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Jewish World Review July 9, 2001 / 18 Tamuz, 5761

Julia Gorin

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Beijing or bust -- THIS Friday the 13th, in Moscow, a host will be selected for the 2008 Olympic Games. Unless the international community has lost its unique sense of justice, the vote will go to Beijing.

Foes may argue that China doesn't exactly embody the spirit of the Olympics, but perhaps it's the spirit of the Olympics that needs adjusting. And what better place to start than with the games themselves.

For example, instead of synchronized swimming, would it be such a stretch to make it synchronized tank rolling, in a Flattest Citizen competition? Likewise, why box for the sake of boxing? To lend more meaning to the sport, boxing should mutate into Dissident Beating. Put it in the ring, out in the open, because the world likes honesty, and China is what it is.

And since the international community has cast so much recent spotlight on the American justice system, this can be taken as a cue that the world is ready to involve its prison population in competitive sports. To that end, there should be a contest among nations to see whose prisoners can survive the longest without food or water. (Admittedly, American prisoners will have the disadvantage here, since years of food, drink, healthcare, and cable television has made them soft.)

Then, of course, there's the obligatory Aerial Cat and Mouse, which will be fought to the death (much like the rest of the events). But in this case, the country whose competitor dies first is the winner. The result can be declared a tie, however, should the losing country apologize in a timely fashion.

The rowing competition will remain such, only that competitors will be rowing from China to Taiwan while dodging missiles from Chinese planes. Those reaching the island alive will be granted their medals, as well as temporary freedom, until China invades a week after the Games are over.

And in the spirit of America's hotdog-eating contests there could be, simply, a dog-eating contest. Catsoup on the side.

Finally, Chinese women facing compulsory abortion or sterilization could be joined by multinational competitors whose countries don't provide them with the same kind of efficiency, in what might be called the Stair Tumbling competition. The Gold will go to the first of the contestants to achieve both abortion and sterilization by this means. Likely vying for sponsorship of this event will be Planned Parenthood and the National Organization of Women.

However, this will be the only event to include women, as China will be rendered at a disadvantage by its dearth of young female competitors, the would-be athletes having been killed at birth by disappointed parents adhering to China's one-child rule.

The Olympic Village, meanwhile, could be erected on Tianenman Square, as a reminder to the world of its once negative and ill-founded prejudice against the country.

If the Beijing Games go well, and there's no reason they shouldn't, perhaps China could next position itself to host the Special Olympics, as a show of good faith toward the handicapped, who are otherwise excluded from the country's top jobs and universities. These games, wherein contestants would limp, hop or wheel themselves off a cliff, could be titled Race to Your Finish.

All this may seem like a 180-degree overhaul of Olympic tradition to some. But how can China be expected to integrate into the world community if the world doesn't meet it halfway? And how else to pave the way for the likes of Cuba in its bid for the 2012 Games? Or to set an example for rogue states like Israel, whose Tel Aviv bid will continue to be dismissed summarily until the country learns the ways of the world?

Happily, all signs are pointing to Beijing, especially with Toronto all but out of the running after its mayor's comments associating Africa with getting boiled and danced about by natives. (And good riddance: It's one thing to decimate your own people, but don't insult anyone else's.)

Indeed, U.S. lawmakers would do well to heed American businessman and rights activist John Kamm, who advises that we should avoid blocking the Chinese bid if we seek better behavior from China in the future. A psychology which worked so well when Germany got to host the 1936 Games.

JWR contributor Julia Gorin is a journalist and stand-up comic residing in Manhattan. Send your comments by clicking here.

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© 2001, Julia Gorin, This column first appeared in The LA Times