Tuesday, August 16, 2016

This (Non) Sporting Life: Olympics Highs and Lows

Hi there! Welcome to another installment of a recurring feature here on this blog that I call This (Non) Sporting Life. It's a blog post about sports written by a guy who knows very little about sports. 

That would be me. Hi, I'm Dave-El and I have a gold medal in inertia. I would get up to show it to you but you know.


Once more, the Summer Olympics in Rio have captured my attention. I really did not have a lot of expectations about this year's events. Mostly the drumbeat of bad news out of Rio kind of dampened my enthusiasm a bit. However, once the events themselves actually got underway, we've seen a demonstration of extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. Any Olympics is about the best in the world doing their best on a world wide stage while setting and breaking records. But this years' crop of athletes really seem to shine. Yes, I'll indulge in a bit of patriotic pride in noting a lot of that is coming from right here in the good ol' United States of America! Woo-hoo!

There are three particular Americans who have epitomized for me the high points of Olympic achievement.

Simone Biles
I don't think gravity works on Simone. I don't think Simone works at throwing herself into the air, I think she has to concentrate on walking on the Earth like regular people. On the mat, that's when she can relax, give in to her natural state and fly. Watching this wonder doing gymnastics is astonishing. To be blunt, watching even a mediocre talent do gymnastics is astonishing to me; I'm a guy whose most athletic endeavor is reaching for the remote control. Then to see someone like Simone Biles just be better than everyone, that's just... wow. And from all reports I've heard, she's really a nice person. With her Olympic success, she has been described as the next Michael Phelps or some similar comparison. I saw someone on Twitter who put it better: Simone Biles... is the first Simone Biles!

Michael Phelps
And speaking of the man himself. At 31 years, Michael Phelps is OLD in Olympic years. Given his long career and his successes in the past, I don't think anyone would've cared if Michael just stayed in contention, gave a good effort, didn't embarrass himself or his legacy too bad. Well, no one would've cared except Michael Phelps. The man came into the 2016 Olympics to WIN and win he did, scoring phenomenal gold medal victories. Phelps has said this is it, his last Olympics. There is a still a human beneath that athletic frame and Michael has said every inch of it hurts. It's hard to know when to quit in athletics and harder still to go through with it. But if Michael Phelps is true to his word, then there can be no finer finish for his swimming career that these Olympics. But then, we thought the same about London 2012, didn't we? 

Katie Ledecky
OK, everything I said about Simone Biles, just repeat all that about Katie Ledecky. Except Ledecky doesn't hide her defiance of gravity under cover of gymnastics, she hides it in swimming events. Look at her! She's not swimming through the water. She's flying through it! How does she do that? Is she secretly Aquaman's daughter?

While the actual athletics at the 2016 Summer Olympics have been of the highest caliber, there have been some low points. 

The host city of Rio de Janeiro had a number of problems which I document here. Among those problems was rampant crime. Unfortunately, crime targeted some of the athletes. American swimmer Ryan Lotche and some of his teammates were held up a gun point. Thankfully no one was hurt; the thieves took their wallets and ran. It must have been quite frightening because it made Ryan's hair turn white.

I'm being handed a bulletin that informs me that Ryan's hair was already that color.

Speaking of color, some of the Olympic swimming pools turned green which I assume was some kind of tribute to Brazilian rain forests and...

I'm being handed a bulletin that informs me that no, the pools are not supposed to be green. Apparently some kind of algae problem that is particularly resistant to chlorine, fluoride, bleach, scrubbing bubbles and voodoo. So, not good.

As we mentioned before, the waterways around Rio are filled with crap which is not an euphemism. It means actual crap or shit if you will. At least one person got sick with dysentery after a kayak event.

I'm being handed a bulletin that informs me that I will not be handled any more bulletins which is great because it's just me in here. I mean, what the hell?  Where have these things been coming from?

OK, that's that for this post. Until next time, remember to be good to one another.

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