Thursday, July 12, 2012

Austerity

Reports in newspapers suggest “Olympic freeloaders down from 166 to 10.” This means that the number of officials (freeloaders here) who accompany Olympic players is reduced. How considerate, if the news is to be believed. But for once, let us believe the news.

Let us do a simple mathematics. How many officials are required against each Olympic participant, one? Two or three? Let us assume 50 players are participating in this major event. By the count of 166 officials, each player gets services of more than three officials. How do these officials justify their presence in the game? Let’s see.

Two junior officials say their presence is required to keep an eye on the athletes and their needs. Fine, presence of a couple of officials is accounted for and justifiably at that. Next, four more are needed to ascertain that the two juniors do their duty properly. Now the arc of inspection widens and eight more are required to keep checks on those six officials as well as to control players. Moreover, they require personal services of their junior officials. But that should be enough, why more? Here is why.

The sports minister accompanies the Olympic group (He may not know anything about sports, though). Now athletes and officials are one thing. But a sports minister’s presence is quite a different matter altogether. He has his status to maintain and of course, he represents our country. Our athletes can do with 15-20 officials. But the minister requires a posse of junior ministers and senior officials to look after his needs, official and personal. A minister is not a mere athlete whose needs are limited. A minister’s needs are varied and require more attention.

However, when suggested by the government to practice some austerity, the minister agrees immediately and suggests: “Why do we need so many athletes in Olympics? We need to tone down their numbers. Why can’t one athlete be trained and made to participate in four-five games? After all, they (athletes) are freeloaders.” Well said, minister.

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Header image credit: adapted from David Niblack

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