saudi Arabia has sent female athletes to the Olympics for the first time. Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani will compete in judo, while Sarah Attar will compete in the 800m race. Attar will try to win a medal while wearing a headscarf and loose-fitting, full-body attire. According to Saudi officials, the outfit may add a few seconds to her time on the track, but many years to her time on Earth.

4. Will the United States finally win a medal in badminton? It may surprise you to learn that the US has never won an Olympic medal in badminton, despite the fact that at almost every family picnic in America, you will see Aunt Hilda hitting a shuttle up in the air toward Uncle Milton. The shuttle usually gets stuck in a tree and the family spends the rest of the afternoon throwing objects at it, including four rackets, two poles and a net, which also get stuck in the tree. (This may explain why the average American isn’t good at hitting shuttles, but is extremely good at throwing.)

The entire badminton kit costs only $9.99 at Wal-Mart, thanks to a Chinese conspiracy. They know that as long as they supply America with cheap kits, Aunt Hilda and Uncle Milton will play badminton at family picnics, ensuring that the kids never take up the sport, and China can continue to dominate at the Olympics.

5. Who will be the fastest man at the Olympics — Usain Bolt or the streaker running from the cops? British tradition dictates that at every sporting event of any prestige, a streaker must make an appearance, if only to give the police some much-needed exercise. So don’t be surprised if, in the middle of the 100m dash, a streaker runs across Olympic Stadium, wearing nothing but a tattoo of Kate Middleton. Thankfully, Bolt has trained for this and won’t be easily distracted. To prepare for the London Olympics, he traveled to France and ran across several beaches.

Middle-aged man: “Mon Dieu! Did you see that crazy man running across the beach?”

Wife: “Of course, I saw him.  How could I miss him with all his clothes on? What a nutcase!”

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

Comments

  1. V S Gopalarathnam says:

    I Liked the whole thing, starting from “who will win the underwater synchronised table tennis…

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