At the same time as Russian armed forces were pounding Georgian troops into submission in South Ossetia, bikini-clad warriors of a different kind are battling it out on a fake beach in gigantic Chaoyang Park in east Beijing with a very different result.
The former Soviet state of Georgia may have been no match for the Russians on the battlefield but they dominated their former allies on the beach volleyball court stomping the Russian squad in what is probably the rowdiest stadium at these Olympics. Chairman Mao would no doubt be turning in his grave had he actually been buried rather than freeze-dried and stuffed in a glass esophagus in Tiananmen Square at the sight of these scantily clad women inciting a stadium filled mostly with locals into a fever pitch of horniness driven by bathing suits, beer and blistering sun. And when the near-naked men and women of various nations on the beach take a break, even more bikinis are unleashed as a multi-cultural squad of beach babes sashay onto the sand to pump up the crowd
Its one of the charming aspects of any Olympics that occasionally David - or Denises - have a chance of clobbering Goliaths. Perhaps also typical of many Olympics, there's plenty of behind the scenes pissing and moaning as the defeated Russian team refused to accept their defeat gracefully, complaining that the victorious Georgians had only been citizens of that country for two years and were in fact Brazilian-born holders of dual citizenship.
So far the Canadians at these games are neither Davids nor Goliaths but simply duds as countries as tiny as Togo, Tajikistan and Taipei have racked up more medals than our, ahem, zero score. Must be hell for Ron MacLean and the rest of the CBC telecasters to find something to talk about at these winless games. Guess that's what happens when you cut back on sports spending and facilities for a generation or more nationwide. This shouldn't be anymore surprising than Canadian kids' growing waistlines and is yet another legacy of hoarding tax dollars rather than spending them.
I was lucky enough to see Venus Williams delivering 195 kilometer serves at a hushed Olympic Green tennis stadium as she clobbered an overmatched Czech though Williams herself has subsequently been dispatched from the games. Tennis has definitely proven to be one of the star attractions at these games as many top world ranked players have shown up only to be dispatched by underdogs. Initially, it was fun to see the Chinese hosts take home medals, I was there to see the local women's synchronized diving team pick up their gold, but the story is getting a little old as they continue to rack of the booty. I saw an early win by emerging American swimming superstar, Michael Phelps, at the gorgeous "bubble" swimming stadium and am finally off to the Bird's Nest tonight as track and field is about to take over centre stage.
The vast majority of fans at any venue I attend are Chinese and I'm told by veteran Olympic attendees that this is a major switch. Usually, the world comes to watch at any Olympiad but the brutal propaganda beating China has taken in advance of their Olympics has taken its tool. Foreigners appear to have been scared off and even freeloading sponsors and their goody grabbing guests are in relatively short supply in Beijing. It's not hurting the hosts' good time as thunderous roars of "Chi - nuh" explode from stadiums all over town. The fact that the government made cheap seats available for locals looks like an opportunity that few could pass up so even if the whole world isn't watching, the Chinese sure are and having a helluva time doing it too.