Eight random thoughts on the Olympics…
August 11, 2016I’m not a huge fan of the Olympics. For the most part, I think the purity of competition between amateur athletes – which I’ve always felt was the cornerstone of the Games – has been transformed into a jingoistic commercial behemoth comprised of professional athletes whose job it is to win medals. Nonetheless, I can’t escape watching some of the competition, some of which I love (track and field) and some of which I love to hate (see below). Here are some random thoughts on the first few days of competition:
- Beach volleyball consists of two players – and no substitutes – per team. So why is it necessary for the athletes to have numbers (almost invariably 1 and 2) in addition to their last names on their jerseys?
- The Russian Paralympic team was banned from the Games. Really? Their Paralympic athletes – the ones you would think are most likely to compete for the sheer joy of it – are part of a state-sponsored cheating program? Downright unbelievable…
- I watch diving for about 30 minutes every four years. And about the only acrobatic move I can do off a diving board is a cannonball. Yet that does not prevent me from becoming an expert at judging pikes, twists, and somersaults within 30 seconds of turning on the TV. “Did you see the Chinese diver over-rotate that entry?”
- If athletes are required to wear make-up, carry a prop, or have uniforms with sequins to compete, it shouldn’t be considered a sport. Sorry synchronized swimmers and rhythmic gymnasts, you’re terrific entertainers but don’t qualify for the medal stand in my book.
- Why are the 100m and 200m swimming races contested in four separate strokes when it’s clear that the freestyle is by far the fastest way to get from one end of the pool to the other. By that logic, we should be running the 100m and 200m dashes backwards, sideways, and hopping on one leg.
- McDonald’s is the official restaurant of the Olympics; Coke is the official soft drink; and United is the official airline. It’s a wonder that our team got to Rio at all and wasn’t horribly obese when they arrived.
- How about those Italians ranking eighth on the total medal count – with three gold – through Tuesday! Va bene!!!
- If you weren’t touched by first time Olympian and gold medal winner Ryan Held crying on the medal stand with his relay teammates when the National Anthem was played, you have no heart.