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Issue 5

Olympics my arse -

I’d hate to be the one that claims “told you so” beforehand, but it’s not going to happen. As Mr. Mantia puts it–profusely submitting scientific evidence- inline speedskating is the best sport there is >>. Alas, that’s not nearly enough to get an invitation to the Olympic dollar-fest. Let’s be honest with ourselves, let’s be realistic: it’s not going to happen.
We should remember the farce displayed in Singapore at the 117º IOC assembly in 2005. Not only the Slakov affair was uncovered (see here >>) and certain dirty maneuvers regarding the cities bidding were aired, but the new sports inclusion vote was a scandal. The world was witness of the cadged, sully bastards that move and shake the IOC. A mob aiming to evident self economic interests, nepotism and geopolitical tactics that have nothing to do with sport. The Olympic movement’s image is definitely not clean, and this people are killing its core spirit, its very essence. De Coubertin must be turning in his grave like a new ceramic bearing.
Nevertheless, we stood no chance then, being the least important sport considered for inclusion. Have things improved since that voting? Hardly.

What have we done to deserve it?

“Roller-sports”, for starters, is an awful marketing mistake. Whoever was the twat that christened our sport like that for Olympic purposes? Roller sports include bloody artistic, for instance, and I can safely bet that 99% of the unaware population of the planet might associate that nonsense on wheels with real skating. Actually, “Roller-sports” sounds like some kinky teenagers’ game, much like “watersports” is a way to call certain sexual predilections popular in Germany and Japan. Why don’t you call it by its name, for fuck’s sake? Its SPEEDSKATING, you morons!
The name counts, but it’s not critical. Last time, we –represented by FIRS- made a sorry appearance before the IOC’s members (featuring the most pathetic video ever produced), no wonder nobody took us seriously. Having learnt the lesson well, this time over Sabatino & Co spent the last 3 years -plus an unthinkable magnitude of FIRS resources- doing some lobbying, taping the right channels and broadly bribing his superiors in the Olympic food chain. True, it's a zillion times more than what was done by his predecessors, but that’s just because none of them did anything at all, ever. It simply is not enough, compared with what can be done by the powerful rugby, golf and karate federations. Even squash looks impressive in its political influence. The general impression is that we did too little too late (once again), and are quite not up to the task.
As for the video promo (or rather, collection of them) this time is a tad better… however; it inspires nothing but boredom, indifference. The movie-trailer voiceover narrator is at best annoying, the oniric images stupid and pointless, the editing amateurish. True, as a sport apparently we met most of the requirements previously advanced by IOC: sadly that’s either sufficient. And when it comes to media related terms, we’re simply nonexistent. I was not an eyewitness during those Lausanne presentations with Parra and Sanfratello, but I suppose they did –at best- just as good as the other sports in reasoning how fine this one is for the summer program. So that's about it.

But do we really deserve it?

If you read my earlier articles, I guess you’d have a grim notion of our sports’ future. Mind, I consider myself a positive, optimistic person… you noticed I also like to put the finger right in the political arse. If you stop for a moment and think about it, you'll realize our sport is struggling to survive and slowly growing worldwide not by credit of our governing bodies but EXCLUSIVELY, SOLELY because of private initiatives born from a bunch of small businesses and a myriad (well, a few thousand) of passionate supporters like you and me, willing to infect the skating virus wherever we go. Have a look at the international rulebook, check the judge’s usual mess, count how many federations are actively promoting grass roots and observe the media coverage we’ve got… Exactly, that’s why in most places we’re considered devotees of a HOBBY, not a real sport. As it is, sadly we have to admit that we really deserve to be in those infamous World Games, side by side to sumo, bowling, tug of war, dragon boat, pizza throwing or fucking Frisbee, for that matter.

The other Boleyn sisters

Are we really better than the other sports in this next Copenhagen bid? Rugby has my respect in all its forms, although it makes me shiver to watch ladies playing it. I’d love to see sevens in the Olympics as many more out there, including Rogge himself. Karate is definitely a noble sport, but if they admit it, wouldn’t all the other martial arts want their share as well?
As for golf... It is a sport, really? Man, I suppose they call “sport” anything these days. Squash looks like a giant snowball with two morons killing mosquitoes inside. Is there any BALL played, actually, or are they just mimicking? Anyway, we don’t need yet another tennis’ poor cousin, like stupid badmington or ping-pong, thank you very much. Baseball is cricket’s idiotic American cousin, as much as dull and tedious but with steroids and cheaper lager; softball is just its prostitute ugly sister.
Wait, there is more spoof going on in the games! Checking the program makes me wonder if we really would like to be associated to certain disciplines as well. Horse riding, anything sailing and BMX are as Olympic as shopping or nose picking. But what really gets to my nerves is that synchronized swimming crap… Every time I see them on TV, before hitting the remote I hope water fills in every hole and sunk those silly cows for good. And don’t get me started with curling! Mostly because that would be off-topic.
So: altius fortius citius, anyone? If they truly are looking for that threesome (in an ideal world), I’d recommend those corruptible politicians to turn towards the general direction of INLINE SPEEDSKATING as soon as they can. Because the Games are becoming edition after edition a ginormous three-ring circus with more snakes and rats than lions and tigers.

So, do we really want it?

Undisputedly, being in the Games would bring great profit to the skating community. I’m not talking about the allure of a gold medal -quickly forgotten-, or the glory brought by winning for god and country. No, forget all that bullshit: I’m talking $$$ here, the big fat checks our skaters would cash, the money good coaches would earn, the resources available to newer generations of athletes. Of course, politicians and their minions would get the bigger share of it all, but that’s the way the world goes.
At what cost, though? Money will change everything, and I’m not sure it would be a positive trend. Will the WIC benefit? Will the world champs be seriously taken during Olympic years? Will we have at least the sought after TV coverage for our events? Hmmm… hardly.

So let’s face it: unless a cosmological miracle happens, or the politicians feel the need to screw karate or rugby, we’re not going to be an Olympic sport as yet. The good news is, we won’t die, and in the worst case scenario, nothing will change for us. We need to keep working towards an international & professional set of races that’s TV worthwhile, we MUST put a great deal of effort in bringing as much kids as possible to SKATING (NOT speedskating, at first), and finally we should keep proving to the world that the true Olympic spirit absolutely lives in our sport, in which fortius citius altius are perfectly epitomized.
Because if the Olympic Games are still run by the same crooks last seen in Singapore, they can take the whole five rings and shove them up their arses. Starting with the red one, please.

Marcello Bresin


Issue 6
Issue 4