Following a spate of expulsions from London 2012 in recent days, we thought it might be helpful to give you a little cut-out-and-keep guide to staying IN the Olympics. Stick to these rules†, and when you finally achieve your lifelong ambition to compete in the world’s biggest sports competition, we think you’ll stand a good chance of at least making it through your event.
- Avoid hash brownies. This seems relatively simple: don’t eat foodstuffs laced with illegal drugs. Unfortunately, it appears you can never be *quite* sure with homebaked goods, as Nick Delpopolo, the US judoko expelled on Monday, found out to his cost. “My positive test was caused by my inadvertent consumption of food that I did not realize had been baked with marijuana”, he said. If you feel you are also at risk of inadvertently consuming food baked with marijuana, our advice would be two-pronged: firstly, consider avoiding brownies altogether for the year before the games. They are, after all, one of the cake-foods most beloved of hash fiends. Don’t despair: there are lots of other tasty, harder-to-make cake products that are less likely to be spiked, such as the bakewell tart, or the classic battenberg. Our second piece of advice is to avoid altogether any baked goods whose provenance you are unclear about, particularly if they have been made by a member of your peer group with a history of drug use, and are being handed out at, say, a party. If you’re really worried, stick to store-bought treats with the wrapping intact.
- Don’t be racist. It’s just plain wrong. Jokes with racist overtones – such as that made by the Greek athlete Paraskevi Papachristou - are a surefire way of getting yourself thrown out of the games. Ditto for offensive remarks directed at another country; Swiss footballer Michel Morganella was rightly expelled when he posted insulting comments about South Koreans.
- Do try to win. At the very least, try to look like you’re trying to win. Maybe, like the Badminton 8, you’re thinking you’d rather do anything than end up being drawn against the toughest team in the competition. Think again. Do you want to be sent home in disgrace, forced to make a public apology by your government, not to mention facing the endless wrath of all those spectators who paid £95 to see you deliberately miss your shots? (NB: This is, we admit, a slightly cloudier rule than others. For instance, if you tell reporters that you crashed in a bike race “on purpose to get a restart”, you may yet get away with it if English is not your first language, and if you later say the comments were just a joke.)
- Don’t take illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Ok, so anabolic steroids may give some impressive definition to your abs, but they’re also a textbook way of upsetting the organisers, not to mention your fellow athletes who are relying on training, buckets of pasta, sports drinks and sheer adrenaline to get them through. Doping can also be harmful to your health. According to the World Anti-Doping Agency, the marathon at the 1904 Olympics games in Saint Louis was won by a Thomas Hicks “with the help of raw egg, injections of strychnine and doses of brandy”. Of these, you’re probably ok with the raw egg and the brandy.
† In the interests of brevity, we’re sticking to lessons we’ve learned thus far from London 2012 expulsions. No doubt there are actually LOTS more rules exemplified by past games. For instance, DON’T KICK THE REFEREE.