Self-important bitching aside, as expected, the majority of my Olympic watching so far has been gymnastics. I watched a tiny bit of fencing, rowing, and volleyball. Oh, and some swimming, but not really 'cause I wanted to.
- Fencing. WTF? How the hell is anyone supposed to figure out who scored without just waiting to see one person's score increase? Here's how most rounds in fencing go, at least as far as the women are concerned, all in the course of about a second and a half: go signal, a couple swipes from each side, a horrifying scream or two, round over.
- Olympic and world records: fucking meaningless. Especially in the pool. Every fucking event a record is broken. Tonight, over the course of a two-part semi, one guy lost the world record to a guy swimming in the first half and took it back in the second. Gorram meaningless. Each and every one of us could hop in the pool at the Olympics and come out with at least one record, which would be shattered immediately thereafter.
- Seriously, speaking of swimming, I am just sick of it. Why even bother with Michael Phelps' events? He's gonna win. Okay, okay, that first relay was pretty cool and not exactly a gimme. But the rest? C'mon. Like tonight, with the 4x200m relay where the Americans just crushed everyone else? Stop fucking wasting time and get back to gymnastics, you assholes.
- I like all of the attention paid to the French team saying they were going to crush the Americans in that 4x200... Is there anything less threatening than French shit-talking? Check my record; I'm not even one of those spouting-off-at-the-mouth "cheese eating surrender monkeys" morons, but guys, shut it down before, well, that ends up happening.
- Interviewers: after every single fucking race, quit asking the athlete "What happened out there?" There are only two answers necessary in the athlete's repertoire. Winner's answer: "I was faster than everyone else." Loser's answer: "I wasn't fast enough." Obviously make the necessary changes for a relay event.
- Speaking of relays, I love how the first relay that Phelps was involved in, the black guy was all but ignored when it came to camera action and interview time.
- Also in the relays, I just love how they (commentators, interviewers) talk a bunch of shit about how it's all about team and teamwork and blah blah... But all they care about is Phelps's march to the record.
- I don't really care if Phelps gets the record or not; the guy is obviously just stupid good either way. I was reading earlier today how his daily diet is 8,000-10,000 calories, a lot of it crap that would kill most of the rest of us if consumed in mass quantities. All that and he doesn't have an ounce of fat on him. I almost wish he'd just get a damn silver or something finally just so that they would quit talking about the record and move on to their next abomination.
- The human interest stories, stories about pandas, etc.: also cutting into gymnastics time. Knock it off (yeah, I know, gonna happen real soon now...).
- First off, how can anyone talk about "women's" gymnastics with a straight face? So many of them are kids, and most looking younger than they really are. At best I can call it girl's gymnastics, but women's? Nuh-uh. I am more of a woman than a lot of those girls ever will be and that's messed up.
- Probably the oldest competitor in girl's gymnastics is one on the German team who is in her fifth Olympics, meaning she's at least 16 years old. Yes, that would mean at age zero she was competing in her first Games. You don't think it's possible? Have you seen Shawn Johnson on the beam? You can't tell me it's totally implausible that when she was born she was spit out right onto the beam. "Get to work, kid." Or really, she could have been born on any apparatus with how ridiculously good she is. I've taken to calling her "Mr. Automatic." Not really flattering, especially for a 16-year-old girl, but it fits. Oh, and now that I'm talking about this, the thought of a baby doing a routine on the uneven bars is a pretty hilarious image, and I'm picturing the baby doing an awesome job in case you're keeping score at home.
- Back to the one who's in her fifth Olympics... She's actually 33. The only bona-fide woman in "women's" gymnastics. She's competing in the vault finals if you need her. And I guarantee you that every other girl on her team calls her "mom." Plus, in real life, she actually is a mom.
- If they weren't wasting time with some of the events we can just take for granted or the stupid stories just to justify the existence of many of their producers they would have time to show at least a couple other countries' events in gymnastics. Aside from the American girls and the Chinese children, I think I saw maybe one or two Russians perform on an apparatus and a single Romanian in the finals.
- Since I brought it up, yeah, we've gotta talk about the Chinese girls. There is no way some of them are 16 or even going to be 16 sometime this year (as the rules go, and we know the Olympics are real big on following rules). One of them is easily 11 or 12 at best, maybe 13. You know which one I'm talking about. I know that there are a couple of "yeah buts." Yeah, but they're gymnasts -- gymnasts are always tiny and look way younger than they really are. Yeah, but they're Asian gymnasts, too -- Asian girls and women always look way younger than their real age. Still, I gotta call bullshit like everyone else. Keep in mind that I know what I'm talking about; thanks to the Japanese I've seen plenty of young Asian girls in the past few years so if anyone can figure it out it's me.
- And even though there was that one girl who looked extremely young(er), I didn't really appreciate the announcers continually referring to her as things like "the little one." There's lots of "little ones" out there; Shawn Johnson is 4'8" if you need her. Granted, a lot of the girls out there don't look like they just finished preschool, but the kid has a name for fuck's sake. Pretend you're professionals and use it.
- Just so you don't think I'm only focusing on the girls, I did watch as much of the men's finals as I could last night. Those guys are simply fucking amazing. On top of being completely mind-blowingly ripped, the shit that they accomplish with their strength... Damn.
- After one Japanese guy had a pretty lousy routine, the cameras caught him laughing and smiling a few minutes later. One of the announcers said something like "I never like to see that at the Olympics. Not after you've just had a routine like that." Look, I know it's the Olympics, and it's a big deal. I know it's the pinnacle of many of the sports that are represented at the Games. Furthermore, I'm not, and never will be, a former Olympian like some of these burnout announcers. But Jesus, it's fucking sports. It's not life and death. It's not like losing means you lose the cure for cancer. Oh, and god forbid any of them should have any fun out there, especially considering that for most it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing, maybe twice or more if you're double-plus good. If they do shitty and want to laugh it off, let them, and shut the fuck up bitter former Olympian.
- One more thing that I find really obnoxious: when girls are doing their uneven bars routine, why the fuck is there so often a coach standing there right by the bars watching her? Isn't that distracting to her? Like I always see Nastia Liukin's dad doing this. Dude, I know, you won a gold medal in gymnastics. Are you gonna do the routine along with her? Then sit the fuck down. The kid's got enough pressure as it is. Watch the film later or something.
- Bela Karolyi: awesome. He is just fun to watch. I think my favorite thing about him is how sometimes Costas will ask him a question and he'll just ignore it because he's got something else he wants to say. You could also tell by his body language and tone of voice just how bummed he was that the American girls didn't win tonight. There was one point where he was away from the desk and Costas pointed out that Karolyi would be back momentarily and you just know Karolyi was off camera hitting the sauce. And I love how he got in one last line about the Chinese girls and how "It's too bad they're all underage."
- I am pretty sure that with some of the maneuvers that those gymnasts perform they are actually turning themselves inside out (watch Johnson's beam routine for an example that just astounds me every single time where some does some kinda backflip upside-down somersault or some shit).
- Before I get into my last section, one more thing: why are artistic gymnastics over with so early? I mean like the girl's team all-around finals is one of the marquee events if not the marquee event... Why is it in the first week? You don't see the free skate in the first week during winter. Come to think of it I don't know why I would want to wait another week, but it just seems dumb from a scheduling perspective to me.
Anyway, more than anything I just feel bad for our girls. Of course, I pretty much feel bad for anyone who doesn't get gold in just about any event. I mean, unless they're some kind of prick or something; then it's just funny. But these people go out there and do shit that virtually no one else could do no matter how hard any of us tried, and somehow they come away feeling like losers for coming in second or whatever? That's fucked up. It's worse with gymnastics, though, where one simple mistake gets amplified beyond belief. Pretty much like skating, actually. I don't know why I have to latch on to the hardest to watch, most excruciating events at each Olympics. Ones that always end with young girls crying nonetheless.
Understandably, I feel worst for Alicia Sacramone. I can't really figure out why but I think she's my favorite on the team (and it's not even completely creepy for me -- for a change -- since she's 20). Relax, we're definitely not talking Sasha level here, but this is as close as it gets for these Games. It's the same as any other Summer Olympics though; I don't have the same zeal for them as the Sasha Olympics (not that you could tell from this post), but going back probably a couple decades (fuck... I'm old) every time the Summer Games are around I always latch on to one girl and she's always a gymnast. Well, who the fuck else am I gonna latch on to? A basketball player? Volleyball player? Please. They are mostly so tall as to be completely useless to me.
But yeah, this year, it looks like Alicia is the lucky one. I like how, with the understandable exception of post-beam tonight, she always looks like she's having fun out there. Obviously it does not hurt matters that she's a good-looking girl with a gymnast's body. Plus she has a cool name. And you gotta like the balls play of trying to do that mount for your beam routine. Yeah, the judges aren't gonna like it when it goes awry, but I still think that oughta count for something, especially when no one else tries it (or at least, as far as I know, since I got to see all of six beam routines). Sure, it's the Olympics and if you're gonna do it you gotta hit it, but still. At my Olympics things will be different. Anyway if anyone knew about this blog which they don't, I'm sure it would be an awesome consolation to Alicia to know that Random Asshole Blogger has got her back.
Sorry, Alicia. I know you'll pretty much blame yourself for quite some time, which is understandable but still sucks, but win or lose it was a team effort out there. And didn't you know that "team" is all about Michael Phelps's pursuit of eight gold medals in a single Olympics?