Five events have sold out completely following the first ticket drive for the 2012 Olympics. Track cycling, equestrian cross country, modern pentathlon, triathlon, and rhythmic gymnastics. Rhythmic gymnastics? Far be it from me to question the appeal of one of the disciplines under the great Olympian umbrella, but really? I like a roly-poly as much as the next person, but really really? I can comprehend that to compete within the top echelons of rhythmic gymnastics participants require a high degree of dexterity and poise, but as an athletic spectacle isn’t it just women dancing with stuff?
But it seems that Britain is home to a covert community of hoop and ribbon enthusiasts, perhaps driven underground by the sneery nay-sayers like me and those who share my prejudice. Maybe they gather furtively in the forecourts of disused petrol stations swishing pretty circles with dressing-gown cords and throwing bowling balls in the air. And catching them again. And then doing a forward roll whilst some associate hums a classical arrangement of Could It Be Magic through a battered megaphone. They seldom appear in open sight, perhaps only breaking cover when the Cirque du Soleil minces into town with all its glitzy rhythm and gymnastics and sparkly newt costumes.
No wonder the all the sessions of next year’s Olympic competition have sold out. Thousands of rhythmic gymnastics fans have been left shattered and are now faced with the appalling prospect of scrounging for tickets on the black market; compelled to transact with rhythmic gymnastic ticket touts, wonky-toothed chancers in stonewashed double denim lurking cravenly beside the footways leading to Wembley Arena.
Maybe they gather furtively in the forecourts of disused petrol stations swishing pretty circles with dressing-gown cords and throwing bowling balls in the air. And catching them again. And then doing a forward roll whilst some associate hums a classical arrangement of Could It Be Magic through a battered megaphone.
Rhythmic gymnastic fans may have to make contingency arrangements. There are still dressage tickets available. It’s essentially the same exercise. Gentle prancing to music. But with a horse instead of a hula-hoop. Horse ballet if you will.
Dressage isn’t as inclusive as rhythmic gymnastics. It is not the preserve of dusty children in the shanty-towns of Africa and South America, playing joyful games of dressage in the street. In this country there are no spontaneous dressage competitions in the local park. Participation is limited by the necessity for a horse. A big buff one with a six-pack and a nice haircut. Marks are awarded in dressage for the presentation of the mane. So hopefuls are not only forced to shell out for an impressive steed but also to take it Toni & Guy first.
Synchronised swimming may also appeal to the anti-sport sensibilities of the rhythmic gymnastics junkie. Gentle prancing in a pool. With a smear of waterproof mascara. We should be grateful that the Olympic bosses opted to streamline the synchronized swimming offering by ditching the solo event after 1992. That’s right. Solo synchronized swimming. Or, as I like to call it, swimming.
There are also wrestling tickets available. Olympic wrestling isn’t set to music. It doesn’t boast the theatrics or fluorescent spandex of WWE, but at least you know that when one of the competitors suffers a groin strain they really mean it. In truth it may add a little colour to proceedings if fighters were permitted to clatter each other around the head with a fold-up chair but it doesn’t conform to the high-flown Olympian ideals.
Whereas doing a roly-poly with a few yards of cheap rope does. But it’s sold out. Anyone know the details of a good tout?
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