LONDON ENGLAND – 27 July, 2012 – Reuters Newswire

The 2012 London Summer Games have officially begun. The breathtakingly beautiful new venue known as London Olympic Stadium (scheduled to be completed just in time for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio) was the site of an exhilarating opening ceremonies. Fans wondered how the London Games could ever live up to the grand spectacle of the 2008 Beijing Games’ opening ceremony, which featured more than 15,000 performers at an estimated expense of more than $100 million.

Not to be outdone, the London Games’ opening ceremonies were a festival of famous British celebrities. Sir Elton John, waiving the Olympic torch, proudly entered Olympic Stadium. He proceeded to carry his torch for, make that, to British soccer legend David Beckham, who headed to the stairs to light the giant cauldron.

In a move few saw coming, including Beckham apparently, he was knocked over by another British icon, Ozzie Osbourne (who took home the Gold in the 1982 bat-head-biting competition) when the inebriated Ozzie grabbed the torch from Beckham and attempted to set Boy George on fire, mistaking him for the cauldron. Ozzie is expected to return to sobriety in plenty of time to compete in the Men’s High(er than a kite) Jump. Boy George, however, is questionable for the 10K cross(dressing) country race.

In an attempt to put a distinctly British accent on the Summer Olympiad, some of the traditional sports have been replaced by new events intended to highlight charming aspects of British culture. Some critics have questioned whether these changes might give Great Britain an unfair advantage. Only time will tell.

Preview of some first-time events at the London Summer Games:

Cricket: The Brits are heavily favored in this event, an Olympic sport for the first time ever. Cricket is Great Britain’s national sport (along with collecting salt and pepper shakers in the likenesses of the Royals). The UK will be fielding a strong team of batsmen, wicket keepers and silly mid offs, who are going to be extremely hard to defeat, in part because nobody outside of Great Britain and India knows how Cricket scoring works or understands why they can’t just change the rules slightly and call it Baseball once and for all.

Fox Hunt: Oddsmakers are making the British team, the Foxy Trots, the heavy favorites, or favourites, as the British are keen on misspelling. Led by an experienced team captain, Reginald Montague, Viscount of Staffordshire, they are expected to run away from the pack, thanks in part to the fact that all the foxes being used in the competition were raised on the Viscount’s estate and were trained to come out of their fox holes at the sound of his whistle.

Lawn Bowling: This sport involves rolling off-center-weighted balls on a manicured lawn in an attempt to stop the ball as close as possible to another smaller ball. The sport demands incredible patience and stamina – for any spectator watching this mind-numbingly boring event. By comparison, this sport makes a five-day Cricket match of retirees using walkers seem nail-biting. The favorites in London are the Brits, Aussies, Canadians, and any other country whose populations speak English with a funny accent. Scoring is based on reaching a target number of shots closest to a small white ball called the “kitty” or “jack” in order to… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……

Darts: Some sports purists were surprised to learn that Darts became an Olympic event this year, forcing them to eliminate the more traditional 100-meter dash due to time constraints. The darts competition will be played at several hallowed venues throughout London, including The Lusty Dog Inn, The Severed Head Tavern, Filthy McNasty’s Pub, and the prestigious Dirty Nellie’s Spread Eagle Saloon. To add to the challenge, every competitor will be required to down a dram of Samuel Smith British lager before each turn.

The winner will be the last team with a man standing who can still recognize himself in the mirror. Look for the British team, composed mostly of out of work Scottish coal miners, to give the Russians a run for the money. But you can’t count out the Swedes, widely known to be notorious Alkies.

Parliamentary Debate Shouting: This first-time Olympic event will test athletes’ endurance at screaming, heckling, and pounding gavels for no particular reason. Scoring will be based on volume of shouting, combined with the comments’ degree of snarkiness and disrespect displayed towards the person who has the floor. While the Brits have a proud history of opposition members abusively taunting whoever has the lectern, look for the Italians, who are no strangers to corrupt politicians being chased from office, to go toe to toe. Experts say the upstart, contentious American Congressional delegation could be a surprise dark horse to vie for the gold.

Other first-time events scheduled for the London Games include the High Tea & Gossip Relay, Bowler Hat Stare Down, Fish ‘n Chips Eat & Hurl Marathon, Paparazzi Royals-Sighting Motorcycle Sprint, and the always riveting Embarrassing Gaffe Verbal Gymnastics.

This should prove to be one of the most exciting Olympics in recent memory. In fact, one of the most eagerly-anticipated events is about to begin momentarily: The Scones & Crumpets Distance Toss. Not surprisingly, the Brits figure to do well, led by the experienced Lady Wellington, the Duchess of Bowness-on-Windermere. She is widely known to be an incredible tosser.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base. Cheerio.

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2012

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