Angry New Yorker

Thursday, February 24, 2005
A friend wrote back in 2000:

NYC Olympics in 2012?
Does anyone care about the Olympics anymore? I mean really, between use of performance boosting drugs, addiction to the latest, greatest tech and equipment in order to shave a sliver off records, and athletes that are in every practical sense of the word professionals, what do the Olympics offer other than a massive world-wide opportunity to shill goods and generate soccer hooligan-like jingoism.

New York city is no stranger to world-class shilling and bombastic chest-thumping, so it’s no surprise that a local faction ( together a 600+ page proposal to sway the Olympic committee into giving NYC the 2012 Summer games. Perish the thought.

Pomp, posing and punditry worthy of a binding declaration of world peace accompanied the start of the Summer Olympics this week. If the Olympics come to New York, instead of the five interlocking rings as a symbol we could snip five subway tokens together. Given that the Olympics’ official motto is “Swifter, higher, stronger,” the range of possible NYC-centric events boggles the mind. Here's a few under the new motto of "Swifter ripoffs, higher costs, and stronger ant-acids."

100 Yard Cab Dash: Athletes in business suits line up on the corner of Broadway and 32nd. Two blocks away on Broadway and 34th a cab sits waiting. The gun goes off (a real one) and the melee race for the cab through a select and representative NYC crowd. The first person fully in the back of the cab wins. Some elbowing permitted. Clubbing with briefcases constitutes a disqualification, unless the ref. doesn't see it. Sponsor: NY Taxi & Limo Commission "Just Cab It."

Grand Central Hurtle: Many enter. Few finish. Starting at the lowest level of Grand Central's subway labyrinth, athletes sprint up the escalators from the 7 train platform, and then run from one end of the 4 train stop to the other hurtling over subway turnstiles. Finally, they run upstairs to Grand Central and dash for a MetroNorth train about to leave. The winner makes the train in time. Sponsor: NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority "Don't Mess With 40 Tons of Train"

NYC DMV Marathon: This grueling event is always a huge crowd pleaser. Athletes line up outside the Department of Motor Vehicles. At the crack of 8am the doors open and they rush to renew their drivers licenses. All of NYC is holding its breath in the hope the that last Olympic's record of 2 hours and 13 minutes finally falls. Sponsor: Former Mayor Rudolph "Our City Can Kick Your City's Ass" Guliani

Con Ed Shot-put: Only the strong survive. Athletes hurl a standard NYC manhole cover as far a possible while avoiding injury and lawsuits. Sponsor: Brooklyn Union Gas "We Gas It and You."

NYC Decathlon: The jewel of the NYC Olympics, the winner of the NYC Decathlon is granted the title "NYC's Fastest." The event traditionally begins at noon sharp on Wed. afternoon downtown in Battery Park. The first leg is affectionately known as the uptown 40. After Razor scootering up the FDR driveway for forty blocks, the athletes stop and fire their rifles at targets in Queens across the East river. Stopping only to throw their rifles into the water to slow later fingerprint analysis, they hop onto specially prepared messenger bicycles (you know, the ones with no brakes) and speed cross town to Penn Station with ten-pound delivery bags slung across their shoulders.
At Penn Station they wait to buy a one-ride metrocard and clamber for a local 1 train. For the forth leg the contestants pop back into the light of day at the last stop at the tip of north Manhattan, 10th Avenue and 214th Street. Focusing their eyes they sprint to pre-positioned cabs festooned with corporate sponsor logos.
The athletes drive, via the Bronx and Queens, back into Manhattan to arrive at Grand Army Plaza at 59th and 5th Avenue. The free-for-all final race across the 59th street bridge is the single most photogenic of all NYC Olympic events. Put it this way, it makes the combined chase scenes in The French Connection, Bullet and Die Hard look like a Sunday Soapbox derby in Iowa.

Rules: None. Sponsor: AllState Insurance "You're in Good Hands"

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