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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

fable repeats itself.... tortoise beats rabbit again - in a skiing race

In Vijay starrer ‘Sura’ – Vadivelu would pray to Goddess and would proceed with much fanfare for the boatrace ….. by the time he reaches the venue, the competition would have finished (he coming in the evening when the race was in the morning !)

He is currently in a medically induced coma at a clinic in Grenoble where doctors describe his condition as critical but stable.Grenoble, a city at the foot of French Alps is in news … for wrong reasons .. as fans are converging on a hospital to honour their champion on his 45th birth day – sad that he is no position to understand -  critically injured in a skiing accident. There is news that French cops are hoping to get hold of a mobile phone video that is said to capture the moment, the sportsstar collided with a rock while skiing, leaving him fighting for life in hospital.  It is Michael Schumacher, a seven-time Formula One (F1) World Champion and is widely regarded as one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time.

Skiing is a recreational activity and competitive sport in which the participant attaches skis to boots or shoes on the feet and uses them to travel on top of snow. Aside from recreation and competition, skiing has been used for military purposes and travelling in areas that experience heavy snowfall. Skiing has become more popular in China in recent years, with a range of slopes opening in the country’s cold north, and it is bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics. 

There are fables which you have been hearing for ages…. ‘the story of Tortoise and the Hare’ is one …. a story of a race between unequal ones ….an interesting folk theme, though.  A weakling upstaging a formidable opponent is always a fantasy….but people are to be judged properly…….a widely circulated picture in internet shows a competition of animals lined up … for climbing a tree – you cannot judge a fish by asking it to climb a tree – with monkey too in the competition …. !!

The oft repeated story relates a hare who dares the slow-mover tortoise for a race …. Hare has a head start ~ is so over-confident that midway takes a nap (not a catnap !) … wakes up late, then runs to the finishing post, only to see – the tortoise winning the race.  What is sought to be conveyed that ‘one should not lose track by being over-confident’ and they say – slow and steady winning the race. An old Greek source comments that 'many people have good natural abilities which are ruined by idleness; on the other hand, sobriety, zeal and perseverance can prevail over indolence.

Now connecting the earlier paras ~ a Skiing competition held at China has attracted World attention…. ... Cats and dogs faced off against a menagerie including a rooster and a yellow duck in a race to the finish line on snowy slopes in Henan province, the state-run China News Service said ~ and reconfirming the proverb – ‘the slow and steady tortoise beat the rabbit’ – not in running  but in skiing. 

News reports from Beijing mention that a  tortoise beat a rabbit in a skiing competition held for pets and their owners in China, a report said on Tuesday    The 40 human competitors were allowed to place their animals on skis or sledges, or could guide the pet with a lead while skiing, the report said. In an unexpected outcome akin to the old  fable, a tortoise beat a rabbit, with the shelled reptile eventually claiming third place overall, the report said. “Because the rabbit loved jumping and didn’t follow its owner’s commands, it was overtaken by the tortoise,” it said. The tortoise — which would normally be expected to hibernate during the winter — apparently hitched a ride on its owner’s ski equipment, the report added.

Pictures showed a yellow duck taking to the slopes in a fetching red neck tie, attracting curious stares from two dogs, before being held aloft by its owner who clutched a red certificate of honour after it waddled over the finish line — even though it finished last overall.     The bird’s “spirit of persistence rendered onlookers speechless with admiration,” the report said.

China’s bid for  2022 Winter Olympics, faces a number of challenges, not least that Asia will host both the 2018 winter Games in South Korea’s Pyeongchang and the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo. Animal activists have protested holding such a type of races involving animals…..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Animal race photos courtesy :;

fable photo courtesy :

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