The ugly face of competitions.

Anyone who thinks that beauty pageants have anything to do with beauty are seriously kidding themselves. It’s all about competition and what should be a celebration of beauty brings out the basest in human nature.

Young women are paraded around like heifers at a country carnival. They are assessed on their face, figure and personality and that’s all right if other contestants play fair. After all, nobody is forcing them to enter the beauty contest and if they can win some advertising gigs or perhaps a car or money then contests are no different from any other business endeavour.

What is emerging in contests like the Miss Universe entrant pageant is that contestants or their supporters are prepared to take seriously dangerous steps to win. It’s no longer a case of sleeping with the judges (or threatening to… lol) but imagine putting a poisonous substance into the dress or make-up of a possible winner so that she gets an allergic reaction to the pepper spray.

Beauty queen, Ingrid Marie Rivera, who was competing for the title of Puerto Rico’s 2008 Miss Universe entrant, had to overcome pepper spray to walk calmly in front of the audience to accept her crown. And even when she won, her rivals accused her of buying the crown.

Whatever the truth behind the accusations in this pageant, the furore demonstrates to me that competition does not bring out the best in people.

Indeed, it brings out the worst. Greed, vanity, ambition, rapacious advertisers and promoters and a lot of hypocrisy when the contestants have to answer questions such as “How would you bring about world peace?” Pardon my mirth, but it would be so refreshing to hear a contestant answer, “Well, actually I entered this contest because it’s a good way to get publicity for my modelling career. I really haven’t got a clue about world peace. Peace is fine but this is a beauty pageant and not the United Nations.”

I would give the crown to a woman who had the guts to be truthful.

Of course, it won’t happen, as long as pageants have to pretend to be more than circuses. Besides, can we handle the truth? I think not.

Which is why I stopped watching the Olympic Games when the East Germans and the Chinese ‘ladies’ were caught using illegal steroids and other enhancers. I honestly have not watched the last two or three Olympic Games and will not watch the Beijing Circus next year.

Can you imagine how poor Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic movement, would be turning in his grave if he saw what is happening to his idealistic notion that countries could gather in honest sporting competitions?

When it comes to ridiculous tallying of gold, silver and bronze medals to see who is the best nation in the world, I find the parochial hysteria offensive. It all depends upon the amount of money a nation is willing to invest in a competition that involves running fast, jumping high, balancing on contraptions and swimming. There’s also fencing and rowing, weightlifting and boxing, jumping around with a ribbon and even shooting. I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few events, but that’s because I simply lost interest when sports became tainted with chemical enhancers.

Everyone will remember how the Iraqi football team was punished when it failed to bring home a gold medal.

As I often say, the Olympics are plausible contenders for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. And as for bringing nations together, that cannot be possible if they have to beat the begeezus out of the rest of the world. The only thing going for the Olympics is that they are not as bad as actual wars.

It will be interesting to delve into the truth behind the Beijing Olympics next year to find out how many ordinary Chinese citizens had to suffer in order to collect a few worthless medals.

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