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Sport some spirit

Starting today, athletes from 205 countries will compete for glory, 81 of them representing India. This time around, ditch the usual happy hours at your neighbourhood pub to watch athletes compete on the big screen and bring the party home, literally.

mumbai Updated: Jul 28, 2012 01:16 IST
Humaira Ansari
Humaira Ansari
Hindustan Times

If you aren't in on this, you aren't in on it at all
This weekend, invite friends, hire a projector and screen, and do up your place. Convert your living room in a mini Olympics stadium of fans cheering for India's athletes.

We bring you tips from three party planners in the city on how to throw a cool house party themed around the Olympics.

- Humaira Ansari

Pragnya Rao,
party planner, founder of Groovy Two Shoes
1. At your entrance, frame a map of London that reads ‘You are here'.
2. Make sure the food is pre-cooked and laid out on the table. You don't want to miss out on the fun being stuck in the kitchen. Lay out a buffet spread. To add to the fun, make a table runner out of regular brown chart paper and draw a running track in white chalk. Write ‘start' on one end and ‘finish' on the other. Arrange the appetizers at the starting point and desserts on the finish line. Place the rest of the dishes in between the two points.
3. Try a multi-cuisine menu with each dish representing the country of its origin. Stick a tiny flag of that country on that dish.
4. Make buntings out of paper cuttings of news related to the Olympics or of athletes. Stick it on the wall behind the dining area.
5. Replace a few cushion covers with Union Jack-themed covers.
6. Use big round medals as coasters on the centre table.
7. Instead of a central floral arrangement, take a tall cylindrical glass vase and fill it with flags of different nations.
8. Place fun whistles and badges in a bowl, so that your guests can cheer and hoot for their favourite athlete.
9. Set up a photo booth. Use props such as colourful Afros, tennis racquets or the Olympic torch .

Candice Pereira,
wedding planner, founder of Marry Me
1. Make or order doughnuts, but don't forget to glaze it with colours of the Olympics ring.
2. Set up a cocktail list with cocktails/drinks from the countries that are playing on the day of your party. You could even try naming a few cocktails/mocktails as gold, silver and bronze.
3. Quiz your guests on Olympics history and past winner. This will also serve as an icebreaker and great pre-party warm up exercise. Don't forget to create ‘medals' to hand out to the winners.
4. Decorate the main party area with flags of participating countries. Also hand out a few flags to your guests.
5. Make an Olympic torch out of cardboard and use it as a vase or a cupcake stand.

Vanita Rodriguez,
party planner, founder of Joyride Party Organisers
1. Make a thermocol replica of the Olympics torch, hang it at your entrance
Make Olympics badges out of cardboards or handmade paper, and give it to your guests to pin up on their clothes.
2. Decorate the house with Olympics flags. Blow balloons in the shape of the Olympics rings and the five Olympics colour- blue, black, red, yellow and green. Keep the dress code restricted to the Olympics colours.
3. Add to the Olympics fervour by sticking small flags of participating countries in small pen stands on your side table.
4. Call a tattoo artist to paint the Olympics logo on your guest's wrists or cheeks.
5. As an after-party memento, give out rubber wristbands again in the Olympics colours.

Get the big-screen experience at home
Are you afraid that your television set will fall short of capturing the grandeur of the Olympics? Rent a projector and screen, fix it to your television set and let your guests cheer at their loudest.

If you have a good white wall, then skip the screen and just hire a projector. With a 4x6 ft projection, your guests will surely enjoy the action on a larger-than-life screen while they sample some finger foods.

Where to hire from
Lucky Projection
Delivers all over Mumbai, up to Kalyan on the Central line, Vasai on Western line and Panvel on the harbour line.
Price: Rs. 1,200 with screen for 8 hours; Rs. 200 per hour after that
Where: C/3-18 Taximan Colony, Off Bandra Kurla Complex, LBS Marg, Kurla (West)
93223 30280/ 91722 9770

Video World
Rents projectors in western suburbs between Dadar and Dahisar. Delivery and set up is free for customers between Goregaon and Santacruz.
Price: Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 2,500 with a screen; Rs. 1,200 without screen [For six hours]
Where: 2 Amrut Sagar, Kanti Nagar Opp Of Kohinoor Hotel Opp Jain Temple, J B Nagar, Andheri (East)
Call: 6161 2221

Where you can watch
DD Sports:
The channel will have 14 hours of programming everyday from 12.30 pm onwards.
ESPN: Will focus on sports in which Indian athletes are representing the country or those that are popular in India, such as hockey, tennis and wrestling.

The food
Fastest finger food first

The sportspersons taking part in the Olympics, which you and your friends shall be watching this weekend, have to stick to strictly regimented diets to maintain their fitness levels. Luckily, you don't have to do the same. Half the fun of watching sports in a group, is in the large bowls of salty, spicy, crunchy finger foods placed everywhere the hand can reach. And your party should be no different. Go ahead and team these delicious accompaniments or meals-in-themselves with sodas and juices.
Sucharita Kanjilal

1. Chicken satay
Ingredients: 160g chicken breast, 20g galangal, 20g lemon grass, 20g coriander root, 10g garlic, salt to taste, curry powder to taste, 1 tsp turmeric, 20g palm sugar, 60g coconut milk, 10g peanut butter
Method: Cut the chicken. Grind all the vegetables well in the mixer. Add turmeric powder and curry powder. Mix well. Marinate the chicken and grill till cooked. Serve with peanut sauce and 6 pieces of bread sticks.

2. Paneer Kathi roll
Ingredients: 180g Roomali roti or any thin maida roti, 100g paneer, 60g bell peppers, 40g onion masala (blended onions, ginger-garlic paste, cumin, garam masala, red chilli powder, coriander powder, amchur), 60g mint chutney, 20g butter
Method: Make a spicy mixture of sautéed paneer along with onion masala and grilled peppers. Wrap them in the roti and pan fry in butter. Serve with mint chutney, onions cut into thin strips.
Recipes courtesy: Chef Suresh Thampy, executive chef, Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai International Airport

3. Rosemary potatoes
For the wedges:
Ingredients: 2kg peeled potatoes, 50ml olive oil, 150g onions, 50g garlic, 30g fresh rosemary, 10g salt, 10g crushed pepper
Method: Cut the potato into wedges. Mix with all other ingredients and arrange on a baking tray. Bake at 240 degrees for 20 minutes and you're done.
For the final dish:
Ingredients: Potato wedges, 10ml olive oil, 1 tomato (dried in the oven), 3g chopped garlic, fresh basil leaves, rosemary leaves (chopped fine), 5g sliced onion, 2g chilli flakes, 1g sea salt, 1g crushed pepper, 2g red chilli powder, some chopped parsley
Method: Heat oil in a pan. Toss the potatoes in with all the other ingredients till crispy. Finish by garnishing it with some chilli oil (optional).
Recipe courtesy: Spaghetti Kitchen

The film
The tale of a heart-rending run
The purpose of running isn't to win a race; it's to test the limits of the human heart. This is what Bill Bowerman, Steve Prefontaine's coach, says to a field packed with people mourning the star athlete's untimely death at the age of 24.

Prefontaine (Billy Crudup), known as just 'Pre', had become indelibly associated with the running track by the time of his death, and even his memorial service was held at the University of Oregon's playing field.

He was a great athlete, a brash, arrogant youth, and a performer who never let the idea of winning overpower the idea of excelling.

Without Limits is mostly about his relationship with his coach, Bowerman, played pitch-perfectly by an aging-yet-virile Donald Sutherland. He struggles with his young ward and tries to instill in him discipline and restraint. But Pre grows impatient, and absolutely refuses to pace himself. He wins several meets, and sets several American distance records and is even selected for the ill-fated 1972 Summer Olympic games.

The film starts to look like it will be a typical Hollywood product featuring a raw protégé flourishing under a patient mentor. One starts to lose interest. We cannot invest in a character so obviously triumphant.

But Pre is not a conventional hero, and the absurd circumstances of his death — he died in a car accident —ensures the film ends on a wistful ‘if only' note.

Without Limits is a conventional sports movie, but its source material breaks the limits set by convention.
Karthik Balasubramanian

The book
The one-woman sporting machine
What would you get if you rolled Annika Sorentsam, Steffi Graf and Jackie Joyner-Kersee all into one, then put that superwoman through a time machine? Something a lot like champion hurdler-athlete-basketball player-baseballer-golfer sporting wonder woman Babe Didrikson Zaharias, the all-round American athlete from the first half of the 20th century.

Didrikson, the youngest of seven children of Norwegian immigrants, was one of the country's most versatile athletes — male or female — and had, by the time she died, tried her hand at and conquered several major sports. When ESPN and the Associated Press drew up their list of all time sporting greats of the 20th century, Didrikson was right there in the top ten, alongside nine male superstars.

Didrikson first announced her arrival on the scene at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Later, she went on to become part of a men's national baseball team, achieve all-star status in basketball and capped it all off by playing professional golf, winning 14 consecutive tournaments in 1946-47 and founding the LPGA.

Don Van Natta Jr's book works as both a biography as well as an exploration of women's participation in sport.

It is, therefore, a fitting reminder of a champion athlete, one who was also a very colourful character.
Bhavya Dore

First Published: Jul 28, 2012 01:09 IST