Anna, who never watched TV or read non-sporting magazines, hardly noticed. As a long-distance runner with serious Olympic hopes, she rarely had time for anything but sweating and rarely used anything more sophisticated than all-in-one shower gel.
But Anna, light-haired, light-figured and with enviable skin, began to receive makeover and sponsorship offers. The PR bonanza of a pun translatable almost worldwide had finally entered Olympic arenas, and eye motifs cropped up everywhere from stadium architecture to crowd mascots. Everyone from opticians to meteorologists rode the theme to publicity: 2020: Year of the Eye.
Under the gaze of the world and the strange, stylised stare of the ubiquitous cyclopian motifs, the Games began. And everywhere, event after event and country after country, eyes only widened in shock as the unthinkable happened again and again. Unpredictability took over as the hallmark of the 2020 Games.
As day after day broke all bounds of probability, people began to ask questions: Steroids? Cough medicines? Hyperoxidation? Bribes? Or sabotage? Something must account for this. Someone must explain it.
Anna ran well, both in the 10K and the half-marathon. Jealously she eyed those whom she regarded as her nearest competitors... outran them... achieved two personal bests... but failed to overtake two or three completely unknown rivals. She took bronze in both events, and joined the ranks of the desperately disappointed.
The Olympic Committee had already called in medical experts, sports investigators, even forensic scientists to seek some kind of solution to the puzzle: lesser athletes suddenly, comprehensively routing the elite. Blood, urine, sweat, even tears underwent higher-level testing than ever before.. with no result.
Until finally, months later, a hyphotherapist came forward. I work within the law, she insisted. I simply encourage positive visualisation and high pain tolerance. I help people. Investigators observed her at work, and confirmed that she did nothing illegal, but also that nobody else could replicate her results—or even outperform placebos. She had made a fortune; she retired a rich woman; and by next summer, sporting results returned to normal patterns. Anna won gold four years later.
With the close of 2020 the wordplay lost relevance and the adverts expired; even the cosmetic innovation that had begun it all, slid rapidly out of fashion. People in general remembered very little of the Year of the Eye.
Only athletes would always remember: 2020—Year of the Hypnotist.