Asterix at the Olympic Games (Asterix #12) ★★★✬☆

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Title: Asterix at the Olympic Games
Series: Asterix #12
Authors: Goscinny & Uderzo
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 53
Words: 3K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

At the Roman camp of Aquarium near the Gauls’ village, Gluteus Maximus, an athletic Roman legionary, is chosen as one of Rome’s representatives for the upcoming Olympic Games in Greece. Gaius Veriambitius, his centurion, hopes to share in the glory of Olympic victory. While training in the forest, Gluteus Maximus encounters Asterix and Obelix, who unintentionally outdo him at running, then javelin and boxing, thanks to the power of the magic potion. Demoralised, he consigns himself to sweeping the Roman camp instead of training. When Veriambitius asks Vitalstatistix that Gluteus Maximus be left alone, Vitalstatistix decides the Gauls should enter the Olympic Games as well. Veriambitius argues they cannot, as Romans are the only non-Greeks allowed, but Asterix rationalizes that as Gaul is part of the Roman Empire, they are technically Romans (despite their resistance to Roman rule), making them a Gallo-Roman team, demoralising the centurion and his legionary further. The Gauls hold trials that prove inconclusive as everyone is dosed with the magic potion and thus do everything at the same top speed and strength. Eventually, they decide to register only Asterix and Obelix as competitors.

The entire (male) population of the village travels to Olympia (aboard a galley where they have to do the rowing), where Asterix and Obelix register as athletes (with Getafix as their coach) and the others all enjoy a holiday. When Gluteus Maximus and Veriambitius discover that the Gauls have come to compete, they are left in despair (Vitalstatistix telling them “We’re not stopping you entering, it’s just that we’re going to win”), and this despair spreads among all the Roman athletes. They give up training and spend all their time having elaborate parties, washing their uniforms and sweeping the whole area. The scent from their feasts eventually causes the Greek competitors to complain about their own healthy food. Alarmed, the Greeks send a judge to warn the Romans that even if they think drinking will somehow make them better athletes, it will be held against them as all artificial stimulants are forbidden, prompting Veriambitius to tell him about the Gauls’ magic potion. The Gauls are dejected by the news that victory is not as certain as they had expected, but Asterix decides to compete anyway. Obelix, being permanently affected by the potion, now cannot compete and anyway doesn’t quite understand what’s going on – he thinks he’s been dismissed just because he fell into a cauldron and wonders if telling the officials he fell into a regular pot or amphora will change anything.

At the games, Asterix and the Roman athletes are beaten at every turn by the Greeks, causing a dilemma to the Olympic officials. Although their victories prove what they’ve believed all along (that Romans are decadent barbarians and the Greeks are perfect beings), too much success will reflect badly on the country’s reputation, so they announce a special race for just Romans. After the announcement, Asterix and Getafix start talking, very loudly, about a cauldron of magic potion left in an unguarded shed. Eager to win, the other Roman athletes steal the potion that night.

The race begins, and the Roman athletes easily beat Asterix – they all overtake him and cross the finish line simultaneously. After the race, Getafix accuses them of having used magic potion and, when the Romans deny the accusation, Asterix sticks his tongue out at them. When the Romans return the gesture, it is revealed that Getafix had added an extra ingredient to this particular batch of potion and the Romans now have blue tongues from drinking it. They are disqualified, and Asterix is declared the winner.

The Gauls return home for their traditional banquet. Getafix notices Asterix hasn’t brought his Palm of Victory home. Asterix explains he gave it to someone who needed it more: Gluteus Maximus. Gluteus’ apparent victory is shown to have greatly pleased Julius Caesar, who promotes Maximus to centurion and Veriambitius to tribune.

My Thoughts:

Ok, so Goscinny and Uderzo get cute here and put the Gauls in a situation where they can’t use the potion but end up coming out on top anyway. And then to top things off Asterix gives the golden laurel to the romans anyway.

I am guessing this was written and published during some year the Olympics were going on, but I didn’t care enough to go look up any data. I’ve never cared for the Olympics and nothing over the last 20 years has changed my mind. So an Asterix story about them was amusing but nothing more.

In most of these stories there is at least one page that just cracks me up. This time it is Getafix the druid telling Obelix what a well balanced diet is. It really gave this story that half-star bump up:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

12 thoughts on “Asterix at the Olympic Games (Asterix #12) ★★★✬☆

    1. The translators have done a fantastic job of making the names funny ones that we can understand now.

      The stories are so formulaic that they tell themselves, but the names, oh, they must have spent a lot of time coming up with funny names for each book 😀

      Liked by 2 people

    1. so he was Getafix in your version?
      I’ve sussed out the following:
      the original druid was called Panoramix in the french releases
      In the pre-2004 english releases, the druid was Magigimmix.
      In the post 2004 english releases (which retranslated the whole series), the druid was now called Getafix.

      I really liked finding out these little tidbits 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Now I’m wondering if there is a difference between US and Canadian editions. That would figure, wouldn’t it? Bollux up the whole situation to make it even more confusing…

          Like

          1. I think the version I read most recently was a 3-in-1 book published by Papercuts. I don’t know if it was a totally new translation or what. I do know that as a kid his name was always Getafix and when I was reading Panoramix I didn’t register who they were talking about.

            Liked by 1 person

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