1. A Former Olympic Hero Is Broke And Stranded In London | Uganda
Davis Kamoga is one of Uganda's most famous Olympic athletes, having won the silver medal in the 400-meter footrace at the 1996 Games. He's such a national hero that Uganda decided to fly him to London so that he could inspire and motivate the Ugandan track-and-field team.
The only problem is that the Ugandan Olympic officials forgot to give him any money.
Kamoga recently spoke to the Ugandan-government-owned newspaper New Vision by phone, and he told the paper that he was already out of money, and needed to be flown back home immediately. According to the article, Kamoga was given an allowance of 30 pounds per day, but was not made an official of the Ugandan Olympic team. Without such accreditation, Kamoga has had a very difficult time getting into the Olympic village or even seeing the athletes that he is supposed to be motivating.
"There is a lot I can do to help the athletes. I see a lot of weaknesses especially in attitude," a tearful Kamoga said on the phone. "Tell the officials I want to come back home," he added.
While he remains in London, he's often seen around the Games village, waiting for officials to take him inside, where he has a soda for lunch.
If you think you can help, or if you just want Ugandan motivation, the article's postscript reads: "Kamoga can be reached on a borrowed line +447424755107."
Lesson learned: Be sure to enjoy your fame while it lasts, Olympic athletes. One day you may find yourself abandoned by your home country in a strange land, having to call a local newspaper in order to beg that you be allowed to return home.
2. Despite A Strong Showing, Kazakhstan's Struggling To Escape Old Borat Jokes | Kazakhstan
The Kazakhs are having a great Olympics—three gold medals as of this morning, ahead of host Great Britain—and they're looking forward to their favored events of boxing and wrestling. But for all their success, the mood of the national team is downcast, according to a deputy from the delegation that spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald: They just can't escape Borat.
The official, Aslan Amanov, said, "In the village there is absolutely no problem. The sports world knows Kazakhstan, our good side. It is when we go outside it is very disappointing. When you walk around the city sometimes they shout things at you which are not OK. Some were drunk and they were shouting all sorts of words."
The Herald takes the opportunity to remind us of the time that organizers of a shooting championship in Kuwait played the parody Kazakh national anthem (sample lyric: "Come grasp the mighty penis of our leader") instead of the real one.
Kuwaiti organizers messing up and drunken Brits making old jokes notwithstanding, Kazakhstan's investment in athletics appears to be paying off. The central-Asian republic is one of many embattled or traditionally peripheral countries using international athletic competitions to raise their profile, and new training programs and incentives have helped to cultivate a strong delegation.
The Herald details the cash prizes instituted for medal winners from the Kazakh delegation: In US dollars, gold medalists receive a $250,000, silver medalists get $125,000, and bronze medalists win $75,000. Money also is being invested in new infrastructure and equipment.
With a dedication to athletic excellence like that, soon enough Kazakhs will be able to high-five one another without someone yelling "HIGH FIIIIIVE!"
3. Au Revoir, Canada: Should Four Bronzes Lead To Independence? | Canada
It's an election year in Quebec, and as always, there's a small but vocal contingent pushing for the province to declare independence. According to the Canadian Press wire service, one politician is using the Olympic success of Quebecers to argue for her province's sovereignty.
Pauline Marois, candidate for premier and leader of the pro-independence Parti Quebecois, was so elated with Canada's four bronze medals that she said, "This means, among other things, that it's another example of how Quebec could shine among the brightest … as an independent country. We could continue to win our medals, I'm sure of that."
Another Canadian publication was quick to argue that Marois is delusional. "With a leap of arithmetic worthy of Einstein, Marois determined that the four bronzes indicated Quebec could take its place among the nations of the world," David Newman wrote in Maclean's.
"Never mind whether any of the athletes are sovereigntists or separatists or share any of Marois' views whatsoever. Never mind what proportion of their funding was federal, provincial, municipal, personal, or private. The conclusion was obvious for Marois: four bronze equals independence for Quebec."
Right or wrong, if Marois wants to continue with tenuous correlations, she need only look south of her border as the US has earned more total medals (2,549) than Great Britain (737) since declaring its independence in 1776.
4. Consolation, Shmonsolation: Miffed Fencer Refuses Medal | South Korea
On Monday, Deadspin covered South Korean fencer Shin A Lam's tearful sit-in after losing a semifinal match to German Britta Heidemann on a controversial call in the final seconds. The last sentence of the piece informed us that Shin will be "denied a medal" after losing the bronze-medal match.