Une petite consolation

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Alas, the end beckons for these Olympic Games, the Super Bowl of sports. It's been as wonderful as ever, but while Americans across America may have been a-"whoopin'" and a-"hollerin'" at their successes, the British shouting "JOLLY GOOD SHOW, OLD BEAN!" until their bowler hats fell off, and the Irish being really good at fighting, spare a thought for the French. At time of typing, their eight gold medals and 29 in total leaves them trailing Germany, and they're way behind their cross-channel rivals, who have 25 golds and 54 altogether. Maybe it's some kind of subconscious protest at London's bid for the Games triumphing over that of Paris. Qui sait?

In such trying times, one's thoughts inevitably turn to past glories. Luckily for France, they have one of the greatest heroes there has ever been: Asterix. For those not in the know, René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo's Asterix stories tell of a tiny Gaulish village which has held out against the otherwise all-conquering Romans, thanks in no small part to a potion which gives the drinker superhuman speed and strength. In Asterix at the Olympic Games, the villagers decide that they want to compete in the Olympics, expediently getting around the no-outsiders-except-Romans rule by deciding that they are Romans after all. (Finally: a way into the Commonwealth Games for Ireland!) This perturbs a nearby Roman garrison, who believe they have a champion in their midst. Asterix's ambitions take a hit, however, when he discovers that if he wants to compete, he'll have to forgo the potion. I won't spoil the ending (you'll have to go and spoil it for yourself, I'm afraid) but yeah, drugs.

Here is a small selection from the book, translated by Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge. May your Olympic cold turkey have at least been thoroughly and safely cooked.

With thanks to my sister for not returning the book to the library in 1995.

No copyright violation intended. All images copyright ©2012 Les Editions Albert-René/Goscinny-Uderzo.

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