|Going for the Gold|
|July 28, 1996|
Every four years life stops, and all the world comes together for a single event. That's right, Bill Clinton skipping lunch is a pretty big deal. But also occurring about the same time is a thing called the Olympics. The Olympics are all about a lot of talk, and a lot of pomp. And two of the things that I hate the most in athletics is too much talk, and too much pomp. Take away the talk and the pomp, and all you have is a bunch of sports that no one really cares about. Let's face it, if it wasn't the Olympics, would an average person really care about gymnastics, or platform diving, or even track and field? Hell no, once the Olympics are over, you won't see Donovan Bailey, or Kerri Strug, or even that one good Chinese platform diver anywhere near prime-time television. True there are some sports in the Olympics that are little more mainstream, but even they just aren't the same. Basketball is becoming banal with the Dream Team blowouts, baseball and tennis or rarely shown on TV, and boxing is played with such a completely different set a rules, that it is like watching a completely different sport. So if you like a lot of over-dramatization, a lot of Bob Costas, and a lot of commercials, then watch the Olympics. If not, I think you're better off with pre-season football. Talking about football, I always thought it would be cool if football was added on as an Olympic event. I can understand why it won't be though, I mean the US would kill the rest of the teams. And when I say kill, I don't mean these Dream Team size blowouts, I mean physically kill the other teams. Take some three-hundred pound American defensive linemen, it doesn't matter if they're pro or college, and have them rush through the offensive line of the Chinese national team, and the quarterback will definitely know what I'm talking about. On the subject of sports that should be in the Olympics, how about Golf? It's an international sport that is popular all over the globe. So why is golf excluded from the Olympics? Even I wouldn't mind watching Olympic golf. A gold medal is much more prestigious than a green jacket, and all the top players in the world would be competing for it. The only reason I can think of, is that there is no good Eastern European golfers. You can't have an Olympic sport without a Russian competing for a medal. That's the whole spirit of the Olympics- US versus the Commies. It doesn't even matter that none of the countries are communist anymore, we still hate them. A good example was the Gymnastics team all-around competition. During the whole thing you could feel the hatred between the American team and the Romanian and Russian teams. To intensify it, during each event, the television commentators would always make a point to show what the Romanians or Russians got on that particular event, so they could compare it to what the US got. It was a war out there. And do you think winning would be as important if the two closest competitors weren't Eastern Bloc countries, but say countries like Greece, or Switzerland? Of course not, we wouldn't mind losing to Greece or Switzerland, we like them. But we still have that whole Rocky IV, us against them, mind-set. And thus, that is why golf would never make it as a Olympic sport, because Communists were never good at it. This topic of nationality also brings out a whole slew of other issues. I've noticed that when you look at the individual events, such as those that make up track and field, you realize that nationalism or patriotism aren't really big motivators, as they are in team events. I remember watching the one hundred meters race, and seeing a guy from Jamaica running for Canada, a guy from Jamaica running for Namibia, a guy from Jamaica running for Trinidad and Tobago, and a guy from Jamaica running for the US. And ironically, the guy who was actually running for Jamaica, was from Norway. These people could care less who they are running for, they just want the medal and the glory. When Donovan Bailey won the one hundred meters, he attempted to quickly run to the crowd to grab a Canadian flag to proudly display as he did his victory lap. The only problem was that he wasn't exactly sure what it looked like. And when they were playing `Oh Canada,' Bailey was hearing `Hey Macarena,' which was blasting through his head-phones while on the winner's podium. Eventually runners will just stop running for countries, and start running solely for corporate sponsors. It won't be long before we see some sprinter doing a victory lap, waving a big Nike Swoosh flag with pride. Well it's time for me to do a victory lap for this Whack, so to conclude for this week, Bob Costas, like aspirin, isn't really good in large doses; Vladimir is lacking a short game; and Phil Knight better start writing the Nike national anthem before the next Olympics.
Now for this week's very special feature, Feff's top ten favorite Olympic events:
10. Triple Jump 9. Pommel Horse 8. Trapshooting 7. Rowing (double sculls) 6. Handball 5. 50-kilometer Walk 4. Equestrian (dressage, team) 3. Cycling (50-kilometer points race) 2. 200-meter Butterfly 1. Fencing (Epee)