Sunday, August 12, 2012

End of the Olympics.....

I have been a fan of the Olympics ever since I can remember. Gymnastics has always been a favorite (shocker, I know), and when I was 11 years old, I wrote in to the local paper about a thousand times asking how one went about becoming an Olympic swimmer. (It was the one thing I thought I was pretty good at.)

I've missed some seminal Olympic moments. I was away at a student council summer camp in 1976 when Nadia Comaneci scored the first perfect 10 in Olympic gymnastics. I remember thinking, "Who?" (Then scoring a 10 became pretty standard, so the all-knowing people in charge changed the scoring system so that not only could no one ever get a perfect score again, most people [including those with doctorate degrees] have a difficult time understanding it.) The 1984 Olympics are probably the reason I became a teacher. Sweet Girl was born right before the Olympics started, and I lamented the fact that I had to go back to work and couldn't watch the Olympics all day long. The seed was planted for getting a job where I could have the summer off. Theoretically. When the Olympics came to Atlanta in 1996, I was chosen to be a teacher-advisor to the Dream Team, the teenagers who served as ambassadors for the Olympics in Atlanta. Most of the events were held within an hour of my home. And I DIDN'T EVEN TRY TO GET TICKETS.

This summer I was away for the first week of the Olympics, which was naturally when the gymnastics events took place. I caught some highlights, watched some routines online, saw a few replays. Here are some of my personal observations about the Olympics of 2012, based on my very limited opportunities to watch.

  • The Russians are very poor losers in gymnastics.
  • McKayla Maroney's expression on the podium after winning the silver medal is priceless. I would be inclined to take her to task for it, except for the fact that she has jumped on board and is making fun of herself about it.
  • Image from
  •  I watched a few swimming events just because there are SO MANY ties to UGA among the Olympic swimmers. Several of them are former, current, or future UGA swimmers, where there is a huge college swim program behind a legendary coach. One of our newest gold medal winners may be feeling the vibes I've been sending her way to sign with Georgia. Oh, but she has to finish high school first.
  • The Warrior Princess and I exchanged a few text messages the other night about what should count as sports. She voted against the "ribbon twirlers" (rhythmic gymnasts), although after watching a couple of their routines, I found their timing and balletic moves very entertaining. I suggested the equestrian events were suspect because, after all, you don't get ready to run a track and field event and discover that your tennis shoes are having a bad day. You don't fall off the uneven bars because your grips balk before a crucial move.
  • I saw one poor dude from a country whose name I didn't catch in one of the rowing events. Apparently he had never been IN ONE OF THOSE BOATS until two weeks before the Olympics. Seriously? What do they do, go out to a paving crew working on the highway and say, "Hey buddy, you're coming with us to represent your country in the Olympics"? The dude in question crossed the finish line during a commercial, I think. 
  • I find women's boxing and women's weightlifting a little eerie. Call me sexist.
  • Water polo reminds me of an 8th grade student I had when I was teaching middle school. I asked in class one day if anyone knew anything about water polo, and this quiet kid spoke up from the back of the room. "It's just like polo, only they ride seahorses." Class was over for the day because the teacher could not stop laughing.
  • I like watching beach volleyball, when I can stop hating on the athletes for their bodies. One of our players, though, had to call a medical timeout because her feet were numb from cold. Either we had the SUMMER Olympics in an inappropriate location, or perhaps they need to make it permissible for the beach volleyball players to wear shoes.
  • I would have watched more track and field (and swimming too, for that matter) events if I could have known when I was watching one of a gazillion heats and when I was watching a contest for an actual medal.
  • When I was going to camp as a youngster, we did something called "water ballet" that they now call synchronized swimming. I couldn't watch it without laughing.
  • Synchronized diving, however, was totally worth watching.
  • We watched part of the women's marathon race. And I don't know why.
  • I also watched a little of the women's mountain biking race yesterday. That course CANNOT TOUCH the mountain bike trails over here in our little state park. Let's see those women climb THOSE hills and not throw up at the top.
  • I cannot bring myself to watch sports that are heavily populated by professional athletes, like tennis and basketball. I know, I know, other countries subsidize their athletes and raise them from the crib to compete, supporting them financially as well, but the U.S. basketball team? Really? 
  • Hubby and I were discussing power walking (I think they used to call it "speed walking" a long time ago, unless they are two different sports) the other day. I thought it had gone away, but the Warrior Princess told me it was going to be on television the next morning at 4:00 AM. (I did NOT, as she suggested, set my alarm.) That one kills me, because it's a race, yet you get penalized if you go too fast. The Warrior Princess wanted to know if everyone went the same maximum speed, did all the races end in 8-way ties? Okay, I just did a little "research," and apparently one of the races is about 30 miles in length. I'll stop making fun of them now. (One commenter on the video said, "I haven't walked that way for 30 miles since trying to find a restroom at Disneyland." Now that's funny right there.)
And now I'll allow myself a little while to grieve and look forward to the Winter Olympics in 2014, but they don't have the same punch for me that the Summer Olympics do. In the meantime, there's football, gymnastics, baseball... The cycle continues.

Have a good week!

1 comment:

Lilith said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought the Russians were sore losers in gymnastics.