Alright, so every 4 years, we all gather around our televisions for 2 weeks, watch amazing athletes butterfly, handspring, pike, sprint, run, jump, spike and even putt their way into our hearts and onto the medal podium. For two weeks, we are glued to Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Usain Bolt who all made their way to gold, silver and bronze and into history books setting numerous records. The modern games started in 1894 in Athens, Greece, the birthplace of the games waaaaay back when people wore togas, drank wine like it was water and wore leaves in their hair. These days there are over 11,000 athletes competing in 28 different sports, 42 disciplines of each, totaling over 300 events. Let’s be honest, the majority of us couldn’t name half of the events and quite frankly, none of us care about keirin cycling (I’ll get to that later, my apologies if you are huge keirin fans). Swimming, Gymnastics and Track and Field are the most watched and the only ones most people can name at least 5 competing athletes…Soccer and Volleyball round out the top 5. The thing though, especially this year, I’ve noticed that the stories that are coming out of Rio are overshadowing results and accomplishments, which is rather unfortunate, but terribly great to blog about. So as I light my own torch, and salute the rings, let the games begin!
Opening ceremonies are LONG…too long. The host country puts on a song and dance flashing every element of their culture in the first hour or so. Rio did just that, under that giant Jesus statue, rolled out Carnivale right from the start. Then enter, Gisele Bundchen…she’s stunning, really…I can’t even say one bad thing. I’m extremely jealous and there’s nothing I can do about it. She has her own moment, a 5-minute runway walk, which I swear seemed like an hour. At first I was like, seriously? Why does she need yet another runway to walk down? Why is this even relevant to the games? Then I find out it’s her last walk, she’s retiring, she’s from Brazil…etc…..fine, I get it…sorta. Then there’s some more colors and dancing and then the Parade of Nations begins. It’s always so organized and everyone is so excited and usually wearing the most non-athletic attire…which never made sense to me, whatever. The nations with the most athletes get the most applause and cheers and if you are one of the two athletes from Bhutan, you just ride the coattails of the nation before you because no one knows where you even are on the map. Sorry, I know, those two athletes deserve to take in the games from start to finish, I apologize for raining on their parade. The rings are shown, the flag is raised and the giant citronella candle is lit…er, I mean torch. The games can officially begin. First up, swimming.
Let’s get diving out of the way first…the pool turned green. At first no one knew why, logically speaking, it had to be chemical related, however was not even considered to be an answer as it literally happened overnight. It’s not like a giant whale took a piss in the pool and turned it green. The thing that gets me the most is that when they finally concluded it was a chemical issue, they just kinda left it alone as it wasn’t harmful to the divers. They left the pool green. In fact, some of the divers didn’t mind the green pool as it helped them differentiate the water from the sky during their dives which improved entry into the water. Most were calling it the swamp and some were disgusted by it. They did however, finally drain it and refill it because synchronized swimmers actually need to see each underwater, as do the judges. Good LORD. The pool is green…that’s reason enough to drain it, end of story. China won the majority of the diving events as they have in previous years. No shock there.
Now on to swimming…so, it totally looks like Michael Phelp’s mom and his fiancée have some tension, I have no idea why, just a feeling I have looking at those two. Boomer is an adorable baby and Mr. Phelps adores him more than his own medals. Ryan Lochte has blue hair, nope it’s white…he can’t speak a lick of Portuguese, which had he taken a class or two, it might have helped him during that…ahem, altercation. I’m still trying to follow the map of what happened and who lied, what’s the latest? Last I heard the cops in Rio were to blame and lied. Lochte lost his sponsorship to Speedo and swimmers have recaptured their douchebag crowns.
It was great to see Phelps choked up and teary eyed during the numerous times they played the Star-Spangled Banner, I can’t even imagine what it feels like to do that 23 times and I’m sure each one felt like the first time. That’s humbling. I respect all that he’s accomplished in this sport and he’s been so fun to watch whether he’s swimming on his own or a part of a relay. He really makes me want to work on my dolphin kick, I’m convinced he’s part sea creature the way he can stay under water for so long. He will definitely be missed!
Did you know that Simone Biles was raised by her grandparents, who are actually her parents because they adopted her? In case you missed it and were living under a rock for the last 2 weeks, I thought I would clue you in. WE GET IT!!! I don’t know why they had to beat this dead horse so much. To make matters worse, I had to hear someone randomly say “Oh, Simone, that gymnast that had an addict mom and got lucky when her grandparents adopted her”…not “Oh, Simone Biles, the Olympic gold medalist, all around gymnastics beast!” I totally blame the press for that. Then, she’s not the only one with crap press issues, poor Gabby Douglas, had to deal with her own press nightmare. First of all, no, she didn’t do as well as expected, as she was the reigning gymnastics queen…of all people, SHE is completely aware of her performance in these games. The press couldn’t help but remind her of it over and over again. Uh, hey, hello…you guys with the stupid mics and pens, SHE WAS THERE, she KNOWS…but thanks for reminding her over and over again. Then she gets crap for not putting her hand on her heart, these vultures are just at it with her, talk about kicking a dog while she’s down. Simone Biles could have farted loudly during the anthem and the press would have said, “OH, she was finally relaxed and had to let one out…HAHAHA!” Now, Aly Raisman was a great story, comeback kid vindicated after that awful tiebreaker rule that cost her the deserved all around bronze medal from 2012. She came in to do one thing and she did it, she got her medal fair and square. What’s more amazing about Aly, her parents. I think they had almost the same number of fans that she had! Those two and their reactions to every jump, leap, turn and flip, it was definitely a spectator sport just watching them. As for the men’s team, well I couldn’t name one person and the pommel horse is the dumbest apparatus, that’s all I care to say about that…however, one question, why is the men’s floor exercise without music? It’s just odd watching them tumbling back and forth. Anyhow, the women rocked as expected, Simone was crowned queen and Aly got her redemption, that’s called success. Oh and rhythmic gymnastics…I don’t know, I have nothing productive to say about it, ribbons and a ball…ok, sure.
TRACK AND FIELD
Ok, honestly, I’m mainly going to talk about Usain Bolt and a few other runners. I don’t know who pole vaulted the best or who won discus throw. Ok, back to Sir Speedy…the amount of time it takes for me to even realize I am running a race, he’s done and taking post-race pics. As I watched him this year, I couldn’t believe how many times he started taking press pics before he even crossed the finish line. A part of me thought…you arrogant prick! The other part of me is like, well if you’re that good, then the world is your oyster. I did feel bad for the other racers, I mean they knew they weren’t going to beat him, but at least let them run their race without the distraction of Mr. Bolt’s photo op. Then again, if you finished last, you probably missed the whole thing anyhow by the time you crossed that finish line. I’m not quite sure how to make any one feel great about racing against him. He is supposedly retiring and won his last gold medals…YAY! At least someone else, anyone else, everyone else can at least get a chance to get a gold medal in 2020. Thing that makes me laugh, is today’s news about how there are pics of Usain with some girl from Brazil. They are in bed; he’s got his arm around her…he has a long term girlfriend….OH. Oops. The funny part is that he tried to sell us on the fact that his culture doesn’t have an issue with multiple partners and that infidelity isn’t a concept where he comes from. I’m pretty sure if his girlfriend posted pics of herself with a half-naked man on Instagram, he would bolt. Ahem. Sorry, couldn’t help myself. What an idiot. He also claims as a famous athlete; he can’t resist temptation…finally some truth. Anyhow, enough about him, the US ladies dominated and I love that story about the runner that got injured mid race and with the help of another racer, was able to cross that finish line. That’s sportsmanship at its best, totally restored some of my faith in humanity.
It looks like a kaleidoscope…soooo many colors, changing formations at a constant rate. I wasn’t sure if I was high, or should have been high on some form of psychedelic drug. I was so dizzy after a while I had to just listen to what was going on. Then the athletes come back out, in a less than organized fashion than when they walked in, waving to the crowd. It’s weird, a lot of the big names went home already, the first timers are still there, the medalists are donning their new bling and the underachievers are grinning and bearing it. You can always tell them apart from the rest. You guys aren’t fooling anyone. Simone got swamped by other athletes to take selfies with her, no joke, there was literally a line of them from all nations. Brazil then says farewell and introduces Japan, the next host. They come out with their song and dance and that flag is also raised. Then Super Mario showed up…I mean, the Prime Minister of Japan dressed as Super Mario…as strange as that sounds, it was actually pretty neat. Jimmy Fallon said it best last night, “Sure, after all the water problems they had in Rio, now a plumber shows up!” Well said Jimmy, well said. After all that, the large OFF candle is extinguished and we all can go back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Alright, as we bid farewell to these Olympic games, I have to say I learned more about the athletes and their lives rather than focus on their athletic abilities. It’s’ like stating the obvious as for why they are there, they are great athletes…but this year they all came with baggage that was seemingly more fun for the press to follow. Bob Costas is still amazing; he is always so flawless. I learned a few new things this year, like the results of keirin cycling isn’t what you think it is and that I may never actually understand anything that is going on in that sport. I also learned that the hardest part of the pentathlon is that the athletes don’t know what horse they are riding until that day or the night before. That definitely made for some blooper reel moments! I’ve never seen so many people thrown from their horses like that! Yikes! I also learned that when traveling to a foreign country, no matter what they say, green water is not acceptable and that learning the language is a good idea. I look forward to 2020 in Tokyo, knowing the event results before they air on prime time due to the time difference…oh wait. I have a huge amount of respect for all the athletes that competed in these games or any for that matter. A combination of passion, drive and discipline is required to master their sport and then to compete with the best of the best is just something I am in awe of. Congratulations to all the Olympians, see you in Tokyo!