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The art of flogging a dead horse

From time to time on the Rust sports pages we feature one or two recurring themes that interest us – to wit:

(1) a hard (not to say unremitting and absolute) line upon the use of performance-enhancing drugs by individual athletes and the managers, agents, ne’er-do-wells (or even governments) who condone or even systematically actively promote the practice;

(2) the absurd situations in which the ‘woke’ generation’s weird stances upon promoting ‘equality for female sport’, not least as regards TV/radio air time exposure and, of course, pay – and most particularly upon the rights of transgender athletes, i.e. almost exclusively those males who supposedly become – whether by ‘natural development’ and/or simple choice or self-identification – female, and their consequences for common sense and fair competition;


(3) the complications that arise from the awkward coming-together of ‘business/profit considerations’, allegedly (but not really) the integrity-based requirement for ‘level-playing field’ elite competition and the various form of corruption that tend to afflict world sports-governing bodies.

Here’s an example of the last of these that I spotted overnight.

I could never be called a ‘petrol head’ – I only learned for the first time last weekend, when conducting a rare check of the tyre pressures of its wheels – that my car boasts rear-wheel drive.

Unlike other members of my family, I have never been seduced into becoming a devotee of any motor sport’s broadcast on television or in real life, still less Formula One.

Well, unless you count watching live coverage of a Grand Prix – when randomly channel-hopping in search of something to have on in the background at some unearthly hour of a Sunday morning – from some far-off land … and then only staying to to see if by any chance  there is going to be the excitement of a major crash (or seven) at the first corner of the first two laps.

I don’t ever stay watching for longer than that because (from my cynical viewpoint) after the first two laps of a Grand Prix, there remainder of the race is effectively no more than a procession over which the commentators and pundits have to prattle away nineteen-to-the-dozen in order to fill the air-time somehow … because the supposed contest itself being presented to the global hundreds of millions watching is going to be about as interesting/rewarding as watching a blancmange set.

Here’s a piece by Giles Richards (worthy of being read and then wept over) on the current negotiations under way between team owners and the FIA about how to improve the finances and ‘apparent competitiveness’ of the Formula One product, as appears today upon the website of – THE GUARDIAN