Many of you may not be aware of this but this year was the first ever ‘Social Justice Warrior and Communist Olympics’. If you didn’t hear about it it’s probably because it was held in London and it fell on the 08th of June, the same day as the general election.
I was mildly intrigued so I went down there to check it out.
The stadium was around half full and the events were in full swing, I was quite far back so couldn’t see the athletics area in full detail but I could see someone just taking off on the long jump while closer into the middle of the field a ‘hammer’ hurtled into the sky.
A big screen at the end of the arena was just showing the end of a sprint race – was that men and women racing together?
That aside what initially caught my attention as I made my way down the steps between a busy seating area was the total lack of atmosphere. No flags, no signs with any names on demonstrating support for any individual and no random cheering. Just silence as the spectators watched the field or the screen.
I stopped half way down the steps and looked on as the big screen cut to the high jump final. I decided to watch it all and see what happened.
There were two finalists and after the 200m race I wasn’t so shocked to see it was a man and a woman. The woman was called Theresa and the man Jeremy.
My initial impressions were that Theresa looked very competent. She was in full athletics gear bouncing nimbly on tip toes as she tried to keep warm. They were waiting for their final jump of three and Theresa was clearly in the lead. Her previous two jumps were 1.95m and 2.0m. Jeremy on the other hand looked in much worse state and I watched on with bizarre fascination. He was wearing some old tattered brown suite and he was wandering around the high jump area, laces untied, looking like he didn’t know where he was or was blind drunk. His previous jumps were, two ‘no jumps’.
Theresa was jumping first. She had already beaten her previous pb with 2.0m and was now pushing even higher – she set the bar at 2.1m. I was transfixed on the screen, this is what I like to see, someone really going for it. She began her run up, would she do it??? Come on Theresa! Alas, she set the bar too high. She just clipped the bar and knocked it off as she sailed over. Still I thought, good effort for trying. I looked around, the crowd remained silent.
Two girls were sitting next to where I stood, I heard one whisper to the other “Can we cheer yet?”
The other replied “Not yet, they haven’t told us who they’ve chosen to win”
I thought this was a bit odd but my attention was pulled back to the screen as Jeremy got ready for his third and final jump. They had set the bar at ……2cm!!! I wasn’t sure what I was watching. They had moved all the crash mats out of the way and seeing as the bar was about 2cm thick had literally just rested the bar on the floor. One of the attendants walked up to an obviously disorientated Jeremy, turned him in roughly the right direction and gave him a gentle shove. He stumbled forward toward the bar. He was about 10ft away and making slow progress as his feet shuffled forward, hardly leaving the ground and sending small puffs of dust up with each scrape of a foot. About five feet away he turned, looking around confused, but readjusted as attendants to either side waved their hands at him and pointed him in the right direction.
After what seemed like an age he was at the jump. ‘He’s not even going to manage this’ I thought as the big screen zoomed in and showed his feet scuffing across the floor right in front of the bar. At the last second Jeremy stumbled! His front foot lifted just a fraction and just cleared the bar, followed a second later by his back foot. The bar didn’t budge. Jeremy continued stumbling on, unaware of where he was.
I looked around, still nothing. The entire crowd just stared expectantly at the screen.
After a few seconds an announcement came up over the tannoy “And the winner is……..JEREMY!”. The whole crowd burst into applause.
“Yes, we’ve decided that Theresa being really good at the high jump has given her an unfair advantage. We think that setting the bar so low for Jeremy and him managing not to hit it was more of an achievement for Jeremy than Theresa challenging herself and setting the bar too high, so……..JEREMY WINS”
Chants of “JEREMY, JEREMY, JEREMY” broke out through the crowd.
As Theresa walked off the athletics track many in the crowd started pointing and jeering at her screaming “LOSER” as she left.
What struck me most as I looked around was the abrupt change in nature of the crowd. One second they were staring like zombies at the screen, unsure of what their reaction should be. The next they were ‘victory chanting’ in adulation at somebody who had clearly lost and screaming blue murder at the fair winner.
The two girls next to me were cheering away happily for Jeremy.
Slightly perturbed by this bizarre behaviour I turned to leave making a mental note to find out who these so called judges were.
Anyway, that was a few months ago now. After copious research I still haven’t found out who the judging panel were for the ‘Social Justice Warrior and Communist’ Olympics and I haven’t managed to find out the judging criteria.
If anyone can enlighten me to this new way of judging competitions I’d be much obliged.