Why does Gina Rinehart sponsor water sports?

EXCLUSIVE: Billionaire Gina Rinehart has revealed why she donates so much money to the federations and athletes of water-based sports in Australia. Rinehart’s company, Hancock Prospecting, is one of the major sponsors of sports such as Swimming and Rowing and has funded many of the Olympic gold medals Australia has won in recent years.

“Australia will soon be underwater,” Rinehart revealed in an exclusive interview.

“And I am largely responsible for that.”

Most of Australia’s major cities and towns hug the coastline and could soon be threatened by sea levels rising as a result of the climate crisis. Hancock Prospecting is devoted primarily to livestock farming and mining, which are driving climate change and forcing ice caps to melt. Furthermore, Rinehart wields enormous political power in Australia and has helped prevent the nation from making the transition to renewable energy.

“It is so important for all Australians to be competent swimmers, and to know how to manage a water-based vessel as sea levels rise,” Rinehart continued.

“As sea levels rise, most Australians will have to travel by water and deal with more extreme storms and floods, unless people like me stop using traditional farming methods and stop burning fossil fuels. This is why I pour so much money into sports like swimming and rowing – aside from the PR benefits and the opportunity to distract everyday Aussies from the damage my businesses do to the planet.”

“I don’t sponsor sports such as Cycling, Athletics or Hockey because you can’t play Hockey underwater (except at Uni games) and you can’t run, jump throw or cycle underwater.”

Hancock Prospecting is the major sponsor of Swimming Australia and a major partner of Rowing Australia, and is called the “matriarch” of the Australian Dolphins Swim Team. She has sponsored Australian swimming since 1992, and her ‘generous direct financial support’ is described as ‘especially critical to Swimming Australia’ for it allows athletes to ‘focus on their on their training and performance and not be distracted by financial pressures that most athletes face’.

In recognition of the amount of money Rinehart has given to sports such as rowing and swimming, she was awarded an Order of Merit by the Australian Olympic Committee (interalia), and is described as an ‘inspiration’ to Australian swimmers.

Asked if she would donate some of her considerable wealth to other countries even more directly threatened by rising sea levels, such as Australia’s neighbours in the South Pacific, Rinehart replied:

“No, I’m a patriot.”

Image: Patrick Hamilton

Are LGBTQIA+ people being exploited?

Embracing the LGBTQIA+ community is trending. Corporations, governments, organisations and high profile individuals in Australia are embracing or being seen to embrace people from this community. This is a sign of a fairer and more equitable world, but is it also an example of exploitation?

Are LGBTQIA+ people being used by organisations to improve their public image or to distract the public from the organisations failings in other areas?

Why would they do this?

Support for inclusion and diversity is trending. Organisations seen to support the cause can position themselves as responsible corporate or social citizens, especially if they can successfully publicise this support. The organisation is less likely to be labelled unethical, and can also use inclusion and diversity to distract the public from their unethical or questionable practices in other areas – unethical practices which are destructive to society, including the LGBTQIA+ community.

AGL

AGL is an Australian energy company with one claim to fame: it is Australia’s biggest polluter. Australia is one of the world’s biggest polluters. AGL epitomises the exploitation of the LGBTQIA+ community for Public Relations (PR) purposes and distraction.

The AGL website states that:

“In 2014, AGL implemented a LGBTQ+ Inclusion Strategy, and in 2015 we were rated as one of the best performing first-time entrants to the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI). Our employee-driven LGBTQ+ network, AGL Shine, was created in 2014.

In September 2015, AGL announced our support for marriage equality in Australia. Our position was strongly endorsed by the AGL Board, our senior management, and AGL Shine members.”

What exactly is involved in supporting marriage equality?

Posting a message on the company’s official platforms stating support of marriage equality. Not particularly difficult. AGL made the statement in 2015, when the movement had gained such strong momentum that same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia in 2016. Hardly groundbreaking or brave.

The statement continues:

“In 2020, we were proud to be awarded Gold Employer status for LGBTQ+ inclusion at the AWEI Awards. This is the third year we have been awarded Gold Employer status.”

How hard it is to promote inclusion and diversity?

Including people of diverse backgrounds essentially means treating people fairly.

How much does inclusion and diversity cost?

To have been continually awarded for inclusion, the company must have made some financial investment.

How much does transitioning to renewable energy cost?

In the short term, a lot. In the long term, AGL would apparently make a profit because the global economy is embracing renewable technology. Convincing shareholders to invest in diversity and inclusion seems much easier than convincing them to invest in renewable energy. AGL is a business and bases all of its decisions on profits. Transitioning to clean energy is undoubtedly more expensive in the short term than embracing the LGBTQIA+ community.

Interestingly, while AGL was publicly supporting marriage equality, it made a deliberate decision not to transition to renewable energy. The company had apparently appointed a new boss in 2015, who was tasked with overseeing a move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. However, pressure from the then Minister for the Environment, Josh Frydenberg, convinced the company to reject clean energy sources and continue burning fossil fuels.

AGL wins considerable social credibility and brand enhancement through its inclusion polices and support for marriage equality, at exactly the same time that it actively rejects a transition to renewable energy.

Coincidence?

AFL

The Australian Football League runs the premier Australian Rules football competition in the country and is well-known for its support of LGBTQIA+ people. It has held a ‘Pride’ round since 2016 to promote inclusion and diversity.

The AFL is more public in its support of this issue than other major sporting codes, and this could be motivated by honest intentions or by its commitment to its women’s competition, AFLW, in which many players are openly gay. Cynics might argue that the governing body is chasing the pink dollar, but that criticism is not constructive.

Interestingly, despite having held a Pride round since 2016, not one male AFL player has come out as gay. Are there any gay AFL players?

The AFL appears sincere in its acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community. However, is the organisation equally sincere in its attempts to tackle racism and misogyny? The AFL also holds an Indigenous round (since 2008) and claims to embrace women, not just those involved in the ALFW.

However, just days before this article was written, a popular AFL player, Taylor Walker, was outed for a racist comment during an Aussie Rules football game, and his public apology was widely criticised as inadequate. This followed revelations earlier in 2021 of widespread racism within the Collingwood Magpies club, one of the nation’s biggest, as well as the brutal racism directed at former player Adam Goodes. The racist attacks on Goodes were so vicious, incessant and damaging that they forced him to quit the sport, and they spurned two documentaries.

Treatment of women within the AFL is also far from ideal. Numerous players have been found guilty of misogyny, harrassment and even assault of women, and this history of toxic masculinity is documented in The Frownlow Medal and The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.

Thus, the AFL has failed to sufficiently address issues of toxic masculinity and racism, but derives positive publicity from its support of the LGBTQIA+ community.

IOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was praised for its decision to allow an Australian female Rugby 7s player to wear headgear with a rainbow coloured design. The rainbow design promoted awareness and acceptance of issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community, and commentators explained that the Australian player was given ‘permission’ by the IOC to wear the protective equipment with that particular design.

According to media reports:

“Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team Ian Chesterman threw his support behind the celebration and Williams for lodging the request.

“It’s wonderful for our athletes to celebrate their identity as well as promote all of our Olympic sports as safe and inclusive,” Mr Chesterman said.

“I’d like to thank the IOC for their support in allowing Sharni to wear the headgear and thank Sharni for sharing her story with us during the games.”

The IOC has been the subject of countless articles and documentaries questioning its ethics and accusing it of bullying and rampant corruption. Furthermore, Olympic athletes are given strict and detailed instructions to refrain from any form of protest or activism on any issue at any time during the games. But, they let a rugby player wear rainbow headgear.

Tiwi Islands Mardi Gras

The Tiwi Islands lie to the north of Darwin and are home to Indigenous Australian communities. In 2017, 30 Tiwi Sistagirls, or transgender women, travelled to Sydney to take part in their first ever Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The inclusion was hailed as a victory for the Sistagirls and the LGBTQIA+ community in general. The inaugural journey received widespread media coverage and many organisations associated themselves publicly with this event. They could be accused of jumping on the bandwagon (or float).

Some of these organisations, including government departments, are responsible for solving many of the problems which plague remote communities such as those on the Tiwi Islands. These problems include societal decay, low life expectancy, loss of language and culture, drug and alcohol abuse, poor school attendance, violence, incarceration, unemployment, poor literacy and numeracy, and discrimination.

If the mainstream media and organisations celebrate the participation of Tiwi people in Mardi Gras, does it create the impression that life is improving on the Tiwi Islands and for Indigenous Australians in general? Does it distract Australians from the reality of life for Indigenous Australians and the need to do something about it?

Furthermore, how hard is it to get Tiwi Islanders to Mardi Gras? How hard is it to book a few flights and hotel rooms?

How hard is it to effect real change in Indigenous communities? Apparently very difficult. According to Pat Turner, Lead Convenor of the Coalition of Peaks and CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, only two of six Closing The Gap (CTG) targets were on track: early education and Year 12 attainment.

This means that after 12 years since the release of the first CTG report, little or no progress has been made in areas such as child mortality, employment, life expectancy and education.

Once again, it could be said that LGBTQI+ people are being used to distract the public from the failures of various organisations.

Supporting LGBTQIA+ rights is important. It is a question of equality and fairness. It should not be exploited for positive PR by organisations seeking to distract the public from their unethical or incompetent practices in other areas, or to shield the organisation from public criticism.

Image: Vector Stock

Are Australia’s Olympic medals tainted?

Aussies screamed at their TV screens as yet another Australian athlete strained for gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Aussies cheered and wept for joy as athlete after athlete collected gold, silver and bronze medals while wearing the green and gold.

Most of these medals were won in Swimming and Rowing.

Most of those medals are tainted.

Most of those medals were funded by Gina Rinehart. Swimmers won 21 medals and rowers won 4 medals, making them our two most successful sports.

Rinehart is one of the world’s richest people and amassed her enormous personal fortune through two of the most destructive industries in the world – mining fossil fuels and farming livestock. Rinehart’s mines and farms are not small. Some of them are the size of small countries, and she owns or has a financial stake in businesses scattered throughout Australia.

Rinehart’s business interests are contributing greatly to the climate crisis which will harm the standard of living of people in Australia and throughout the world in the near future – including swimmers and rowers. She also wields enormous political power in Australia and has helped prevent the nation from making the smart environmental and economic decision to transition to renewable energy.

Rinehart’s businesses, operating under the banner of Hancock Prospecting, have helped earn Australia a reputation as one of the world’s worst polluters. Australia has the highest per capita carbon footprint in the world and the highest rate of native mammal extinction in the world. Australia’s contribution to, and inaction on, climate change has made it an international pariah in recent years. Rinehart’s businesses are central to Australia’s environmental destruction.

Hancock Prospecting is the major sponsor of Swimming Australia and a major partner of Rowing Australia. Rinehart is swimming’s patron and is openly called the “matriarch” of the Australian Dolphins Swim Team. She was pictured front and centre among the PODS (Parents of Dolphins Swimmers) during Channel 7’s coverage of the swimming events in Tokyo, and ran her own long ads during the games. She has sponsored Australian swimming since 1992, and her ‘generous direct financial support’ is described as ‘especially critical to Swimming Australia’ for it allows athletes to ‘focus on their on their training and performance and not be distracted by financial pressures that most athletes face.’ With Rinehart’s assistance, several swimmers were also granted private scholarships to attend Bond University.

In recognition of the amount of money Rinehart has given to sports such as rowing and swimming, she was awarded an Order of Merit by the Australian Olympic Committee (interalia), and is described as an ‘inspiration’ to Australian swimmers.

Rinehart’s sponsorship appears to be central to Australia’s record medal haul in swimming at the Tokyo games, and to the impressive results of the country’s rowers. The ebullient language of Swimming Australia cleverly praises their largest sponsor, and implies a dependency on her funding.

The question must be asked:

Would Australia win as many Olympic medals without financial support from Hancock Prospecting? Would Australia win any medals in swimming and rowing without Hancock Prospecting? Are Australia’s medals tainted?

A more pressing question is:

What is more important to Australia, Olympic medals or a livable planet?

Image: Charles Deluvio

The Eastern Suburbs Olympics.

The region’s best athletes will fight for suburban superiority in the inaugural Eastern Suburbs Olympics during July and August. Super-talented locals will represent their suburbs in the IOC-sanctioned event and will compete for gold, silver and bronze across the following specifically-designed sports:

  1. Coffee Cup Relay

Teams of four must pass a large, full, disposable, branded coffee cup along the coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee while swerving between weekend traffic and selfie addicts.

  • Shore dump Gymnastics

Gymnasts must perform the most creative and acrobatic tricks in the Coogee shore dump, without breaking their neck.

  • Bodysurfing

Whompers must bodysurf between the flags at Bondi Beach and make it all the way to the sand without smashing headlong into a swimmer.

  • Beach Volleyball Boxing

Tamarama and Bondi Beaches will host this exciting hybrid sport. Spiking your opponent in the head equals one point. Knocking them out earns 2 points, and spiking a nearby child in the head equals 6 and out.

  • Rabbit Hunting

Hunt the feral rabbits at north Clovelly headland, and earn a point for every skin. Avoid killing any of the rabbits who are completing their recovery session at Clovelly Beach.

  • Synchronised Swimming

Team and individual synchronised swimming events will be held at Bronte Baths. Every Eastern Suburbs resident is required to attend at least one session, because it’s not an Olympics without watching hour after hour of Aussie swimmers in sequins.

  • Fencing

Athletes must use a Sabre, Foil or Epee to fight off fearless seagulls while attempting to eat a full meal of Fish and Chips without losing a single chip to the ubiquitous birds.

  • Dog fights

Mackenzies Bay will host fights to the death between off-leash pooches, while local parks, beaches and playgrounds will host fatal fights between dogs and innocent children.

  • Sandcastles

Competitors will have just one day to secure a DA, receive a Homebuilder grant and construct an elaborate sandcastle to be built by the region’s best architects and tradies. The top eight sandcastles will be judged by nosy neighbours and S. Cam, if the IOC can afford his appearance fee.

10.

A gruelling challenge. Run the City to Surf in under 60 minutes while dragging at least one primary school child, plus dog, new-born, pram, school bags, instrument, scooters, helmets, projects…

Athletes can compete in just one event, or contest all ten disciplines for the right to be crowned the greatest athlete in the East. To honour the ancient Olympics, and the spectators, every event will be contested nude. As a result, competitors wearing sluggos or boardies will be disqualified, and women in Brazilian bikinis risk appearing on the front cover of The Beast.

First published in The Beast magazine, August 2021.

Image: http://www.frugalfrolicker.com

Should Indigenous Australian performers boycott Brisbane 2032?

Should Indigenous Australian performers boycott the opening and closing ceremonies at the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games?

They are likely to be invited. They perform at most international events held in Australia and they played a significant role in the ceremonies at Sydney 2000.

Why should they boycott?

Because Indigenous participation in ceremonies at international events allows Australia to pretend to the world that Indigenous people are treated fairly in this country. They are not.

Because international pressure is often the best way to create change in a society. If performers boycotted, attention would be drawn to the issues which prompted the boycott. The Australian government and people might be embarrassed into acting.

Because sport matters to Australia. Boycotting at a sporting event might have more impact than a conventional protest march, petition, submission to parliament or general media coverage of the pertinent issues.

Because the very real issues facing Aboriginal people on a daily basis are far more important than an expensive pre-sporting extravaganza.

Boycotting the ceremonies could be a powerful way to draw attention to their struggles.

What are the issues?

The most accurate description of the issues facing Indigenous people in Australia today is encapsulated in the Ulruru Statement from the Heart.

Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago. 

This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown. 

How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years? 

With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood. 

Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future. 

These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness

We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country. 

We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution. 

Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination. 

We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history. 

In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.

Yes, I just copied and pasted the statement, because I’m not Indigenous and I’m not going to speak for Aboriginal people. Too many Whitefellas have done that in the past, and continue to do so. I’m not Indigenous, and that’s why I posed this idea as a question. It’s not my decision. I just wonder if it is a move that would be worth considering and one that might improve the lives of Aboriginal people.

As well as incarceration, Indigenous Australians rank behind the rest of the population in indicators such as physical and mental health, life expectancy, literacy and numeracy, employment, financial wellbeing and general education.

Interestingly, similar concerns were expressed in the Bark Petition put together by the Yolngu people of Yirrkala in northern Australia and sent to federal parliament. This happened in 1963.

So, would it work?

That’s a very good question. Surely it would have an impact. It would attract publicity and may force the Australian government to and people to act on recommendations that have been outlined in countless reports, but have never been implemented. It would also provoke a lot of anger from narrow-minded Australians, but that anger exists, and is expressed freely, already. It could backfire, and expose the dark underbelly of racism in Australia which could set back the fight for equality.

If it didn’t work, performers would miss out on participating on the world stage, which is as much a pinnacle for artists as it is for athletes.

Participation might be more powerful. Indigenous performers may be able to negotiate the right to say what they want to say in their performances, and to shed light on the challenges they face, through their performance. Somehow, though, it is unlikely the Australian government, International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) would have the courage to let Indigenous Australians tell the truth.

The fact that the authorities can control what the performers present to the world is another reason to boycott.

A position of power?

It might work, because Indigenous Australians appear to hold some power in this situation. If the Indigenous component was removed from the ceremonies, what would replace it?

  • Stockmen in Drizabones and Akubras? Cliched, and done at Sydney 2000. Plus, Brumbies are destroying Alpine national parks.
  • Lawn mowers and Hills Hoists? Cliched and done in Sydney.
  • The migrant story? Australia puts some migrants in off-shore detention, which constitutes human rights abuses. Plus, we are witnessing a resurgence in exclusive patriotism and white nationalism in Australia, especially in Queensland, so we can’t truly claim to embrace multiculturalism in this country.
  • The Barrier Reef? It might be completely destroyed by 2032.
  • Pavlova? A dessert with a Russian name that some people claim was invented in New Zealand.
  • My Island Home? Done in Sydney, belongs to Warumpi Band.

We can’t boast about our natural environment, because we’re destroying most of it. We can’t boast about technology, because we can barely get the National Broadband Network to work. Nikki Webster’s too old to be suspended from a trapeze wire and we can’t resurrect the giant kangaroo, the foam eskies, Ned Kelly or marching bands. John Farnham, though, is always willing to make a comeback.

Thus, will the opening ceremony consist of a case of VB and a packet of Tim Tams in the middle of a massive stadium?

In all seriousness though, do Indigenous people hold some power in the composition of an opening or closing ceremony at Brisbane 2032? The show might look quite empty, cliched and shallow without them. This, should the threat of a boycott be made now, so that the nation has time to fix the problems facing Indigenous people before 2032?

How will we know it has worked?

When the demands of the Uluru Statement from the Heart are met. This would take years to happen.

Will they need to boycott?

Will the situation have improved so much by 2032 that Indigenous people can proudly display their culture to the rest of the world and enjoy prosperous lives long after the Olympic flame is extinguished?

Let’s hope so.

Aussie sports shooters to take on new role after Olympics.

Australia’s best sports shooters will shoot and kill invasive animals upon returning from Tokyo 2020 under a new plan devised by Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley.

The nation’s elite shooters will travel the country hunting and killing the invasive animals which are destroying Australia’s natural environment and its native wildlife. Australia has the highest rate of native mammal extinction in the world, and feral animals contribute greatly to this destruction. The estimated cost of invasive species was $AUD13.6 billion in the 2011-12 financial year alone.

“Australia’s best sports shooters will use their skill and experience to hunt and kill invasive animal species,” announced Ley.

“They will begin this important work upon the conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, and will continue until every feral animal is eliminated from Australia. We must eliminate invasive species from our land in order to protect the ecology of this country.”

Ley believes the initiative presents numerous benefits. Shooters will help rid Australia of destructive species while honing their skills in a realistic environment shooting at moving targets, enabling them to hopefully win more medals at the next games.

“This will be especially beneficial to ‘Shotgun’ competitors, who must hit a moving target during competition, as well as exponents of Rifle and Pistol disciplines. We are also confident that it will provide a competitive edge for our shooters over shooters from other nations at Paris 2024.”

Ley also explained that Olympic shooters are suitable for this task because they are likely to return to Australia with COVID-19, and spreading this disease among the animal population may be more efficient than shooting,

“And it’s much cheaper than bullets.”

Under the plan, shooters will be required to reach a quota of animals killed in order to receive continued sports funding from the Australian taxpayer.

“We believe this will incentivise shooters to carry out their task effectively. We also expect Bridget McKenzie to join the shooters on their hunt, because she knows all about sports funding and she loves to shoot.”

Australia’s natural environment is under great threat from a range of invasive species such as cats, foxes, deer, mice, rats, myna birds, camels, horses, pigs, dogs, rabbits, goats, donkeys, buffalo, carp and cane toads. All of these animals can be shot, including the much-maligned cane toad.

“Cane toads are hard to shoot, but when you hit one, gosh it feels good. Watching the toxins spurt out of its guts is why I love shooting,” explained one Aussie shooter.

Another benefit of assigning this role to sports shooters is that many invasive species are found on private land, and many shooters own this land, so it will be easier to gain access to areas where feral animals dominate.

Ley was excited at the proposed outcomes of this program, and the contribution that some of our Olympic competitors can make to the country.

“Eliminating feral animals from our continent is far more valuable to the country than an Olympic gold medal.”

Image: http://www.commonwealthgames.com.au

Technology takes centre stage at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

State-of-the-art technology will play an unprecedented role in the Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020. The International Olympic Committee and the local organising committee will utilise technology to revolutionise the delivery of the event and to ensure safety during the global pandemic.

Vending machines will dispense medals during victory ceremonies in order to minimise person-to-person contact, and technological devices will play a key role in almost every Olympic sport.

Road Cycling, Race Walking, Mountain Biking, Triathlon, Marathon Swimming and Marathon running

The world’s most advanced vending machines will operate at feed stations in the endurance events, replacing volunteers or soigneurs. Machines will be pre-programmed with each athlete’s drinks for the entire race, and will read the transponder of every competitor as they pass through the feed zone. What’s more, the AI-equipped vending machine will read the minds of the athletes to determine if they want plain water, energy drinks or electrolytes, and a hand will emerge from the machine to deliver exactly which drink the athlete needs at that moment.

Rock climbing

Robots will operate the belay during the Speed Climbing event in the Sport Climbing competition. Robots will also replace people who normally perform the role of coxswain in the ‘Eights’ rowing.

Mechanical mechanics

Drones will replace mechanics and soigneurs during the road cycling events. Highly-specified drones will hover above the race and descend automatically whenever a rider experiences a mechanical issue or a puncture.

“Our drones can repair any mechanical issue much quicker than even the most skilled human mechanic,” boasted the IOC spokesperson.

Soigneurs also provide massages to cyclists during competitions, and the IOC claims its robots can also provide this service.

“…but we’re not sure how many athletes want to be massaged by a robot.”

Robots will also replace ball kid at the tennis, as well as linespeople and umpires,

“This way, if Novak Djokovic hits a linesperson in the face, it won’t hurt,” explained the spokesperson.

Boxers and martial arts competitors, as well as athletes in Fencing, Tennis and team sports will find their first-round opponents through the vending machines, and swimmers and runners will use a vending machine to find their heat number and lane draw.

3D Printing

3D printers will print sailing boats and horses for use during the games, and these will also be dispensed via the vending machines. Olympic rules stipulate that Equestrian riders and Modern Pentathletes are given a horse and do not bring their own, in order to keep the competition even.

“The most exciting use of vending machines at this year’s games will be at Surfing,” enthused the spokesperson. Surfers will be able to choose the ‘perfect wave’, or the wave which best suits their riding style. If a surfer prefers right handers, they can demand those waves. If they want a barrel, they can order one. It’s just like Kelly Slater’s surf ranch, but in the open ocean.”

Sources close to the IOC believe vending machines may also be employed during post-event interviews with athletes. Instead of talking to a wild throng of voracious journalists, athletes can choose from a list of sporting cliches displayed on a series of sanitised touch screens lining the mixed zone. Popular responses will be displayed in every language and include:

“I’m very happy to win this medal for my country.”

“Words can’t describe how I feel”

“Full credit to the opposition”

“This is a great learning experience for next time.”

“I owe it all to God, Allah, Buddha (or other nominated deity)”

“God Willing, Inshallah…”

“I have to give full credit to my coach/family/teammates/fans”

“It was very tough”

“All of my competitors will be tough to beat in the final”

“I’m just happy to get through to the next round”

Unique twist to medal ceremonies at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympic Games will receive their medals from vending machines in order to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that specially-designed vending machines will be placed beside the dais at each sporting venue and will dispense the medals before the athletes step onto the podium. The machines replace the IOC officials, politicians and sporting legends who would customarily award the medals.

“Using vending machines to award medals to victorious athletes is yet another world-first strategy the IOC has adopted to conduct a safe and healthy competition for all athletes, officials and other stakeholders at the Tokyo Olympic Games during the current pandemic,” announced an IOC spokesperson.

“The method minimises person-to-person contact as well as acknowledging a long-standing and popular cultural custom of obtaining almost anything from a vending machine in Japan.”

Athletes who finish first, second or third will scan their competition transponder through the vending machine. This will be read, and the appropriate medal will be issued before the athletes step onto the podium. The machines will also dispense the flowers and souvenir that the athletes traditionally receive.

“Tokyo 2020 has embraced technology and this is another practical example of the use of state-of-the-art technology to deliver a world-class event, which will keep athletes safe. Using vending machines also reduces the probability of an elite athlete being exposed to a ‘compromised’ sports official.”

It is also hoped the use of vending machines will eliminate the awkward moments in which medal presenters can’t decide whether it is appropriate to kiss, shake hands, fist bump, hug, bow or do none of the above while awarding a medal.

The IOC and the local organising committee had considered using robots to perform this task, but realised that some robots are so life-like they could catch and transmit COVID-19.

Image: Charles Deluvio

IOC announces new sport on eve of Tokyo games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has added Jousting to its official program in an effort to ensure the Tokyo 2021 games are completely COVID-safe.

“Jousting makes a welcome addition to the Olympic family,” read a statement from the IOC.

“We are very excited to add the ancient sport to the Equestrian program and did so for one very good reason: social distancing. Jousters will not pass within 1.5 metres of each other while competing because if they did, they would be smashed with a jousting stick and fall off their horse. In this way, Jousting is very much an extension of Fencing – a very long extension.”

“The sport forms the centrepiece of our COVID-safe games and it will not replace an existing sport. Jousters wear harnesses, or armour, which helps stop the potential spread of infection, and if they sneeze, they will sneeze straight into their full-face helmet and not onto anyone else.”

Jousters will compete on horses supplied to them, as all horses must have been in Japan for at least 12 months prior to competition, in line with strict quarantine rules. Riding a new and unknown horse is expected to add to the unpredictability and excitement of the event. Competitors, meanwhile, are ready to make their Olympic Games debut despite the very short notice.

“The IOC scoured the web for historical medieval re-enactment societies to find jousters, and the response was overwhelming. Jousters from all over the world immediately completed the application form and contacted their respective National Olympic Committees. Some even had patriotic medieval uniforms already made, and we look forward to seeing these on display in Tokyo.”

“Our other new sports also encourage social distancing. Skateboarders compete one at a time, sport climbers do not share the same rock wall, and surfers will never come together, as any elite surfer knows never to drop in.

Golf is largely risk free, because players can clean their ball at every tee, and sports such as Archery and Shooting are also guaranteed to be COVID-safe, because no one will get too close to a competitor carrying a deadly weapon.”

Traditional sports such as Boxing and the martial arts disciplines do present some challenges, the spokesperson conceded.

“Governing bodies and the IOC are still discussing a proposal to have wrestlers compete naked, like in the ancient Olympics, but to cover themselves in sanitising gel instead of essential oils. Boxers will coat their gloves in sanitiser before their match and between rounds.

Relay runners at Athletics will pass through a mist machine containing disinfectant at each baton change. In this way, the baton is sanitised before being passed to the next runner. High Jump and Pole Vault mats will be coasted in sanitiser, as will the bar. Likewise, throwers will select one Putt, Discus, Hammer or Javelin in round 1, write their name on it, and use the same one throughout the competition.

Rowing will see some changes. The 8’s become the 4’s, and the 4’s becomes the pairs and so on, because rowers must leave one seat between themselves and other competitors, just like on public transport. We’re certainly not expecting any world records in this sport, especially since the cox will be a robot instead of a person.”

The extended statement from the IOC then outlined further changes to existing Olympic sports amid the global pandemic.

“Handball poses a problem, even if just for the name itself. Meanwhile, a handball in Football will now result in an automatic red card and two week period of self-isolation for the offending player.

Water Polo will be played in pools so heavily chlorinated competitors will feel like they’re in a swimming lesson during an English winter, while Rhythmic Gymnastics coaches will use Super Soakers to spray the apparatus with disinfectant every time the gymnast throws it into the air.”

The spokesperson also conceded that Modern Pentathlon gives little cause for concern, not just because the 5 sports are all individual.

“It’s because nobody watches the event anyway.”

The biggest risk of transmission at any international multi-sport event is, of course, the athletes village. Asked what specific protocols will be implemented to separate the world’s fittest, healthiest, most athletically-gifted young people from all over the globe, the spokesperson replied:

“We’re not going to bother…”

Image: Vladimir Wrangel

Politicians demand mental health leave.

Politicians throughout the world are demanding fully-paid mental health leave after learning that they cannot attend the Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympic Games due to COVID-19 restrictions. Politicians are distraught that they cannot enjoy free holidays to attend the games, as strict bio-security protocols restrict entry into Japan of non-essential personnel.

Politicians the world over are demanding at least one month paid mental health leave to recover from the distressing news that they cannot enjoy the quadrennial junket.

“Politicians need support and understanding at this difficult time,” read a statement form the International Organisation for Politicians (IOP).

“Their worlds have been turned upside down by the news that they cannot attend the Olympic Games or Paralympic Games and enjoy free travel, accommodation, dining and tickets to witness the world’s best athletes. This is a very trying time for politicians and they ask for their subjects’ understanding and support in this hour of need. That support includes paid mental health leave.”

The IOP explained that the Olympic Games are not just a free holiday for the world’s leaders, but a rare and important branding exercise.

“Only every four years (in this case five) do politicians enjoy such an opportunity to bolster their personal brand in such a manner. Only every four years can they photograph and associate themselves with the world’s greatest athletes in order to raise their own standing in the eyes of the public – whether the athletes like it or not.”

“Only every four years can politicians align their brand with principles of dedication, perseverance, sacrifice, discipline, honesty, teamwork and success. Consequently, politicians order their staff to seek out any photo opportunity with a gold medallist from their own country, or a respected athlete from any country. Political staff are also instructed to scour social media for all and any opportunity to like, tag or link to any athlete displaying the founding principles of the Olympic Games. Of course, social media links can be created from anywhere in the world, but a live photo opportunity with a newly-minted national hero offers much greater benefits to the politician, and it is impossible to find so many elite athletes all in the one place except at an Olympic event.”

The IOP also explained that leaders will miss more than just the photo opportunities.

“Networking is another important role of the Olympic Games. IOC sponsors include some of the world’s largest and most wealthy corporations, and the games provide countless functions at which politicians can secure lucrative post-political consultancy roles.”

“Furthermore, they will miss out on the first-class flights and luxury accommodation. They will miss out on dining at the finest restaurants and being chaperoned from one glamorous function to the next during their stay. They will be denied the chance to feel important, and to collect an assortment of gift bags containing so much swag they need another taxpayer-funded jet just to carry it all home.”