Tuesday, August 9, 2016

This (Non) Sporting Life: Summertime In Rio

Hi there! Welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, a pee-wee baseball game of a blog in an Olympic level internet. I'm Dave-El and I can stick a landing metaphorically.

This is an installment of an irregular feature I called This (Non) Sporting Life, a blog post about sports by a guy who doesn't know much about sports. Today's post is about the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

Leading up to the start of the games, the key word most associated with Rio was "rampant". As in: 

Rampant crime. 
Rampant corruption.
Rampant poverty.
Rampant sewage.
Rampant disease. 
Rampant hunger.

Apparently the criteria for selecting a host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics was "hellhole" and it appears Rio fit the bill as well as any portal to the netherworld found by the Winchester brothers on Supernatural. But what Rio lacked in actual demons, it more than made up for with rivers and harbors packed with shit. 

And I don't mean "shit" as a euphemism for random, useless stuff. I mean literal shit. Excrement. Poop. Dung. Feces. Solid waste matter. The waterways around Rio are full of it. 

Don't forget the big worry which is the spread of the Zika virus which is (here comes that word again) rampant in that part of the world. Zika is spread by mosquitoes which then can be transmitted by sex and really screw up any babies produced from said sexual encounters. It's not a pretty thing in the least and that's yet another thing to contend with down in Rio. 

But the best of the world's young athletes, constantly training in grueling pre-dawn rituals for almost all their lives, have come to this event to show what they can do and demonstrate for the world they are the best. God bless 'em for that. I just hope they don't have to get sick or die for the privilege.  

Every Olympics has to kick off with a show and a party and this year's Olympics were no different as Rio, despite a very limited budget, put together a visually dazzling show. It was also, at times, very weird. There were dudes in thongs. No, you can go look that up yourself.  

And then there was this really heavy Debbie Downer of a presentation (narrated in part by Dame Judi Dench) about how climate change is going to kills us all. 

And now its time to party! 

The highlight of the evening was a very simple but elegant display of walking in a straight line. Super model Gisele Bundsen, a native of Brazil, strode gorgeously down a half-mile catwalk along a ribbon of light to the sound of the Girl From Inpanena. It was a beautifully surreal moment. Way to go, Gisele!

After the opening ceremony, we get the Parade of Nations. Athletes from all 1,397 participating nations (well, it seems like its that many!) file through the Olympic stadium.  Below is a photo of an athlete from the Argentina branch of the Hogwarts School of Wizardry pledging her love to me in Portuguese.  

Uh oh! Looks like Gisele forgot something. 

Then it was time for the Americans! Yay! Thanks to the parade going in the order of the Brazilian Portuguese alphabet, the United States of America was designated as Estados Unidos da América and showed up way earlier in the parade than usual. NBC, covering the Olympics for nearly a century now, zeroed in on the American contingent with zealous glee.  

And stayed focused on the Americans. 

And stayed there.

And stayed there. 

And stayed...

You know, as a citizen of the greatest most kickass country in the friggin' world, I'm proud of America. But damn this was getting awkward. You could hear the faint echoes of the stadium announcer continuing to announce other countries coming into the stadium but we're still following Team USA.  

OK, Gisele going back this way now. Guess everything's cool. 

Then there was this buff bare-chested dude from the nation of Tongo whose mere appearance on television caused over 1 million instantaneous orgasms in women all over the world and at least 17 spontaneous conceptions.  

Wait! Gisele? Girl, what did you forget this time? 

As for the sports themselves, I've watched some swimming and gymnastics with my wife. She's more into this than I am  but I have to admit, watching some of these men and women push themselves to the limits of their astonishing abilities is quite inspiring.

Simone Biles, the American gymnast, seems to defy gravity in her events. Really, how does she get that high in the air? I half expected her to swoop over the arena like Supergirl or something. 

Swimmer Katinka Hosszu of Hungary smashing through the water as easily as you or I move through air was totally remarkable.  

Then I saw American swimmer Katie Ledecky whom I am convinced shares DNA with Aquaman the way she cuts through the water. I watched her race Sunday where she scored a gold medal while setting a world record. She was amazing. There was Ledecky. Then there was everybody else.

It's a shame that the dubious state of the venue and the surrounding city are so questionable. These athletes deserve so much better. And they deserve our attention and respect.  

For another take on the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, click here for a post by favorite blogger who isn't me, Ken Levine.  

That's that for today's post. Something or another will be here tomorrow. Until then, remember to be good to one another.

And now here's Gisele returning to the Olympian realm where goddesses like her dwell.

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