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on your marks, get set, present arms

The involvement of the army in the Olympics is just too delicious to contemplate.

"Right then, you 'orrible lot. Call that a proper start? I've seen better starts AT PRIMARY SCHOOL! [puts his face up against Usain Bolt's]. Listen laddie, I know your sort. Way too cocky, that's your problem. If you come out of them blocks before the gun one more time, I'll have you running the 10,000 metres in Helmand in full kit with an 80-kilo pack in the middle of the day. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"

"Yes, boss."

"What did you say? It's 'Yes SIR!' Now get down and give me 10!"

Things are no better over at the pole vault (not to be confused with the Pole vault where newly arrived workers from the EC jump over the unmanned desks at Passport Control). Here, in an unplanned tribute to Eric Sykes, one of the athletes has turned around with the pole on his shoulder, knocking the Sergeant into the steeplechase water. "One more time, sonny," he says, as he picks himself up, water pouring from his pockets as if he has become a living fountain. "One more time and that pole is going WHERE THE SUN DON'T SHINE!"

It's no better outside the arena. An argument has broken out in one of the missile emplacements at the top of some flats. The commanding officer is not happy. "Today is a Tuesday and we know what happens on a Tuesday, don't we? No, it's not the 400m final – it's bin day. Now, what's this? [holds up toilet roll in front of quivering residents]. Yes, I know it's a toilet roll WHICH MEANS IT ISN'T MADE OF PLASTIC! So either you put your stuff in the RIGHT boxes or we're going to turn these guns onto your flats and blow them to Afghanistan DO YOU HEAR?"

Back by the track there's a disturbance. A tank has parked across the first four lanes, which means the athletes have to run around it.

But there's worse to come. Some squaddies have just trotted in, singing: "I don't know but I've been told/All that glitters sure ain't gold/Cutbacks here are vicious and mean/Check your medal to see if it's real."

Sebastian Coe is furious and goes charging after them. But from somewhere the Chariots of Fire music starts up and he's reduced to slow motion – either that or both his hamstrings have gone.

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