Judith and Nicholas Gartaganis — Bridge Blog

Day 0: Up Close and Personal

So the good news is that everyone arrived safely in Lille … by a variety of routes.  One took the “red eye” which, flying across the Atlantic from evening  into morning, makes a lot of sense (you just have a bit less missing night time to which to adjust).  All team members were acutely aware of potential jet lag effects and ways to combat them.  For you frequent West-to-East flyers, what do you usually do when you arrive and are one step from becoming a zombie (beyond the usual sleep / (don’t sleep) ; eat / (don’t eat))?

Today was filled with preliminaries and the opening ceremonies. Sadly, this year’s version did not hold a candle to previous galas, most notably the 1st WMSG held in Beijing in 2008.

With the WBF initiatives to have bridge included under the Olympic sport umbrella has come a somewhat incomprehensible requirement to comply with anti-doping standards as they apply to all Olympic sports. If there is a drug to enhance bridge prowess, please … please tell us now.  Nevertheless, all entrants must be prepared to submit to scrutiny.

To that end, two (of the some 350+ entrants in the Open Teams event) were randomly selected for drug testing. This was to be a relatively painless affair: show up at the designated time, do the usual into a cup and be on your way. Pity poor Nick L’Ecuyer who was unlucky enough to be one of the two! (He is determined to buy a lottery ticket sometime today). What was to be a routine exercise turned into a marathon, stretched out no doubt because one had to get up close and personal while “doing the usual” into the cup. After all, we wouldn’t want these bridge players slipping us substitute samples, would we? After over 2 hours of waiting, during which time his skill at French-to-English translation was much appreciated by his fellow testees, he was finally released back into the general bridge-playing population. Thanks for taking one for the team, Nick.

We had a great team dinner tonight (joined by Danny Miles’ parents, who, coincidently are in France on vacation). Everybody’s pumped. We are ready for Day 1.


LindaAugust 10th, 2012 at 6:12 am

good luck Team Canada

John GooldAugust 10th, 2012 at 6:47 am

The anti-doping requirements were in place as long ago as the 2004 World Bridge Olympiad in which I participated.

As team captain, I well remember pouring over the conditions of contest and being worried that using the wrong decongestant, anti-histamine or prescription medicine could mean our team would get disqualified (we had a 6-person team, but our team agreement was equal playing time for all, though one of our weaker players voluntary sat out after realizing what “world-class really meant!)

I believe in a previous world event one of the Canadian Women’s team got disqualified – maybe someone remembers better (or can look it up) and tell us. I vaguely remember there being quite a furor at the time — for precisely the irrelevancy you refer to.

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