Monday, 19 August 2013

Short hair and no bling

Firstly, apologies for the way this particular post appears - because I'm working away from home, my laptop is forcing me to enter this in HTML mode which means there's no bloody formatting...which is pretty crap. So what you end up with is just a mass of text. When I get home, I'll re-publish with the formatting corrected; in the meantime, sorry! When Christine Ohurugu won her world championship 400m gold medal, she did so by just four one-thousandths of a second - that, if my maths is anything to go by, is the equivalent of just 3.2 cm, or 'an inch and a quarter' as my Dad would say. 3.2 cm, after running a distance of 400 metres; it's not a lot, is it? It actually represents a difference in performance between the two athletes of just 0.08% or, as we plain-talking folk up north would say, 'bugger all'. So, if the difference between feeling 'on-top-of-the-world' and 'like shit' can be decided by such a tiny margin, why in the name of all that is holy do so many athletes choose to: 1) run with ridiculous amounts of 'bling' about their person, and by that I mean two or three gold necklaces (with optional crucifix), several rings, dangly ear-rings, various piercings (tongue, nose, belly-button, clitoris maybe) and watches. 2) run with absolutely massive hair-styles, complete with extensions and pink feathers? What are the coaches thinking? They've spent months, no, years, fine tuning their charges through a meticulously controlled diet and a finely-tuned training regime in order to get them as lean and as honed as is physically possible...only to let them go out onto the track with the sort of extra weight they put in racehorses' saddles to handicap them, and hair-styles which would instill nightmares into anyone who has studied aerodynamics. It's insane! To work so hard and for so long to achieve something, and then to risk losing it because the bling you're wearing and the mass of hair you're carrying could reduce your performance by 0.08%...why would anyone do that? It's like sending Sebastian Vettel's car out with a couple of extra Cibie headlamps and mud-flaps - it may look cool, but it's not necessarily going to end up winning. As far as I'm concerned, it's way cooler to stand on the top-step of the podium with short hair and no bling but have a certain bit of gold hanging around your neck, than it is to be stood one step down, with flouncy hair, ear-rings, a belly-button piercing, but just a bit of silver to show for all those years of hard-work.