Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Fun and games at the Olympics for everybody

It's day four and finally I've found an Olympian I can relate to. This South Korean woman playing badminton has a technique exactly like mine! She avoids running around, preferring to test her 'stretching while stationary' abilities, though sensibly not lunging too far, presumably for fear of pulling a muscle.

She pulls a trying-really-hard face even when she's hitting a soft, easy shot. And many of her endeavours sail feebly into the net. She's the most inspirational player I've ever seen; if she can qualify for the Olympics, I really believe I can too!

The next day my heroine is disqualified by the Badminton World Federation for "not using one's best efforts to win a match" - something about trying to manipulate an easier route to the final. It takes the shine off a bit, if I'm honest, but the whole experience proves that, even if you're not the sporty type, there will be something going on at the Games which will surprise or delight you.

Research says that more UK women than men regard the Olympics as a waste of money and are frustrated by the two week sporting TV takeover. But I promise you ladies, regardless of your cultural preferences, there are Olympic pleasures to be had. So for those of you who, like me, aren't natural sportswomen (five inch heels don't work on soft ground and I prefer to reserve my copious sweating for a hot, lavender-infused bath), here is my guide to enjoying the Olympics nonetheless:

1. Almost every sport involves attractive people in revealing outfits. As a heterosexual woman, I've found all kinds of gems. A few gymnasts have made my eyes water and not just when they've been negotiating the fertility-threatening pommel horse; there are moments when it's like watching Rudolf Nureyev if he'd gone into the circus. Michael Phelps is rather alluring too, mainly because of his big toothy smile (no, really), and if Brad Pitt's to your taste, South African Chad le Clos, who beat Phelps in the butterfly final, will definitely float your rubber ring. Athletics next week is bound to throw up a few knock-outs as well.

1.5 On the other hand, if the beach volleyball girls make you feel fat and ugly, just work out what you'd have to give up to have a body like theirs. Life without lemon cake, sugary coffee, mint Aeros, lying on the sofa watching Alan Partridge repeats for hours every night ... worth a gold medal? Not for me baby.

2. Find out your 'Olympic bodymatch' by putting your vital statistics into the BBC Olympic website's 'fun' new feature. If you're female and it tells you you're a German weightlifter, don't dismay - this is what all of us who don't go to the gym get.

3. Watch the interviews with participants' families at the rowing and equestrian events and count how many words you can translate into comprehensive English. Clue 1: they're not riding hearses, despite what such chats might suggest.

4. Run a little betting ring among friends about who might be on drugs. Winnings to be collected in 2014, when it all comes out.

5. Devise a new drinking game based around how many times BBC pundit Denise Lewis refers to her own gold medal. Or how many times Gabby Logan gives her a withering look. You'll get very, very drunk.

6. Turn the sound off, channel hop over to Veep on Sky and then turn the sound back on again.

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