London - The 2012 Olympic Games may be weeks away, but they are already feeling the effects of the European debt crisis.
A long list of austerity measures is being implemented to help the international competition survive in an atmosphere of economic chaos.
Among the biggest changes:
The Olympic torch has been replaced by the Olympic scented candle. "It's much more energy efficient, and it solves the pollution problem caused by sweaty relay runners," an Olympic spokesman said.
Instead of accepting euros or British pounds as payment for tickets and concession items, the event will have its own unit of currency, the Esperanto. "The Olympic Committee believes that when it comes to cash, we should all be speaking the same language."
The opening ceremony's "doves of peace" will be recaptured and added to the Value Meal Menu of the Olympic Village McDonald's. "International cooperation goes down a lot easier when it has a crispy batter fried crust," the spokesman said.
Parimutuel betting on all track and field and swimming races will be encouraged. "As long as we get our cut, anything goes," said the spokesman. "So smoke 'em if you got 'em, Michael Phelps."
The traditional bronze, silver and gold medals will be replaced by $100, $50, and $25 gift cards, redeemable at any Dick's Sporting Goods outlet. "Give a man a medal, and he's happy for one day. Give a man a gift card, and he could buy some cool fishing tackle," said the spokesman.
Closing ceremonies have been canceled to make room for a new international competition that will extend beyond the games. Called "Synchronized Bankruptcy," the game will use the strength of the world's top weightlifters to prop up the weakest of Europe's economies for as long as possible.
"Competition aside, few things in this world are more compelling than the sight of a 450 pound man in a singlit, with the weight of the world on his shoulders," the spokesman said.