Category Archives: javelin

A waste of shame

Dalrymple writes that a man who throws the javelin further than anyone else

is not to be admired but pitied.

To be sure, a thing is not worth doing unless it is worth doing well, but

a thing that is done well that is not worth doing is something very bad indeed—far worse than a thing worth doing that is done badly. It bespeaks a waste of ability.



Hindustan has its priorities right

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India: creditable performance

Once again, writes Dalrymple,

the only country of any size that emerges from the Olympics with any credit is India. Accounting for something like a sixth of the world’s population, it has not won a single medal in any event. It has steadfastly refused to measure itself by the number of medals it wins at the Olympics.

New Delhi does nothing whatever to encourage citizens to devote their lives to trying to jump a quarter of a centimetre longer or higher than anyone else in human history, for Hindustanis recognise that such a goal is the kind

that totalitarian régimes set for their citizens (or perhaps they should be called prisoners). Custine observed that tyrannies demand immense efforts of their populations to bring forth trifles, and there can be no trifle more trifling than an Olympic victory. To be the best in the world at something is no achievement unless what you are best at is worthwhile.

India, says Dalrymple,

is the last best hope of humanity. May it continue, to its eternal glory, to win no medals.

Citius, Altius, Fortius, Hermaphroditus

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 22.51.33Dalrymple reminds us that in the 1960s,

medical cytologists were called in to determine the sex of female athletes suspected of being men. The careers of the Press sisters of the Soviet Union, so successful at the Rome Olympics, came to a mysterious end when such tests became routine.

He also points out that doctors

acted as advisers to the sporting authorities in the communist countries when they were determined that their young female gymnasts should dominate the sport. The activities of those doctors were ethically little better than medical participation in torture.

Dalrymple’s own objection, however, to these deformities is different:

that to devote one’s life to, say, throwing a javelin a fraction of an inch further than anyone else has ever thrown it is a deformation of the soul.