Monday, August 4, 2008

The Olympics

Australia's Olympians have arrived in Beijing and will probably grab a pile of gold medals during the games. Surely other nations must be wondering how a nation of around 20 million can do so well.

ABC television had a segment last week showing how Australian scientists at the Australian Institute of Sport are helping with expertise and lots of government money. Back in the cold war days we were bitching that the eastern bloc had government run training camps to win gold. Times have changed.

Swimmer Felicity Galvez says that she missed out on a spot in the Australian swim team because Speedo couldn't find her the magic costume LZR because of her diminutive size. These swim suits retail at around $A900.00. This must give wealthy nations an unfair advantage over poor nations. I cannot imagine East Timor being able to rustle up a scientist let alone LZR suits for its swim team. I am pretty sure East Timor won't be competing these games.

This sounds like I know a bit about the Olympics...not so. I look at the Olympics as a platform for nationalism. It has always been so.

Howard is a friend who taught in Papua New Guinea at the same time as I did in the early 1960s. We caught up last year after 46 years when I visited him and his wife in Brisbane. He has Parkinsons disease and when I told him about my brother-in-law having the deep brain stimulation operation he was most interested, He rang a couple of days ago to tell me the operation to insert the electrodes into his brain was imminent. He was seeking assurance that bro-in-law's operation was successful. I explained that although the severe dyskinesia was now almost completely gone, his obsession to fix things that didn't need fixing was still there. Howard admitted that he also had an obsession, that of spending money especially on travel and his wife has had to hide credit cards and the cheque book. He knows what he is doing is dumb, but can't help himself.

Another colleague of Howard and me is Bob who also lives in Brisbane. When I visited last September, Bob was doing well after treatment for the Jack Dancer. It seems that he has had a major relapse and is in a hospice with only weeks to live. I have his phone number and postal address at the hospice but am hesitant to call and don't know what I could write in these circumstances.

1 comment:

Paul Weaver said...

Your friend in Brisbane may appreciate you saying something. You may regret it if you don't. Do a Google search with something like, "etiquette for talking to people with cancer." I'm sure you will find plenty of good hints.

Kind wishes, Paul.