I’m not a tough guy. To be quite blunt, I scare extremely easily and might be the last person picked in a bench press contest. But what I’ve always lacked in brawn, in physical intimidation, and in overall courage, I have made up for in not being a germaphobe.
We all knew those kids growing up. The ones who went outside and as soon as they touched an outdoor surface, their mom was there to save them with a pack of wet wipes. The ones who were drugged into a comatose state post-cough. Yes, the same ones who took Neosporin baths after a paper cut, ate grapes that were washed so thoroughly the skin had peeled off, and as adults have built up such a weak tolerance that an intimate conversation could result in scurvy.
I bring all of this up not to simply make fun of those without dirty, barefoot childhoods, but to lead into one of the most ridiculous sports stories in recent memory.
From the British Olympic Association’s chief medical officer, Ian McCurdie:
“The greatest threat to performance is illness and possibly injury. We are talking about minimizing risk of illness. It is all about hand hygiene.”
What are they talking about? If your guess is that the British Olympic Association doesn’t want its athletes shaking hands with the other competitors so as to not jeopardize its medal count, then unfortunately, you’d be correct. After the original statement was released, the association later sent out this tweet:
Team GB, to be clear: do shake hands, do use hand foam, do wash your hands, do reduce the risk of catching a bug. It’s all common sense…
— Team GB (@TeamGB) March 6, 2012
And like most politically correct clarifications, I don’t believe it for a second, and I fully expect them to proceed with unnecessary caution. As the host country, I can’t imagine a less inviting way to welcome the world to your backyard. (Look, I know Atlanta had a bombing and Izzy. Whatever, at least we were courteous and had biscuits.) I can’t pinpoint exactly what’s gotten into the Brits, but if this is what a post-Adele world is about to look like, I don’t want any part of it.
Keeping your hands to yourself isn’t going to prevent LeBron from dunking on you (by then, probably with a belly chain on), and it sure won’t help Andy Murray win a gold medal, so why don’t you just get off your collective high horse and do like everyone else does: Practice hard, hope for the best, and pray for another country to have a cheating scandal.