While China’s imperial dynasty diligently sought immortality, Australia’s queen paid an increased price in Beijing for an ill-conceived opinion.
This month, Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s government demanded that 28-year-old Aussie swimmer James Magnussen disclose all his personal health details, while holding out the prospect of penalties for infractions such as eating and sleeping in the Chinese Olympic village.
It was Australia’s first official “double quarantine” for an Olympian, after one began in London. Magnussen showed up at a Beijing hearing last month “sore” and smelling of cigarette smoke. The police are investigating the allegations of theft, and Australian officials are calling for surveillance cameras to record visitors’ movements, according to the Daily Telegraph.
There is likely to be no inquest, though. Turns out that Magnussen has worn the same attire to each event since March. And of all the other Olympic athletes in China this month, the most experienced were also the least expected. Can the host’s reputation for vigilant quarantine compliance help reverse its underperformance in swimming?