Athens Permeability

Another example of what John Bale referred to as "the problem of spectators": a Canadian spectator, bare-chested and sporting a blue tutu, climbed a diving board and jumped into the pool at the men's synchronized diving competition in Athens.

Olympic organizers told The Associated Press the man was trying to send a love message to his wife by getting on TV. However, the message painted on his chest appeared to be the website address for an online gaming website.

Courtesy of Toronto Star/Mark Humphrey/AP

Update: The Toronto Star continues the story today:

Bensimhon [the prankster] first made headlines in March when he burst onto the ice at the skate meet in Dortmund, clad in goggles, a tutu, ice skates and the Web advertising on his torso. His appearance shocked five-time U.S. champion Michelle Kwan, who was about to begin her final program.

"My first instinct was to look for a weapon," Kwan told reporters after the meet. "I thought safety first and got off the ice. Who cares about the long program if somebody is shooting at you. It's the kind of nightmares you have. Thank God he wasn't that crazy."

Bensimhon was detained briefly but not charged following the incident in Germany, which had online skating chatrooms abuzz over whether the "tutu factor" ultimately caused Kwan to fail in her quest for a sixth world title.

Monday's Olympic infiltration came early in the blunder-filled fifth and final round at the 3-metre synchronized diving springboard. The normally flawless Chinese pair, widely expected to capture gold, collapsed when diver Wang Kenan lost his concentration, landing flat on his back. The Russian team also buckled when Dmitri Sautin slapped the board with his feet, ultimately hitting the water on the back of his shoulders.

The bizarre sequence cleared the way for the host nation Greece to come from nowhere, taking its first gold medal of Athens 2004 and its first-ever diving medal.

That will certainly make things more difficult for this man, who I am rooting for harder than I am for most of the Olympians.


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