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Sunday, July 13, 2003  
Battery Olympics

I kind of admire Denise Lewis, but I don't care a lot about her, and also I don't like her very much. She's a supreme athelete in many events but just lacks that supersensuary superiority, the slightly disturbed intensity that burns or sparks or shudders through those blessed with greatness. I like watching her: she's a sculpted marvel, a fine and dignified specimen. She's like Toni Braxton: totally devoid of sex appeal, raunch, lust, it's more like she's shaped out of stone or marble, a beautifully-made statue, an abstract ideal of human beauty and achievement, a formula for perfection. Apollinian: "We must keep in mind that measured restraint, that freedom from the wilder emotions, that calm of the sculptor god" (Nietzsche). Not mad genius, but cultivation, accomplishment. Not crazy love, but steady admiration. Then she opens her mouth and it's all indignant and self-satisfied Miss Madam or her baby or blah blah. She's in a bit of trouble because her current trainer has a dodgy past* and the Olympic Commitee are condemning the link, but she's ignoring them. I'm ambivalent about drugs in athletics. The sport is absurdly strict in testing and detection because of past bodyshocks like Ben Jonson and the East German coaches, and yet contemporary athletics is still freakish and fraught with scandal and suspicion. There's nothing really pure about it, despite the pure glory of Denise Lewis' physique, so maybe they should let it be really impure, see how fast and far and hard the human body can be pushed when fed on additive and stimulant cocktail programmes. Pump bodies to the max, poison them to perfection, let's see some mutant do a sub-6 second 100m.

*Dr Ekkart Arbeit. A Stasi report named him as the officiater of systematic steroid abuse by the old East German athletics squad. An East German investigator called him the "architect of the largest pharmacological programmes in history". He was also a Stasi informer. So Denise can really pick 'em.

1:24 AM

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