HOTLINE: Base metals – The Olympic comparison

Watching the closing ceremony of the London Olympics, Hotline could not help wondering which events are most like which metals, and he soon found some persuasive similarities.

Watching the closing ceremony of the London Olympics, Hotline could not help wondering which events are most like which metals, and he soon found some persuasive similarities.

Copper: The Cycling Road Race
A hotly contested event where racers need to decide whether to get carried along with the crowd or stage a manic breakaway. Featuring the occasional sprint and a few painful crashes, participants often finish the race tired, disappointed and left with the distinct feeling that everyone else was ganging up on them. If only they had got their timing right going into the back end of that curve...

Aluminium: Swimming
There’s way too much of it. Seriously, there is just so much it’s ridiculous. There is way more swimming than there is of anything else, and everyone wishes there was less, except the Americans who are using it to farm gold.

Zinc: The Race-Walk
Counting Ivan Glasenberg as one of its keen participants, the race walk seems peculiar and uninspiring to onlookers. It is nevertheless fought out doggedly by the hundreds of athletes involved, all of them knowing that if they do anything remotely exciting they will get disqualified.

Lead: Judo
The only event where you can find yourself flat on your stomach with your shirt torn open and your face squashed into the ground, and yet still hear commentators talk about what a strong strategic position you are in, presumably only in the sense that it could hardly get any worse.

Nickel: Dressage
It looks good, or at least shiny, but only the serious aficionados can really know if it is going well or not. Essentially, it is only there because it is a component of something much bigger and more exciting. Your success or failure depends on a bewilderingly opaque alloy surcharge scoring mechanism.

Tin: Table tennis
Like normal sports, only played on a much smaller scale. It seems quaint today, but it has a rich pedigree, and once brought disparate nations together. Thankfully, ping pong diplomacy worked out better than the Tin Agreements. These days, you would be forgiven for not knowing it was even part of the show.

Jethro Wookey
Twitter: @jethrowookey_mb

Mark Burton
Twitter: @mburtonmb

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