The Plastic Hippo

August 9, 2012

Golden girls

Filed under: Society,Sport,Walsall — theplastichippo @ 9:48 pm

Okay, how many clichés do you want? Sport is a great leveller, life is a lottery, rags to riches, fairytale story, hard work, dedication, sacrifice, history making. Enough of that, Great Britain has two more gold medals.

At face value, Nicola Adams and Charlotte Dujardin have very little in common other than being of the same gender and species and born within three years of each other on a small island just off continental Europe. It is unlikely that Nicola did very much dressage growing up in inner city Leeds and there are no recorded sightings of Charlotte pulling on the gloves and going four rounds with one of the other girls at the village gymkhana. It is reasonable to assume that they have led very different lives but they do share a unique common bond that sets them apart from just about everyone else. They have both been judged to be the very best individual on the planet at their chosen craft.

There are some people that are uncomfortable with women punching each other being considered to be a sport but logic dictates that if men are allowed to thump lumps out of each other then objection is discriminatory. One can only imagine how those uneasy with women`s boxing feel about Taekwondo when kicking the opponent in the head attracts a higher score. If risk of injury is the issue, a quick look at the BMX racing would result in the sport receiving an immediate ban. That BMX stuff is nuts. As an aside regarding BMX, following the failed Simon Walsh court case, perhaps the Crown Prosecution Service should bring a prosecution against the BBC for transmitting images of acts likely to cause serious injury. Just a thought.

Given the shocking and unacceptable level of violence against women, particularly domestic violence, women skilled at using their fists will contribute to breaking the dominance of male boxing and male sport in general. Who knows, perhaps the next time some moronic Neanderthal decides to punch a wife, girlfriend or daughter, he might be faced by a nascent Nicola Adams or Katie Taylor coming straight back at him.

If some observers think that boxing is degrading for women, they would surely agree that dressage is degrading for the horse. After the mud, blood and guts of the cross country and the demands of the show jumping ring, any self respecting nag must feel humiliated by being asking to prance, cavort and, for goodness sake, perform to a music backing track. This, of course, assumes that an equine has an inherent sense of self as well as an inherent sense of rhythm and musical taste. Dressage might be a closed book to most of us but it is obvious that the level of skill required, from both horse and rider, is phenomenal. There are remarkable athletes who can control a javelin, a bow, a shotgun or crash a BMX bike but they do not have a very large living animal between their legs choreographed to Land of Hope and Glory and the Great Escape.

For any competitor to reach the Olympic Games sets them apart from the common herd in sheer expertise at any given discipline. To win any medal, regardless of whatever we judge regarding ambition and killer instinct is astonishing; becoming the best in the world must be life changing. Nicola Adams and Charlotte Dujardin have displayed extraordinary skill and determination and deserve their success and adulation. As a bonus, they both seem to be genuinely nice people. Arguments about advantage and disadvantage, privileged and under privileged, wealth and poverty lie at the heart of this nation and some sport, especially the events staged at the Olympics, remain elitist and exclusive. However, if for some strange reason I was in a position to be required to round up some escaped ponies running amok on the verdant green spaces of Bloxwich, Blakenall and Willenhall, I would prefer to have Charlotte for company rather than Nicola. If, on the other hand, I were ever tempted to venture into Walsall town centre on a Friday or Saturday night, I would rather be out drinking with Nicola than Charlotte when it all kicks off.

Horses for courses or boxing clever? That`s probably enough sporting clichés.


Sport forever changes and a few short hours after Nicola Adams and Charlotte Dujardin made history another British sister joined them as an Olympic Champion. Jade Jones, aged 19, won gold in Taekwondo. Hey misogynists, watch out for strong women who wear gloves.


1 Comment »

  1. Charlotte Dujardin is from Enfield, went to a comprehensive school in Leighton Buzzard and left at 16.
    I don’t think she’s as posh or privileged as the surname might suggest.

    Comment by martin — August 13, 2012 @ 2:50 pm | Reply

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