[By Nic Lindh on Thursday, 19 August 2004]
Have been spending a lot of time watching the Olympics over the last few days. Lots of fun, even though I must confess to utterly failing to see how some of these sports became Olympic events. Seriously, softball? Beach volley ball? Doing dumb shit in a river with a canoe?
Fine and upstanding things to occupy your time with, surely, but Olympic events? Is there no end? Will every sport known to man become an Olympic event? Dammit, if doing dumb stuff in a river with a canoe is an Olympic sport, why not croquet? Why can’t croquet get any respect?
Darn those snobs in the Olympic Committee.
The two highlights so far for my money have been swimming and gymnastics. When it comes to swimming, the Australians have been kicking massive tail in the pool, and it makes one wonder if there’s some sort of national Australian subconscious thing at work here … “The next time somebody puts us on a boat and deports us we’ll bloody well swim right back, matey! No worries!”
The gymnastics competitions so far have been sublime, both the men’s and women’s. In gymnastics you have what could be called Ultimate Athletes, people who have been drilling their bodies so hard and with such single-mindedness of purpose that they can do things human beings simply should not be able to, and can do it over and over again with an eerily machine-like precision that is still full of grace.
Add to that the incredible pressure of performing these acts–which require such massive focus and concentration and utterly push the envelope of human ability–in a stadium in front of judges, said minute or so of performance being the end result of a lifetime of discipline and sacrifice and you can screw up completely and it will all have been for nothing. One tiny fraction of an inch misstep or just a microsecond’s lapse of focus and it will be a complete disaster. And there they are, sucking down their nervousness and fear and going out there and–mostly–triumphing.
At the same time, while watching women’s gymnastics, I wonder what is going on with their makeup? It’s completely understandable that you want to present a good front to the judges, and perhaps you’ll go a little overboard with the eyeliner just to make sure it looks good from a distance. Sure.
But the whore-glitter? Why do these women sprinkle their cheeks and hair with glitter? Are the judges ’70s pornstars?