The swift, a rift and a lift

Aug 13, 2012, 07:34 IST | Hemal Ashar

A bolt of lightning and a clap of thunder. That is why journalists everywhere write headlines like, 'Bolt of Lightning' about Usain Bolt. Specialist headline writers thank the Lord that some people have names that can be easily punned upon or worked on in some way to make for catchy headlines.

Just like Olympic medallists strive for winning performances, uncelebrated journalists strive for that attention grabbing, catchy headline to put a flourish on a piece. No medals or podium finishes, though. Such are the travails of a journalist. Great headlines. No hurrahs. we fall upon the thorns of life, we weep…

Saudi Arabia's Wojdan Shaherkani, +78kg judo contest
London, Greater London, UNITED KINGDOM: Saudi Arabia's Wojdan Shaherkani (white) competes with Puerto Rico's Melissa Mojica (blue) during their women's +78kg judo contest match of the London 2012 Olympic Games

A headscarf row at the Olympics gave a taste of things to come. Saudi woman judoka Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani and officials were locked in a 'culture conflict' as she wanted to compete wearing a headscarf or hijaab, the Muslim head covering for women, which the officials said was unsafe. Finally, a compromise was reached and she did compete and lost. That though is the side story. What one can glean from the face off is that as Saudi women start coming into the sporting fold, expect plenty of ‘cultural’ clashes (is that a euphemism?) like this one. Cynics know that politics and sport cannot be separated. Issues like these are political. BY the Olympics 2016, one needs to brace for more problems. Or, maybe by then, Saudi Arabia would have caught up with the rest of the world.

Japan's Saori Yoshida,  celebrates with coache
London, Greater London, UNITED KINGDOM : Japan's Saori Yoshida (C) celebrates with coaches after defeating Canada's Tonya Lynn Verbeek. Pics/AFP 

Women wrestlers were all about carrying people off the ground. Japan’s Saori Yoshida who won the Olympic 55kg women’s freestyle wrestling title celebrated by performing a cartwheel and grappling with her coach. She lifted up the Japan team wrestling coach, carrying him on her shoulders. Yoshida’s carrying caper follows that of woman wrestler Elena Pirozhkova of the US who actually lifted Mrs. Michelle Obama off her feet during a pre-Olympic meet session. Pirozhkova had asked Mrs. Obama permission before that. Would see a woman wrestler lifting Mrs Sonia G, in 2016 in celebration? Ah, Mrs. Sonia G, better speak to Mrs. Obama at the next summit. Exchange notes, maybe?     

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