We've got a bad case of Olympic Fever around these parts. We're junkies for the Games, whether it's watching mixed-doubles badminton at 3AM or synchronized diving with Norway. But in spite of the fandom and excitement around these games, they ain't perfect, so, in the interest of complaining, we'd like to present our Epic Fail: Olympics!
Sexism In Women’s Beach Volleyball -- Like all good Americans, I’ve been following the sporting triumphs of our historic, awesome women’s beach volleyball team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh. Walsh and May-Treanor haven’t lost a set in over a year. They’re gold medalists, heavily favored to repeat their 2004 performance and take home another gold for our country. Definitely on par in athleticism, skill and accomplishment with anyone at the games—or anyone at all. They are two of the best athletes in human history, no joke. But NBC’s sports commentators continually and obsessively focus on who they’re married to.
You can’t watch a couple sets of women’s beach volleyball without learning that Misty May-Treanor is hitched to Florida Marlins catcher Matt Treanor. And Kerri Walsh is married to volleyball player Casey Jennings. Much is made of the tape Walsh wears on her finger so her wedding ring doesn’t slip off. These facts are repeated endlessly by NBC’s sportscasters in spite of them being irrelevant to the game, as if the important thing about these two are the men they’re married to and the fact they're straight. Meanwhile, I know nothing at all about who Michael Phelps is married to, what his wife is like, how his wife feels about him swimming, etc. It’s a clear double standard, and it sucks.
I do not like to have my enjoyment of women’s beach volleyball sullied by sexism.
Judging Cry-babies: The Olympics are a time where the nations of the world are supposed to show off their greatest achievements, where the people of Earth over come together for friendly competition. Sure, sometimes judges make mistakes and sometimes Olympians can feel that they didn't necessarily get a fair deal, but they rise above it, all in the name of the Olympiad.
What they don't do is storm off in a huff in the middle of an award ceremony. What they don't do is toss their medal to the ground because they're sore about losing. What they don't do is blame someone else for "distracting" a member of their team. These are all excuses. Maybe you did get a bad call, maybe your teammate did get distracted, but that happens in all competitions. The greats rise above it, they soar past distraction and bad calls and thrive in the glory of the competition, not in the final stats.
So, to those who choose to blame others for failing to live up to whatever expectations they believe to have been hoisted upon them: You fail!
Curling--Seriously, what is this? The fact that "Curling" made its way as a Winter Olympics game tells us that people should just stay indoors during winter time, instead of making up some "sport." What were they thinking when they introduced this to the Olympics in 1998? You have a person throw an over-sized paper weight across the ice, while the other two literally shaves the way. We'd rather watch four straight hours of professional figure skating than "professional ice-shaving".
Snowboarding-Pot Controversy: 1998 was a big year for the Winter Olympics, as well as extreme sports enthusiasts around the world. This was the first year that Snowboarding was recognized as an Olympic sport, stealing the thunder of the aggressive tendency inducing X-Games. So it’s the first year of a new, exciting sport in the Olympics, and the first Gold Medal went to Canadian Professional Snowboarder Ross Rebagliati. Time to celebrate, right? Wrong. The Olympic Committee soon revoked Ross’s medal because he tested positive for THC, the drug found in marijuana.
After the committee took away his medal, there was an outcry from the public, and thankfully they eventually reversed their decision and gave the medal back. But for that brief moment, the Olympics were an epic fail. I understand, and agree, that athletes should be tested for performance enhancing drugs, but they should not be tested for recreational drugs. I mean come on, it would be MORE difficult to pull a sweet run down some fresh pow-pow when you’re high! Hand-eye coordination slows, reaction time is limited, and vision is blurred and tunneled. If anything, Ross should have been given a handicap because of his social drug experiments! No wait...new Winter Games Event; LSD Downhill Skiing. You have to make it to the bottom with the shortest time and the least amount of screaming in terror.
USOC suing ImprovOlympic - In the stupidest trademark lawsuit since the World Wildlife Fund sued WWF, the United States Olympic Committee threatened to sue small-time comedy theater, ImprovOlympic. The theater, based in Chicago and famous for unleashing Del Close's Harold improv format on the world, was forced to change their name when the USOC sent them nasty letters starting in 2001. Since 2004, the theater has had to resort to calling itself iO, which is completely vague and stripped of all its meaning. unless you're a volcanic moon orbiting Jupiter. Ya know, it's a sad world when you can use all your potential muscle to threaten someone else because they're using the same word in their name. Shame on you, Olympics, for suing a small-time, community enriching theater. Did the Olympic Committee think people were going to a place called ImprovOlympic on a Friday night expecting to see Ukrainians putting a shot, but then throw up their arms in anger leaving the theater screaming "Damn you, Olympics. Your loose intellectual property practices have tricked me for the last time."
Methinks, perhaps, no.
In a related story, the Olympics have announced today that they'll be suing the Special Olympics. If the lawsuit is won, the Special Olympics will simply become special.
President Bush at the Opening Ceremonies: Though this is a choice that can be applied to almost universally every situation Dubya finds himself in, this is particularly good, as, if you watched the opening ceremonies at Beijing, the ‘Leader of the Free World’ was alternately bored, surly, and churlish, taking off his jacket and fanning himself during the show, looking at his watch on camera, and snidely whispering out of the corner of his mouth as the Iraq delegation walked into the stadium. Come on, like he didn’t know they were going to cut to him when Iraq came out. Show a little dignity, would ya? In stunning contrast, look at Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France. Dude wore an awesome suit, was completely attentive, looked in great spirits, and is married to a supermodel. Bush, on the other hand, is married to The Joker. Seriously. Wanna see a magic trick?
Bonus Epic Win: The Croatian Water Polo Team--They deserve a gold for the 'staches alone.