At the onset of the Olympics in July, personally, there wasn’t just one person that solidified the experience for me. There wasn’t one breakout star amongst the profiles early on that made me want to watch. Back in 2008, the hype of Usain Bolt just made the Olympics all of that and more. Michael Phelps launched himself into stardom and the opening ceremony in Beijing was all of that and then some more.
Then came London.
These London games, as GOP candidate Mitt Romney was so apt to point out were marred with security challenges. And 40 years after the horror of the 1972 games, and Londoners still remembering the bus bombing in their own city, let’s be honest, a security gap is a real problem.
And then its London.
There are no sandy beaches on which beach volleyball will be played in 80 degree weather, and there will be no grand cityscape backdrop for which one can easily recognize. London is a typical ancient European city known for it’s narrow and winding streets, and cloudy and misty days. It’s a destination city, but for all of the wrong reasons as to why you’d want to go there to relax on your summer vacation.
And still this year, we’re hearing reports about how much the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is in bed with the sponsors of the Olympics. So much so that athletes can only appear in Olympic sponsor approved advertisement lest they risk a stiff penalty or fine. Even so much so, local Londoners are coming under fire when they try and show their city pride and Olympic pride by doing some sort of image of the Olympic rings and they’re forced to take it down or risk a penalty or fine. Worse still, Visa is the only credit card accepted in the Olympic Village. One report I heard on NPR said just to buy a drink from a pop machine, the reporter couldn’t even use cash, but had to have a Visa card. And there was a report leaked by the UK Daily Mail about the horrid living conditions some of the cleaners that traveled all the way to London just to make some money.
Actually, I was urged to write on the Olympics early last week, but I realized I was bored. I was bored by the milquetoast stories and bored even still by the vanilla events. From skeet shooting to archery, these were all events that quite bored me. It was like watching Walter Mondale and John Kerry duke it out for a Democratic nomination—just boring.
Ryan Lochte, aka B-rad from Malibu’s Most Wanted provided some color to the monochromatic events with his trademarked “Jeah” that garnered tweets from Lil’ Wayne and the rest of the hip hop community just gave the good ol’ side eye. Lochte, the self-proclaimed frat boy of the USA swimming team, was the main rival of Phelps and even though Phelps had a slow start, clearly he’s the main event with a Lochtean side-show attraction.
Phelps, by all accounts, is the greatest Olympian ever with a record 22 medals. However, look at how many events he’s participated in over the years. Swimming is one of those sports that has many events to medal. Not diminishing what he’s accomplished, I just personally think he had the privilege of doing it in the right sports field. In endless round robin tournaments, how many events does basketball get a chance to medal in? One, right? Okay. Just making sure.
Then there’s Gabby Douglas who won gold in the team and in the individual all around competition. Her dazzling smile and ability to light up a room helped prompt her to immediate fan-fave status. Not to mention that the USA women’s gymnastic team was on mark for a gold medal, the first since 1996. Yes, some got caught up on her hair and what she was doing with it, but she’s 16, I think there is more important things to worry about.
It wasn’t until the track and field events began last Friday that the Olympics became, well, Olympic. I don’t know what it is about the electricity that the track produces, but without fail it does. Perhaps it’s the adrenaline rush that the viewer shares with the runners, or maybe it’s the skin tight clothing that shows every curve and every bulge that gives viewers of all genders something to gawk at.
At the time of this publishing, I’m sure the whole world will know who the fastest man and woman in the world is in the 100, 200 and 400 meter events and for the most part, all of the predictions were right.
On a personal note, catch me in 2016 at Rio De Janeiro. Who’s going with me?!