Students are this week presenting an Olympic bid for a city of their choice, and my group have chosen Antananarivo, in Madagascar. Both students (they shall remain nameless) are leaving at the end of the week, so may very well be a bit demob happy; however, they have made an interesting choice.

No African city has ever come close to hosting the Olympic Games (although a couple have bid – Cape Town and Cairo). Given its endemic poverty and recent history of civil unrest, I doubt whether Antananarivo is about to break the duck, so to speak, but as my students gamely pointed out, there would be an unrivalled range of mascot animals from which to choose.


Dispossessed – Poussin, Adoration of the Golden Calf

And there is encouragement of sorts to be had from an alternative football World Cup for unrecognised states now being arranged in Abkhazia, the breakaway republic of Georgia on the Black Sea. I do not know that any other statelet or autonomous region has guaranteed participation as yet (unrecognised states are typically not rich, which may or may not be a coincidence). But if we are lucky we can look forward to encounters between Abkhazia and Northern Cyprus, Palestine and Nagorno-Karabakh, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and the Pridnestrovian Moldovian Republic, the Republic of South Ossetia and Somaliland.

My money, however, is on South Korea (not recognised by North Korea) should they choose to participate. I’m not sure that the Republic of China (otherwise known as Taiwan, not to be confused with the People’s Republic of China) are quite up to South Korea’s standards. And then, who knows, perhaps someone will make a case for Scotland to participate. Scotland should at least make the semis.