Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Abominable Snowman

Rory Morrish, an Irishman working in Norway, was our first ever competitor in the 15km cross-country skiing event at the Winter Olympics in Italy this week.

I heard him interviewed on RTE during the week, where he said that he had competed in two 15km races already. When asked how he got on he was, to say the least, a bit coy. “Better the second time” he answered. When pressed gently about his actual placing, he merely offered that he’d finished ahead of the Moroccans and Tunisians. I had visions of them training on sand dunes while having to avoid camel pats.

So how did he get on in the Olympics? He finished 88th in a field of 99, of which 2 failed to finish. His time of 50mins 28secs was 12mins 27secs behind the Estonian gold medal winner.

And who actually finished behind him? Strangely, no Moroccans or Tunisians - they had no participants in the event. Competitors from Kenya, Brazil, Thailand, Costa Rica, Portugal, Armenia, Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Nepal (who presumably should have been entered in the downhill).

My initial reaction was to wonder why we’re wasting money sending athletes to such events. But then I figured that if Kenya, Brazil and Thailand can waste it, why can’t we?

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