Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Women Who Should Call The Shots

This warmed my heart at the weekend, as I sure it did many others'. The sight of a Russian and a Georgian athlete embracing after a hard-fought Olympic shooting event sent out all the right signals, especially in view of a very different kind of shooting that's been taking place recently.

This was sport as it should be, and demonstrates why we should never use it as a political football (sorry !). Sport has an almost unique capacity to bring people together just as surely as politics and religion divides them. As long as you know the rules you can compete on equal terms; you don't even need to talk to your opponents because sport has a language all of its own.

So well done to Nino Salukvadze of Georgia and Russia's Natalia Paderina, whose gesture of friendship at the medal ceremony should long be remembered by the Olympic movement as a triumph for sporting fellowship.

Thank God the situation in Georgia seems to have improved somewhat in the last 24 hours. To myself and millions of others, the threat of Russia marching on Tbilisi will have served as a chilling reminder of their Cold War imperialism. Russia has won the propaganda battle without question, and at the same time has discovered how far it can go in antagonising the West; too far for my liking. I sense a new, confident and expansionist Russia out of all this. They'll be back, mark my words. Look out for further muscle flexing in the months and years to come.

In the meantime though, let's hope the peace holds in Georgia and let's be grateful for two gun-wielding women who know how to set an example to their leaders.

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