Monday, August 08, 2016

Extra Special Olympics

In the wake of the Russian Paralympic team being banned from the Rio Paralympics because of the large scale doping of their athletes, the burning question is exactly what form this 'performance enhancement' took?  In the first place, was it the athletes or their prosthetics and equipment being 'enhanced'?  Were the Russians making illegal alterations to the racing wheelchairs of their Paralympic track competitors, for instance? (The sort of thing various Formula One teams allegedly used to do with their cars).  I mean, I wouldn't put it past them to have whole laboratories formerly devoted to the Soviet space programme or nuclear missile development working on incorporating secret rocket thrusters and such things into those wheelchairs.  Or maybe nuclear powered artificial legs.  Then again, perhaps they've developed a serum which, when injected into their Paralympians before a race, allows them to regrow missing limbs, thereby giving them an unfair advantage.  Obviously, as soon as the race was over, the limb would vanish again, making the cheating impossible to prove.  OK, I know the video replays would appear to show them with a full complement of limbs, but nobody could argue with the fact that before and after, they didn't have them all.

There is, of course, another, far more sinister possibility: that the Russians are taking perfectly healthy athletes, deliberately amputating their limbs and replacing them with bionic arms and legs, then entering them in the Paralympics rather than the Olympics.  In fact, this could be the real reason behind the Russian Paralympic ban.  They were trying to circumvent the Olympic ban on some of their athletes in this way.  OK, perhaps winning a shed load of Paralympic gold medals wouldn't have quite the same cachet as actual Olympic golds, but what the hell, it's better than nothing, isn't it?  Sure, it would mean losing a limb or two, but what's that compared to the glory of winning a gold medal?  Besides, the replacement limbs are actually better than the originals.  Yep, you can just see how the Russian authorities would have sold it to their athletes.  But, sadly for them, now this avenue has been blocked off, too.  But not to worry, the actual Olympic authorities have turned out to have less balls than their Paralympic equivalents, as they passed the buck on imposing a blanket ban on Russian athletes, despite the whole doping scandal, resulting in lots of them being eligible to compete after all.  If they hadn't already cut of their arms and legs, that is.   (Actually, didn't they used to rather patronisingly call the Paralympics the 'Special Olympics', or am I imagining this, or confusing it with something else?).



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