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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Wacky Races

When I was a little boy, there was a particular Hannah-Barbera cartoon I liked more than any other: Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines. This was the show with many names. Many people know it as Stop The Pigeon, others just called it Dastardly and Muttley. Actually it was a spin-off from another series called Wacky Races.

Besides Muttley's contagiously cute snigger, one catch-phrase has stuck with me since my childhood. This involves Dastardly screaming for help from Muttley at the top of his lungs, promising to give him a medal.

Oddly enough, all this came to mind again these past few days as I followed the Maltese team at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. I really wished that the Maltese team would do better, and I was really hoping that William Chetcuti would come closer to the Olympic bronze medal for shooting.

Olympic medals at the summer games continue to elude the Maltese team. Malta remains one of 86 nations who have never won a medal at the summer games. Only Liechtenstein has been an IOC member for longer without having earned a medal at the summer games.

This also reminds me of Malta's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. Perhaps this is because it is the other great occasion Malta has to appear in front of millions of television viewers. But now that sports and song contests are no longer the purview of the same ministry, I wonder if this will occur to anyone else who can say or do anything that really matters. Then again, Malta will certainly never ever host the summer Olympic Games, and (unlike the Eurovision Song Contest) I can't imagine anyone in Malta would really want to.

And so I'm left to reminisce about Muttley at the Wacky Races and imagine Dastardly screeching at the top of his lungs: "Malta, do something! I'll give you a medal!!"

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