new Things I Ate in Cambodia: Some Olympics Observations

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Some Olympics Observations

As previously mentioned, I love the Olympics. Despite my ambivalence to the Chinese government that has so far not prevented me from spending valuable hours of my day staring rapt at people doing completely insane things in the name of athletic endeavour. Perhaps I appreciate it all the more because I am horribly, embarassingly bad at sports, the sort of kid whose sheer lack of talent stunned many PE teachers into impressed silence. Watching people attain the absolute peak of achievement at something I will never ever be able to do is interesting to me. I also enjoy: watching for horrible but interesting injuries, bitch fights, weeping men with biceps larger then my head on the medal podium, and Bob Costa's comforting, wry voice (this is what God must sound like! surely!) For all these things I watch.


- Olympic gymnastics freaks me out.

1: They are doing things with their bodies that should not be allowed in nature.

2. They all look like little girls. The male gymnasts just look like little girls who have been injected with steroids.

The big piss-fest in this current Olympics is that the Chinese teams girls are underage to compete. This matters because little girls are lighter and easier to twist into crime-against-God positions, and also because they are more fearless. Personally I don't think we should be encouraging a sport where people do suicidal shit at tender age and a Mary-Kateesque body fat ratio. That issue should be resolved before the pissing and moaning about underage athletes begins. Let's not even get into allegations of rife eating disorders, beatings from coaches, and sexual abuse.

Maybe we should.

But I am not holding my breath. Gymnastics remains fascinating to watch: human being bouncing around like coke-addicted kangaroos in sparkly leotards with the risk of imminent death cannot be anything but entertaining. I just don't know if it's right.

Also: I was amused by the sad note in the commentators voice when discussing the Romanian team: "You just can't treat athletes like you used to anymore....those kids have become so's really a shame."

The reason the Romanian and Russian teams did so well under totalitarian governments is simple: in regimes like that, if you fail, you are placed in the Box of Self Criticism and poked with sharp sticks. No one wants to be put in the box. Thus we see performance. Apparently totalitarian governments are great for producing cute little moppets who can do crazy shit on a balance beam but produce utter misery for every one else.

Good God, Enough Beach Volleyball

I get it. It is a sport that America is good at. It is also a sport featuring toned, fit young women frolicking about in bikinis. Really, I understand NBC. But do you have to play it quite so much? Do I really have to look at Kerri Walsh's gently rounded ass cheeks every time I flip on my tv? I'm heterosexual, NBC. If the IOC wanted real parity in that sport, they could at least make the men take their shirts off. Then I might tune in.

Also: as someone who has experienced the laff-fest of being blonde in Beijing, I was amused by the segment where Kerri Walsh thanks the Chinese gentleman who found her wedding ring in the sand. She hugs him, signs his hat, and (miracle) gives him a "volleyball tap" which translates into an ass slap. As she turned away, you could see a look of pure, almost transcendent joy on his face. The blonde, giant, and curiously alluring American woman had slapped his ass. World: that is the face of a happy Chinese man.

Michael Phelps: Winning Is Boring

Michael Phelps, you are a supremely talented human being. Your combination of freakish genetic gifts and unceasing, insane work ethic have turned you from ADHD kid into the best swimmer ever, an aquatic monster who knows the mysterious songs of the inky depths. According to NBC, you may very well ascend to heaven on the back of a killer whale at the end of these games, a glorious trail of Olympic medals following you.

And that would be very interesting to see. Unfortunately we have now, where you completely destroy the competition then get out of the pool and look relaxed and confident about the whole thing. Michael, that's just not the kind of drama I'm looking for in my Olympics viewing experience. Have you considered pretending you won't win, then magically winning at the very last second? Maybe getting in a slap fight with a swimmer from France? (Oh the hilarity!) Beating the shit out of a great white shark in the pool between heats? Throw me a bone here, Mikey.

Also you could probably afford ear-retaining surgery. But I'm certain many girls just love them. Or will after you invite them home to see your medal collection then realize you actually weren't lying.

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