Thursday, December 17, 2009

What's left to believe in?

This decade in sport has been largely defined by massive amounts of sometimes hugely elaborate cheating. Balco, fake blood, deliberately crashing cars into walls at ridiculous speeds, the whole gamut of cheating in sport has been taken to extremes over the past ten years. There is no 2000 Olympic women's 100m gold medallist either, given Marion Jones's involvement with Balco and the woman who came second, Katherina Thanou, not getting the upgrade thanks to her own drug-related incident from Athens four years later.

I thought the nadir had been reached when it was revealed earlier this year that the New Zealand lawn bowls team were embroiled in a match-fixing row. They didn't even have cash from a Malaysian betting syndicate riding on it, rather they took a dive so that Canada couldn't qualify for the next round. But the biscuit was well and truly taken this week by the rows surrounding the world pie-eating championships. First, the use of non-Wigan pies has caused outrage among competition veterans, but the big story is in the banning of gravy for this year's event. Apparently, competitors had been adding cough medicine to their own gravy in order to make it easy to ram as much pasty/meat combo down your gullet as quickly as possible.

If you can't trust people to eat pies in stupidly short times with honesty and as much dignity as it's possible to have in such circumstances, then what is there left to believe in?