Are you ready for the (Boardroom) Olympics?

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Are you ready for the (Boardroom) Olympics?

by Paul Singer - Group Legal Counsel, London Fine Dining Group

I've begun my Summer fitness regime, this year, slightly later than usual, owing to the late onset of Summer itself.

To be honest, there seemed little point in going swimming when I could swim up and down Marylebone High Street most mornings.

This morning, I avoided being squished by 2 reversing refuse collection lorries, a silent electric UPS van, and stepping in 2 steaming piles of freshly deposited dog poo as I walked to the swimming pool.

I was also reassured to see that the nice people at Fruitdrop (a company which delivers fresh fruit to offices instead of pizza) have managed to keep their sense of humour, judging by the signwriting on their new white vans.


No bananas are left in this vehicle overnight.

Even though it's a year since I've been to the swimming pool, not much seems to have changed. The same old regulars are still there (the names below are not their real names).

Peg Leg - a man with 1¾ legs. You always know when he's there as he leaves his false leg (complete with trainer attached) in the changing room. He tends to do circuits, obviously.

Black Beard - with an eye patch and fetching black beard, his piratey looks are the perfect match for a watery environment.  And, presumably, he will be entitled to half-price goggles as he only needs one "goggle"?

The Snail - this man swims so slowly that even unattended floats pass him by. He seems to be swimming but I doubt that his particular stroke is likely to be featured in the Olympics any time soon.

Gadget Girl - she has a ponytail, a Rolex and an iPhone 4 (White) tethered to her arm in a waterproof case, and waterproof headphones so she doesn't risk missing that all important phone call, or going too long between an Adele or Coldplay track.

The Motor Boat - employs a strange over-arm stroke involving the palms of both hands making contact with the water which generates as much splash as a medium size paddle steamer. I don't know about you, but I think the lanes should be reclassified "No Splash", "Medium Splash" and "High Splash" rather than "Slow", "Medium" and "Fast" as, personally, I'm less bothered about how fast someone can pass me than how much water they are going to deposit on me in the process.

Mr Sporty - he cycled here on a carbon fibre bike which weighs less than my lunch. He's been looking at himself in the changing room mirror for ages as he gets his hair just right, after having consumed a huge Starbucks coffee on the way and 2 Lucozade Isotronic drinks for breakfast since he arrived. He's now totally wired and ready to dive in. But first he has to do that crazy poolside warm up routine in the tightest Speedos available. Not for the faint-hearted. Look away.

One thing that has changed is the signage. There are the usual silly Health & Safety warnings about Deep Water (at the deep end) and about not Diving in head-first (at the shallow end) but there's a new one which says "No Cameras". I wasn't actually thinking of dipping my Nikon in the pool but obviously someone has gone from Speedo to paedo and has been taking snaps of people in their costumes. Naughty.

Most of the swimmers are actually not very photographically appealing, with the possible exception of the new female Russian lifeguard. She could star in Marylebone's answer to Baywatch (Bonewatch?). A kind of Eva Anderson or Pamela Andernova, if you will.

She's wearing tight white shorts and an even tighter red lycra top through which you can clearly see her Gold and Silver medals, and I swear that when she bends over to pick up floats, you can almost see her Bronze, too.

All this recent publicity for the Olympics made me think about the Boardroom equivalent.

The High Jump - what you will be in for if you don't follow the instructions of the Chairman

The Pole Vault - first you set the bar too high, then you watch as people fail to meet the challenge

The Long Jump - this is what people do when you tell them some news and they then jump to a conclusion which is about as far away from reality as I am from competing in the London Marathon

Hurdles - placed in your way to slow you down - it's your job to jump over them for no purpose at all - just to get to the same place you were going all along

Sailing - close to the wind

Shooting  - the messenger

Wrestling - with colleagues over complex issues

Boxing - as above but with more force

And finally, I thought I would leave you with some Olympic trivia:

In 1966, Olympic judges began checking female athletes for such sexual abnormalities as overlarge clitorises, a penis and testicles. By 1968, chromosome testing replaced such "nude parades," and in 1992, more sophisticated genetic testing was adopted. Nonetheless confusion abounded: Of 2,406 women tested in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, five were deemed to be "male". By the 1996 Atlanta games, the number had risen to eight.

This would never have happened in the ancient Olympic Games which began in 776 BCE. At that time only free men (not slaves) who spoke Greek could compete ... and they did so naked!



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