Egg-beater no craic
A bluffer’s guide to synchronised swimming
Okay, I don’t care what you say, this is not a sport.
Sure it is. It’s in the Olympics, isn’t it?
Look, that carry-on with the girl with the stick and the ribbon is in the Olympics. Still doesn’t make it a sport.
You mean rhythmic gymnastics? Oh, it’s a great spo. . .
Don’t even think about it.
It’s not a sport and you know it isn’t. Neither is synchronised swimming. At best – at very, very best – it’s floating with style.
Look, ignore the lipstick and the garb and the sparkles. These are some of the fittest athletes at the game. It’s been clinically proven that only long-distance runners have greater aerobic capacity than synchronised swimmers. Nobody in the Olympics has abs like them.
Hey, I’m not saying they’re not very fit young women. I’m just saying they’re not sportspeople. Put them on a floor instead of in water and they’re dancers. You’re not trying to tell me dancers are sportspeople too?
If dancers had to be able to hold their breath underwater for over a minute at a time, I’d consider it.
I was able to do that when I was seven years old.
While pointing your toes directly at the roof of the pool? And paddling your arms to keep your legs still?
Okay, so it’s probably quite difficult.
Difficult? Try this the next time you’re in whatever four-star spa you like to recline in when you’re taking a break from your not-in-any-way- Olympian life.
Try treading water by swirling one foot clockwise and the other foot anti-clockwise. That’s called the egg-beater.
In fact, try it now sitting in your seat.
Okay. One clockwise, one anti-clockwise? That’s a piece of . . . Hang on, that’s really hard.
Yes it is. Now imagine trying to do that in a pool while performing a rehearsed routine and doing so in synch with up to seven team-mates. One false move and the judge will nail you. And the egg-beater is one of the absolute basics.
Okay, so it’s physically demanding. But it’s still judged. I have problems with ‘sports’ that depend on the whims of a judge.
What about boxing?
You get your nose broken in boxing.
So what? Synchronised swimmers end up with worse knees than Paul McGrath. Not to mention swimmer’s ear. It’s very painful.
Tell me about it. I feel a little of it coming on just listening to you.
Ah, g’way and hold your breath.
Top spoofing factoid: It’s one of just two Olympic sports where only women are allowed to compete. The other is rhythmic gymnastics.
Do say: That’s exceptional stacking and throwing from the Russian team.
Don’t say: Wouldn’t that be easier with a snorkel?
When:The women’s duet final is today at 3pm.
IGUIDER’S TORCH TO SHINE BRIGHT
Ever since the country’s first entry into the Olympics in 1960, Moroccan success has been a reasonably regular occurrence.
The occasional boxer aside, their best days have always been on the track with the likes of Said Aoita in LA and Seoul and Hicham El Geurrouj in the Sydney and Athens dominating the middle distances.
That torch has been passed down now to the former world junior champion at 1,500m Abdalaati Iguider, without question their best medal hope at these games.
Iguider is 25 and his progression through the ranks has actually taken a while. He went to Beijing hopeful of a medal but got blown out of the water in the home-straight by Rasheed Ramzi, the Bahraini who was later stripped of his title after testing positive. Iguider tried to go with him but cracked early and faded to sixth (later upgraded to fifth).
Four years on, he has twice been the world indoor champion, having picked up his second title in Istanbul earlier this year.
He easily won his semi-final on Sunday and comes into tonight’s final as the fastest qualifier.
The defending champion, Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop, will provide the stiffest opposition since Algeria’s big medal hope Taoufik Makhloufi ran into trouble yesterday when he dropped out early in the first lap of his 800m heat.
The officials took a dim view and accused him of blatantly not trying, initially excluding him for the 1,500m final, before reversing that decision last night.