Imagine an olympic sized stadium. Imagine spectators cheering wildly. Imagine nervous but excited contestants.
Welcome to the award ceremony of the Animal Olympics – who is the best of the best? Who will take home coveted gold medals? Who will make their species proud? Who are the world record breakers?
A hush falls over the crowd as the announcer clears his voice and in a booming voice calls out, “Ladies and gentlemen I will now announce the winner of our first category – The fastest animal”
“In second place: we have Ostrich speeding over the finish line at an incredible 70 km/h, affording him the title of fastest 2 legged animal, but unfortunately not fastest land animal”
A slightly disappointed but satisfied Ostrich, claims his silver medal and returns to his cheering fans.
” and now, taking the gold…please step forward…with a body made for speed…prey beware…at 110 km/h…the incredibbbbbbbble CHEETAH”
Growls of excitement echo as the cat species cheer on their comrade, while Cheetah streaks over to claim her medal.
“Quiet please, quiet please and onto our second category – The tallest animal, we call on…”
Before the announcer can finish his sentence Giraffe has already strolled elegantly to the podium.
” ummm, yes, uhh, standing tall at 5.5m the winner is most definitely GIRAFFE, round of applause please, yes round of applause”
Giraffe patiently waits, while staff search for a ladder, in order for the President of the Animal Olympics to bestow upon her the gold she deserves.
“Thank you Giraffe, moving on to category three. Who do you not want to invite to a tea party? Who do you buy soap for as a Christmas present? If you haven’t guessed it yet – This is the Smelliest Animal category”
Across the stadium the spectators are pinching their noses closed, everyone looks suspiciously at their neighbours while turning slightly away…who is this creature? Skunk pipes up “Don’t look at me! I did not even compete!”
Shamefacedly Polecat slinks to the podium, meekly accepts his gold and then in an act of defiance lets off one quick squirt…leaving his horrible smell of victory to linger.
Scarcely breathing and struggling to talk, the announcer’s voice squeaks “Please would Rhino Beetle and Goliath Beetle come forward”
“The next category we have named “The Beetle Wars”, and as both of you have come out winners, we will be handing over two gold medals. The first medal goes to Rhino Beetle, who as most of you know, is part of the Baby 5 of Africa, able to carry over 800 times its own weight at only 60mm, Rhino Beetle you are the STRONGEST of creatures aaaaaaand with a wingspan of over 20cm, easily having a length of over 10cm, and as your name suggests……… Goliath Beetle you are the BIGGEST and HEAVIEST of beetles”
But wait what is that commotion? The humans in the crowd are running for cover, pointing and scurrying. Is it a plane? Is it Superman? No…it’s a…a..a…BIRD? huh? I hear you say, a bird? Humans are scared of a bird? *sniggers from the predators are heard*
Well yes, in this case, humans had better be scared! It’s the Cassowary, even though it is flightless, with its powerful legs and knife-like claws it has been known to KILL humans!
Security efficiently and quickly removes the Cassowary and the show must go on….
“Ladies and Gentlemen settle down, settle down please. We have arrived at the grand finale category – that of who is the LARGEST. In order to be absolutely clear we have decided to split the category into land and marine, we have furthermore split marine into mammal and fish. Unfortunately as our marine winners are unable to attend due to … well due to being unable to breathe above water…they will have their representatives from Marine World accept their awards. In the largest of all fish swimming our waters, at an impressive 40 feet in length the gold goes to…..WHALE SHARK and taking gold for the largest mammal please give a round of applause to…….BLUE WHALE at an astounding 35m in length”
(Dear reader please note at this point due to a lack of supporters there was only a smattering of applause – I suppose under water there were a lot of bubble claps.)
A hush falls over the stadium…the largest land animal is going to be announced, who is the biggest of all? Does speed really matter if you could just trample your enemy? Does being tall help if you can just be pushed over? There is an air of expectancy, as if the crowd knows the answer – but could there be a surprise twist?
“The largest land animal is…….
The trumpets of hundreds of elephants resounds throughout the stadium, the matriarch of all elephants leads her herds forward in a triumphant march, each receiving their gleaming prize as they pass the President of the Animal Olympics. Victory is theirs.
and yet…. louder and louder ….the strains of a familiar melody is heard….in the…in the jungle…in the mighty…in the mighty jungle…the ….the lion sleeps …the lion sleeps tonight….. Louder and LOUder and LOUDER……until the crowd is silenced by it. And from deep within the bowels of the stadium a mighty roar is heard, the roar of power, the roar of authority….and from all corners of the stadium padding towards the middle come the LIONS….and as one they roar….“You might have won yourselves little sparkles, but remember, always remember WE are the KINGS OF THE JUNGLE…THE PRIDE OF THE AFRICAN BUSH…hear us RRRRRRROOOOOOOOAAAARRRRRRR”