Sunday, June 13, 2010

Are Blatter & Co. gold plating the truth about the gold in the world cup?

It is world cup mania out here in South Africa and without realising it; many of my online moments seem to be steering towards world cup related content. Talk about being swept by a tidal wave! In a recent piece on Mthoko Says… , Mthoko dealt with the topic of celebrity worship, and made a somewhat cynical comment about how people have stood in queues for hours with the aim of catching a glimpse of the FIFA World Cup that might not be the real thing and which does not resemble a cup in the conventional sense.

Well having said that, it was interesting to read an article on the BBC website about British scientist Martyn Poliakoff, who has calculated that if the World Cup trophy was really solid gold it would be too heavy for footballers to lift as it would weigh not less than 70kg. Other science boffins also confirm that gold had a very high density, hence the logical explanation is that the top (ball) part of the Jules Rimet Trophy - (FIFA World Cup) is either hollow or filled with a lighter metal.

Does this make FIFA’s claim that it is solid gold nothing more than gold plated truth? It is impossible to argue with the chemists because the density of gold is a proven scientific fact. The best that we can do for Blatter and Co. is to give them the benefit of the doubt. These men have been good to us, bringing this great competition to Africa at last. Let us therefore not ask too many questions and assume that by using the term “Solid,” they refer to the solid piece of gold that was used to make the golden parts of the cup. Semantics would then have crept in to create this confusion that has led us to misinterpret it to mean that the whole trophy is a solid lump of gold. Blatter is after all not a native English speaker, nor were the Italian designers of the cup. How is that for benefit of the doubt? Mthoko refuses to be drawn into irresponsible claims that FIFA are liars who peddle exaggerated statements to market and glorify their tournament!

Does it matter what the cup is manufactured from? To a certain extent, there is some appeal and prestige in lifting a cup that is all gold. The thought of a steel core or a hollow space full of air is not very flattering. Ultimately though it is the blood, sweat and tears that go with preparing for the tournament, the many experiences on and off the field and the total world cup experience that make the Jules Rimet a priceless token of victory. Despite Poliakoff’s theories, many more Pashasha moments are bound to be witnessed for a long time to come!

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