How can an untalented Olympian secure a place in the 2012 Games? Where can a ‘proper’ cricketer find a decent pub lunch? Nick Jones keeps pace with the web’s most amateur sportsmen
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Last week marked the first anniversary of London’s victorious bid for the 2012 Olympics, and Building noted that there were six years and three weeks to go until the opening ceremony. This may not be long enough for Jonathan Phillips. Phillips, also known as “2012 Olympic Competitor”, is writing a blog (www.2012oc.com) about his quest to appear in the 2012 Games, and it seems that he’s going to have to put every second of that six years and three weeks (actually, make that two weeks) aside for training. His problem is that, as he himself admits, he has “very little sporting talent”. With this in mind, the 33-year-old Phillips has decided to make himself open to offers from from any country, in any sport. “As things currently stand,” he writes, “I suspect that archery is my best chance of competing, as it’s isn’t dangerous, doesn’t involve leotards and it isn’t a fitness-based sport.”
A recent entry finds him pondering the merits of Paraguay, based on the facts that a) its population is “only 6 million people and 13 million llamas” and b) they’ve only ever won one Olympic medal, “so they look desperate for some sporting success”. As Building went to press, the Paraguay Olympic Association had not been in touch.
Phillips is adamant that this is a serious bid and has committed himself to raising a huge amount of money for charity on the back of it, so it may be worth looking out for a suspiciously pasty-looking 39 year old proudly flying the flag for Aruba in the 2012 opening ceremony.
The indomitable spirit of British amateur sport is alive and well elsewhere in cyberspace. Take the illuminating www.tonykelly.org.uk/barndances for example, while the Daily Rivet (www.dailyrivet.blog.co.uk “Amateur cricket – proper cricket for proper people”) shows the kind of never-say-die attitude and commitment to gruelling training regimes that will stand Phillips in good stead in his bid for Olympic immortality.
Admittedly, most entries in the Rivet (“The official organ of the Lord Toad’s XI, playing their cricket the length and breadth of the New Forest”) seem more concerned with the quality of pub lunches the length and breadth of the New Forest than with any actual sport. One entry consists of a heartfelt and expletive-ridden 600-word tirade about a coronation chicken baguette (“half a gallon of coloured mayonnaise with the consistency of watered-down water and four small cubes of what was supposedly chicken”) before a brief match summary.
This is the Corinthian spirit that won back the Ashes, after only 20 years. It certainly underpins the Olympic ideal and will doubtless propel Phillips to glory in 2012. (Obviously, the multibillion-pound Olympic construction programme may require slightly higher standards of professionalism)