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by Bud Buck, 9/22/00

Dc: This is DCR, it's not the news.
Fresh new sports are added to the Olympics every four years. This time, synchronized diving is new. The women's triathalon is new. And although it hasn't received much TV coverage, there's a sport that is practiced all over the world that is finally getting the formal recognition it deserves. Bud Buck reports.

(sfx: nighttime, crickets)

Bud: I went to visit Arnie Hockert at his home outside Perth, and we sat on the front stoop, stared at the full moon, and talked.

Arnie: It ain't one of the glamour sports, mind you, but it comes from the people, y'know? (spit) I done it all my life. Can't stop. Won't stop, whether I win a medal or not.

Bud: The sport in question is spitting. And Arnie Hockert is among the best in the world.

Arnie: Me mum kicked me out of the house when I was 16.

Bud: A broken home? Your humble beginnings?

Arnie: Humble? Naw. There was plenty of money. Tons. But she said I was a slob, like me dad. And I am. Wouldn't quit the spit.

Bud: But you had to work hard to get here, didn't you? Hours and hours of training? Your head full of glorious dreams?

Arnie: Naw, not really. It's just something I'm good at. Don't practice none. I think it's the way my teeth and tounge come together. Or don't come together, I should say. Just blessed, I guess. (spit) Sorry mate. Is that your coat?

(sfx: nighttime, crickets fade)

Bud: It was my coat. As I looked at the stain, I couldn't help imagining that the spot was flecked with Olympic gold.

Mitzi: Everywhere there are people, there is spitting. And like it or not, whether they hail from the slums of Calcutta or the Upper East side of Manhattan, people do like to compete at things they're good at. It matters. For us to turn our backs on that… It would be hypocrisy.

Bud: Mitzi Rose is the IOC official who has been designated to defend the addition of spitting to the list of officially sanctioned sports.

Mitzi: Ever since "Titanic"… that scene with Kate and Leo… competitive spitting has just exploded.

Bud: But still, thousands believe it to be disgusting.

Mitzi: There are people who don't like the balance beam. It gives them a headache. Makes them squeamish. With all the jumping and that hardwood there… the imagination runs wild. We wouldn't cancel the balance beam for that reason. Why should we cater to people's fears about spitting?

Bud: When the sport was formally introduced this year, expectorators from over 80 countries showed up in Sydney, ready to pit their spit against the best of the rest of the world for accuracy and distance.

Hall Anncr: (w/echo) The next contestant, from Australia, Arnie Hockert.

(sfx: crowd - wild applause)
(sfx: crowd - low murmer in hall, under following)
(music: Olympic thrumming under to the end)

Bud: Australian spitting has a long tradition. The British convicts who came here had absolutely no manners of any kind, and many claimed they had been sent to the penal colony for nothing more than "spitting on the sidewalk." The country is wild for the sport, and especially proud that the planet's best have gathered here in Sydney to make their bid for respectability in what locals have proudly called "The Arrival of the Salival." And on this day in this obscure country in this remote corner of the southern hemisphere of this watery planet, no one was more proud, no one was dripping with more glory, than the unassuming man from Perth. This… was his golden moment.

TV commentator 1: Hockert is currently ranked number 4 in the world, but he's performing well beyond that here in Sydney.

TV commentator 2: He was number one in the dribbling. And in the short program he would have taken first had it not been for the exceptional performance of the Frenchman, Goo-bair.

TV commentator 1: Everyone expected the French to do well here. They've got vast reserves of cultural disdain and can come up with a big "ptooehy" any time, any place. We certainly saw that with Goo-bair last night.

TV commentator 2: But Hockert is in great shape, a very strong second, and he could move into first and claim the gold if he can hit this moving target at 30 meters.

TV commentator 1: It's all about distance, accuracy and timing. Goo-bair didn't have quite enough. In fact no one has ever flung phlegm so far and hit a target so small.

TV commentator 2: Not in international competition. But now, Hockert and Australia are within "spitting distance" of Olympic gold!

TV commentator 1: The specators here at Spitoon Australia are literally on the edges of their seats… one can almost hear them swallowing nervously.

TV commentator 2: He's at the line. He's dredging!

(sfx: spit)

TV commentator 1: And… he launches! Wow!

TV commentator 2: Look at it go!

(sfx: ding!)
(sfx: crowd goes wild)

TV commenator 1: That's a world record! It's a record!

TV commenator 2: Take a look at this man! His is the face of a new world sport! Look at that smile! It's the new image of spitting!

(sfx: pandemonium under)

Bud: Yes, Arnie Hockert took the gold medal… and with it, a measure of success and respectability. Will the glory of this first Olympics "stick" to the sport of competitive spitting, or perhaps will it be the other way around? Time will tell. This is Bud Buck!


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