Saturday, August 30, 2008

Being an Olympian: what to expect

A lot of practice sessions. Tough ones, to be sure.

But once you get there to compete, and stay in the Olympic Village, the expectations might be different.

Matthew Syed, a former Olympian, shares a story of interaction among athletes in the Olympic Village. A fact which, perhaps, caused some 100,000 high-quality condoms made available at the Village's clinic.

Do you want to be an Olympian? (or just being there in the Olympic Village)

This sex fest was not limited to Barcelona: the same thing happened in Sydney in 2000, my second Olympics as an athlete, and is happening right here in Beijing, where this time I'm a commentator. I spoke to an Aussie table tennis player this week to check out the village vibe and he launched into the breathless patter common to any Olympic debutant: “It is unbelievable in there; everyone is totally crazy once they are out of their competitions. God knows what it is going to be like this weekend. It is like a world within a world.” A British runner (anonymous again: athletes are not supposed to talk to journalists unaccompanied by a PR type, least of all about sex) said: “The swimmers finished earlier in the week and it was like there was an eruption.”

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