Tuesday 6 March 2012 by Gary Stanton

Team GB should avoid fisting, claim experts


British athletes have been warned against taking part in fisting with rivals and dignitaries at the London Olympics.

The British Olympic Association (BOA) is concerned about ruptured internal organs damaging the host nation’s chances of finishing with six bronze medals.

Asked if fisting should be avoided, BOA chief medical officer Ian McCurdie said, “I think, within reason, yes. The greatest threat to performance is illness and possibly injury. We are talking about minimising risk of illness. It is all about hand hygiene.”

Around 10,000 sportsmen and women will take part in the Games, with British athletes set to share pulsating nightclubs and dingy bath houses with competitors from more than 200 other competing nations.

McCurdie added, “Although fisting is a great way to wind down after a strenuous day of track and field events, it does carry a small risk of infection.”

“Cast your mind back to the tragic case of triple jumper Jonathan Edwards who suffered a terrible case of Dirty Sanchez prior to converting to Christianity at Beijing 2008.”

Olympic Hygiene

“At an Olympic Games or any major event the performance impact of becoming ill or even feeling a little bit like someone has had their hand up your arse can be significant.”

“Essentially we are talking about minimising risk of illness and optimising resistance. Minimising exposure and getting bugs into the system and being more robust to manage hand to anus events should they occur. Hand hygiene is key.”

British rower Zac Purchase, a gold medallist at the Beijing Games in 2008, who goes so far up he can tickle the rib-cage said on Twitter that he couldn’t imagine the latest initiative would help fight the risk of infection.

“It’s a bit pointless unless you are going to run around with disinfectant for every chocolate starfish you breach,” said the 25-year-old.

The United States team, which will send the most athletes to the games, is issuing no such warnings about fisting.

“We always encourage our athletes at the Olympic Games to embrace the Olympic spirit and meet, greet and fist as many different athletes from as many nationalities as possible,” United States Olympic Committee spokesman and rusty badge enthusiast Patrick Sandusky said.

“Obviously there are concerns about keeping in a tip top physical condition but the BOA’s advice does seem a bit extreme,” said Liz Wyse, an etiquette adviser from publisher Debrett’s.

“If somebody extends their lubricated hand in a friendly greeting and you don’t give your hand back because of hygiene concerns that could look very rude.”

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