Bit of a slow week for the news, wouldn’t you say? After all the Colbert kerfuffle over giving dressage some free, if not entirely wanted, publicity, and the flurry of Olympic team announcements (yes, even Canada jumped on that wagon as it was just about to pull out of the barnyard), we have been treated to some dregs. First, the FEI issued a list of ‘nominated entries’ which was about as stale as month-old Wonder bread. Wait, I forgot. Wonder doesn’t get stale. That’s what all the chemicals are for. The FEI is 100% drug free (unless you are a Saudi show jumper), so I guess that’s why their news is stale. The nominated list does give a complicated picture of how the last spots were juggled around as countries did not get athletes qualified as per the FEI’s certificate of capability. Falling by the dressage wayside was Colombia, which earned an Olympic team berth at last year’s Pan Am Games (yes, at small tour level, not GP). Not one Colombian managed to break into the 64% range so those spots were doled out in a byzantine fashion resulting from the FEI Dressage Committee’s half-baked Olympic formula. But other than the opportunity to wade through the list and see all the
strike throughs of countries that aren’t going to London any more, the list of names was of no value, particularly since so many countries have now announced their teams.
Perhaps sensing that their Olympic news was as palatable as ship’s biscuit, the FEI stepped up its game this week with the droolingly exciting news that ‘American actress Bo Derek supports FEI Awards 2012’. Bo who? Just kidding, but perhaps calling her an ‘actress’ is a bit of a stretch. Did she even have any lines in that 1979 movie that featured a lot of bouncy slow motion boobs and cornrows on a beach? Last year the FEI announced that some other member of the Hollywood horse-loving community endorsed their awards. I am not taking a dump on the FEI Awards. Not at all. But to keep with our baking theme, this ‘news’ gives the impression of having been cooked up as a weak excuse to remind everyone about the awards. And apparently even the FEI doesn’t really think it’s newsworthy either, since they haven’t bothered putting the press release on their website, two days after issuing it.
This week’s un-news item that takes the cake (yes, more baking), however, goes to the announcement, made by the FEI and picked up by media all over the world (which you can read here, and here, and here), that female Saudi show jumper Dalma Rushi Malhas will not be competing in London. You know it’s a slow week when the world’s media goes ga-ga over someone NOT making it to the Olympics. Imagine if there were that much publicity over all the countless athletes world wide whose Olympic dreams don’t come true every four years.
Of course, the real story about Dalma is that she would have made a perfectly appropriately clothed poster girl for the Saudi women’s emancipation movement. The IOC reportedly declared earlier this year that Saudi Arabia could just stay home from these Games if they didn’t provide proof of women’s rights in the form of at least one female athlete in London. While I completely agree with the spirit of such a demand, it is probably impractical in reality. For background reading on the topic of how much fun it is to be a woman in Saudi Arabia, you could take a look at my post of three months ago. How do you meet any Olympic sport’s minimum performance standards while wearing a burka?