Sunday, August 05, 2012

Fanfare for the Common Man

If you've ever tried to weave your way from Point A to Point B through the crowded centro of any Mexican town, you'll be astounded to learn that Mexico is a serious medal contender in Olympic race walking. The team is led by 26-year-old Eder Sánchez, walking in his second Olympics (he was 15th in Beijing), and today in the Men's 20 Km. he... came up short! [Apologies for the bad pun, which will soon become apparent.] A respectable sixth, but sixth nonetheless.

Fortunately, being Mexican, it's not his fault!  Sánchez, it seems, was a victim of a cruel wardrobe malfunction.  Specifically, his shorts turned out to be made of some super-absorbant material which reacted badly to the completely unpredictable combination of heavy perspiration and London precipitation, becoming so water-logged that they constantly slid down on him.  "I had to wring out my shorts every 500 meters," he said afterwards.

Ha ha ha!  Snicker!  Giggle giggle!  But seriously, this is a fail of epic proportions.

Sánchez explained that he had to compete in shorts that were too heavy, that were given to him by the [Mexican] Olympic Committee...

"They'd just given them to me and I wasn't able to try them out first; I've never seen anything like it..."

We've railed against the MOC before, amazed at their inability to properly manage a Winter Olympic team consisting of exactly one athlete, but this is beyond the pale. Guy's been training for this moment his whole fucking life, and then the night before the race some pinhead bureaucrat hands him a uniform remarkably unequal to the task at hand (purchased, we're absolutely certain, in bulk from his wife's cousin's sporting good distribution company) and leaves him no time to actually road-test the garment.  And an athlete who has a legitimate shot at a medal (this is a country, remember, where the president  drops everything to make congratulatory phone calls to bronze-medalist archers) actually decides to wear them.  And of course, because it wouldn't be Mexico without pointless bureaucratic infighting, the head of the Mexican Athletic Federation has filed a formal complaint against the Mexican Olympic Committee over the incident.

If banging one's head against a desk were an Olympic sport, Mexico would be unbeatable in Rio.

Still, we're hard-pressed to think of something more humiliating than a man, having already dedicated his life to the silliest sport imaginable, having to stop every few minutes to pull up his pants and squeeze enormous puddles of rainy sweat out of them, with the eyes of a billion tv viewers upon him.  That Eder Sánchez persevered and finished sixth, just 27 seconds out of medal contention, is as close to the definition of "Heart of an Olympian" as we've seen from this team so far.  It's hard to imagine his name not coming up when we're deciding on the 2012 Burro Hall Sportsman of the Year.


Mexfiles said...

Who woulda thunk it? England gets soggy in the Summer?

BTW, Race walking was introduced at the 1968 Mexico City Games. Considering Mexicans have been known to walk from places like Oaxaca to Oklahoma (with a few obstacles thrown in), it's a natural for this country.

Burro Hall said...

That they walk a lot is undeniable. That they have the ability to walk quickly would be news to a lot of people, I think.

Anonymous said...

And then there's the people that are completely stuck in one place and choose not to move forward at all.