Paul Little at large
Paul Little is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Paul Little: Phew, that's a lucky escape

That the local water supply is turd soup has been clear for months. Photo / AP
That the local water supply is turd soup has been clear for months. Photo / AP

If nothing else, the Rio Olympics are likely to go down as the most dangerous in history for those taking part.

That the local water supply is turd soup has been clear for months.

If you survive cleaning your teeth and leave your compound, you risk being robbed in the street at gunpoint - as an Australian Paralympian was a few days ago.

If the muggers don't get you the wild animals might - Juma the jaguar, who had been dragged into the torch relay, had to be shot when he got loose and headed for a bystander last week.

And if you make it past the man-eaters, the Zika virus is lurking in the shadows waiting to have its way with you.

So imagine the sighs of relief that would have escaped the Russian and Kenyan track and field teams when they found out they have been excluded from automatic participation as their countries' representatives.

The circumstances are technically different in each case but the issue at the centre is the same - past irregularities concerning the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

And it's just those two countries.

Bit pointed.

It is at the very least an outrageous case of treating people as guilty until proven innocent and seems to fly in the face of a bunch of Olympic values - not least, for some countries, the right to load yourself up with drugs to win at all costs.

It's just as clearly a double standard. No one would think that these two countries are the only guilty ones.

So the International Olympic Committee and its handmaiden the International Association of Athletics Federations are effectively setting a standard for permissible doping: if you do it as much as Russia or Kenya we'll come down on you hard; if you do it not as much - hey, we were all young once.

There are other solutions to the problem of drugs in sport, but none of them work.

It has been suggested by apparently sentient beings who can presumably read medicine bottles without moving their lips that the problem could be short-circuited by making the use of performance-enhancing drugs legal.

That is one interpretation of "level playing field". And it would be level, too, for the chemists who would thus become the ones doing the competing.

The medals would go to those athletes who could afford to employ the best chemists - like criminal gangs competing for the services of the best P cooks.

This problem is not going to go away until sports rejigs its priorities and becomes less about money, TV ratings and national chest-thumping than about celebrating athletic achievement.

There's an online petition demanding that TVNZ removes Mike Hosking from his position at Seven Sharp.

I'm being deliberately vague because apart from the smirking and eyebrow acrobatics I'm not really sure what he does there.

The petitioners think it's dreadful he is allowed to express his views on a state broadcaster.

But before you rush to sign, ask yourself how many of the complainants would express the same outrage if the person being given free rein to express his or her views was expressing views they agreed with.

I recently stumbled on the following enigmatic word on an overseas website: Kviiilin.

I stared at it for a long time attempting to decipher it before giving up and reading the explanation.

Turns out two people had a daughter and liked the name Kaitlin a lot, but didn't like how common it was becoming so they decided to jazz it up by using Roman numerals for the "ait" bit.

Here's hoping Kviiilin is happy with this growing up.

And that she will soon be joined by a little brother, Christoiv.

- Herald on Sunday

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