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Lifestyle09 Dec 2020

The Athletic Life: a tribute to the finest creative efforts of 2020


Completely Fictional Awards 2020 (© Christel Saneh)


Kate CarterMeet the winners of the inaugural Completely Fictional Awards for Creative Athletic Endeavours.

Kate Carter (@katehelencarter)


Welcome, everyone, to the first annual completely fictional awards for creative athletic endeavours. The jury has been holed up for weeks in the Imaginary Five Star resort, arguing late into the night over make-believe cocktails over the relative merits of the many nominations. It’s been a tough process, but they are proud to have suffered such hardship so that you can relive some of the creative highlights of 2020. So with no further ado, over to our first award.

The Unnamed Kit Sponsor Award for Best Undressed

Absolutely no contest here, folks. The jury is entirely unanimous in presenting this award to Simone Biles. Indeed certain members of the jury suggested just giving all the awards to Simone Biles and packing off down to the bar, presenting the entirely reasonable argument that there is no clip of Simone Biles doing anything on YouTube that merits less than about 15 back-to-back viewings. I mean just look! And here! Sorry, where were we? Ah yes. Back in April, Biles took her sweatpants off. While in a handstand. Using her feet. Seriously, you don’t think that’s worth an award? Try it, and get back to us. We are not liable for medical bills. 

The Pine Scented Soap Award for Best Use of a Floor

Decathlete Simone Cairoli ought to get an Olympic gold for his fantastically ingenious, creative and just downright brilliant recreation of a decathlon in one room. I mean come on, surely there’s a few shiny gold medals with 2020 embossed on them that aren’t going to any good use? Come to think of it, let’s throw in a few Oscars for special effects and acting. There have, after all, surely been Oscars given to performances considerably more wooden than that parquet floor… 

The Ultimately Pointless But Strangely Uplifing Award for Human Endeavour

Back in February, an ultramarathon runner called Pan Shancu ran 31 miles around his tiny apartment. One lap was about 8m. That’s 6,250 circuits. “I am sweating all over, feels great!” He wrote on social media, presumably still turning in the tiny circles in which he is now permanently locked. The jury only hopes his neighbours did the sensible thing and linked him up to the power grid, where he could produce enough wattage to power 45,000 electric cookers. 

The Taking Something to Pointless Extremes Award

In China, in France, in Spain - countries with total lockdowns - runners had to get creative. In France a restaurant manager called Elisha Nochomovitz ran the length of his 23-foot balcony 6,000 times to complete his own self-isolation marathon. A week later, he did it again. The jury salutes them. But English people? English people could run outdoors. And yet they decided, apparently en masse, to go and do it round their sheds/ gardens/ patios/ balconies. Every day, another garden marathon. Sample quote: “It was extremely boring”. The jury shakes its head, slowly, in utter bafflement. 

The Teenage Award for TikTok Challenges that Even Adults Can Understand

This prestigious award - which comes complete with eye rolls, and painfully condescending explanations from the jury - goes to the gymnasts Arthur Nory of Brazil and Laurie Hernandez of the USA for nailing the handstand challenge: moving your feet round the imaginary numbers of a clock while in a handstand (tricky) and all without causing any passing teens to self-combust in embarrassment at adult antics (far harder difficulty rating). 

The Ikea Award for Superior Kitchen Planning

The jury was minded to award this collectively to all the climbers who turned their kitchens into obstacle courses, but in the end, one performance stood out: Brooke Raboutou from Team USA and her epic traverse, fearlessly crossing such terrifying gaps as Kitchen Island to Kitchen Counter, and skirting the fearsome Sink Hole before reaching the pinnacle: a nice snack at the fridge. 

And that’s it, folks, the last award of the evening has been handed out and the jury is getting back in the pool for one last drink at the fictional swim-up bar.  Thank you for joining us for this celebration of the oddest of sporting years, where more sport has happened on social media than in real life, and our sporting stars got - as we have just seen - just as bored of being stuck at home as the rest of us. May 2021 be better for us all.