Tuesday, August 12, 2008


The last couple of Summer Olympics really didn't do anything for me. I was conscious that they were going on, but my whole attitude could be summed in in the single word, "Meh."

While I am not exactly sure of the exact reason for my disillusionment, but I have the feeling that a great deal of it involves the commercialized egos that have sprung up.

And I'm not talking about the athletes -- although that idiot who wore the gold running shoes when every other Olympian was wearing standard colours shows that individual arrogance and egotism is alive and well -- but rather I am speaking of the Olympiad as a whole.

The Olympics are about amateur athletes going "Faster, Higher, Stronger" -- supposedly -- but to me everything around the Olympics has become another NBA or NFL or MLB revenue machine where sportsmanship and honour are sacrificed on the altar of the Almighty Dollar in favour of the money-generating Bad Boy attitudes and antics.

Only with funny accents.

And that's really a shame, because I have always enjoyed the Olympics.

The Beijing Games, though, have reignited my interest.

For the first time I was given the opportunity to watch the fencing team work their hearts out -- and I cheered as the American team swept Bronze, Silver and Gold in Women's sabre.

Watching tiny Montenegro's scrappy Men's Water Polo team force powerhouse Hungary into a 10 - 10 draw was as exciting and nail-biting a contest as I have ever seen; and while the USA Women's Beach Volleyball team is going through opponents like they're not even there -- they are doing it with style and they are gracious in victory.

And I shrieked loudly enough to set the dogs howling as the American swim team served the trash-talking French a heaping helping of crow in the 4X100 relay. (There may have been some popcorn tossed at the TeeVee set, too.)

It is good to enjoy the Olympics again.



ASM826 said...


NBC has a lot of video coverage available. My wife likes some of the obscure sports, and we have been watching online.

Here's the link to the 4x100 freestyle swimming relay. You're right, it makes you want to stand and cheer.


Justin Buist said...

"although that idiot who wore the gold running shoes when every other Olympian was wearing standard colours shows that individual arrogance and egotism is alive and well"

Whoa, dude! You're harshing on Michael Johnson?! The dude's squeaky clean.

LGD said...

I hope you keep enjoying it!

Shell said...

I'm enjoying the spectacle, overall.

The Men's 4x100 relay was an awesome race. I could have done without the endless shots of Phelps bellowing afterward, though. I'm sure there were other people in the venue who were just as excited about the win but can't be certain because Phelps was pretty much the only one shown.

In re: the Fencing team's triple-medaling in Women's Sabre. While I'm happy for them I wasn't happy with their behavior during the medal matches. I'd call it "Bad Girl Attitude" (to borrow from your post). I only saw the "highlights" and from what I saw there was way too much "Look At Me!" going on. Every time one of the medalists scored a point her first move afterward was to rip off her helmet so the cameras could show her face.

And the only, the only, reason Beach Volleyball is in the Olympics is because the women wear next to nothing, with the bottom half of that next-to-nothing way up their butt cracks.

Tennessee Budd said...

When they start shotgunning ChiComs as a competitive event, I might watch. Actually, not even then. I live down in a creek bottom, & the local NBC affiliate won't come in well enough to see.

Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed watching the basketball games. I wouldn't go so far as to call the American team humble or modest, but they have seemed to tone it down a few notches (which is what makes the games watchable to me). Their passing so far has been hit-or-miss, but at least they're passing the freaking ball now. That's why I think it's so inconsistent, these guys are so new to NOT hogging the ball! ^_^

Might just be my perception, granted I don't watch much non-olympic basketball.


Anonymous said...

I'm fed up with the media's romance with Phelps-just as I am with its constant playtime with a certain political candidate-but in this case, for once, I don't think Phelps is pursuing them, and that's a good thing to see.
A bad thing to see, which had me howling at the t.v. screen, was the crash and burn of the US women's gymnastic team. That was a total downer.

markadog said...

Excellent post. I learned more how we're doing in the Olympics here than I knew, and i'm interested. Might borrow a link to this post.


SpeakerTweaker said...

I'll admit I'm a bit shocked. Lotta folks on both our blogrolls have pretty much boycotted this Olympiad altogether, what with it being held in the PRC. I erroneously had you pegged in that category.

My apologies.

While I find China detestable at best, I still have seen some Olympic moments that have made me proud (some of which you mentioned).

And from a technical standpoint, the High Definition coverage has been spectacular.

Altogether a pretty good Games, I gather.


JeanC said...

I'll consider watching the Olympics again if ABC sports broadcasts it again. NBC's coverage has always been crappy, never showing enough of the other teams and only paying attention to a few of the events. Sorry, I want to see LOTS of events and I want to see more of the countries that don't have a hope of medalling, but give good performances anyways.

Then add on top the "let's see which athlete has the best hardship story" stories and there isn't enough actual coverage of events to watch.

Suisan said...

[snark] Personally, the "media moguls" don't show any of the events I want to watch. Call me a militant babe but why doesn't any network show events like Archery or Shooting? The coverage of Taekawndo and Judo is laughable and do not get me started on the lack of coverage for the Roman-Greco wrestling. I guess those sports are just too violent for NBC and other Media outlets to cover. But, oh, wait! We had a car bomb go off in Afghanistan, let's show the public the carnage there! [/snark]

Anonymous said...

Really, I think The Economist said it best. China may (or may not) become a democracy. If it does, it will be in spite of, not because of, these Games. Offering carrots for behavior tends to encourage it.

trainer said...

Thank you for watching this farce so I don't have to.

Heartless Libertarian said...

My vote for best moment (so far) has to go to the Georgia beating Russia in Women's Beach Volleyball.

Not even a medal game, but still.

bogie said...

Regarding Phelps... Doesn't anyone remember a young fellow named Mark Spitz?

Jeff the Baptist said...

"Regarding Phelps... Doesn't anyone remember a young fellow named Mark Spitz?"

Have you watched the Olympic Swimming coverage? The big reason Phelps is getting so much air time is that he just might beat Spitz's record of 7 gold medals and 7 world records in a single Olympics. Anytime Phelps name shows up they mention this.

Anonymous said...

Spitz might be better remembered had he not spent years remembering himself so very well and rubbing people's noses in it. If there were a gold medal for conceit, he would have won it hands down.

Anonymous said...

As to the comment with regard to the Olympic 'costumes' and beach volleyball, if Michael Phelps ever sneezes, the Chinese are going to be treated to an All-American Full Monty up close and personal.
Is that why we're watching him?

phlegmfatale said...

It was nice that the Americans took Gold and Silver in the individual all-around gymnastics events. The judging in general, though, seemed biased in that sport, to me.

Um, maybe the previous commenter is right about the women's beach volleyball, but I rather think if those women would be more comfortable with more fabric on, they'd be wearing it. Doing a belly-buster into the sand is probably bad enough without a soggy, sand-filled sack of terrycloth on your carcass to ratchet up the discomfort of it all. OTOH, there's been a toothsome irony about the coverage Phelps has gotten while being so *ahem* uncovered. Talk about over-exposure.