Olympics are bad for my work ethic.

My roommate and I, like, can't stop watching.  Just a few thots:
  • Few things I've seen in the games so far can match the wondrous beauty of the China women's team doing synchronized diving.  It's like they are one person in two bodies.  Also--I'm happy Mexico landed a medal.  I was rooting for them too.
  • Michael Phelps talks like he's got cottonballs in his mouth.  My roommate, "he never closes his mouth, and it's not like he's singing along!"
  • We've been arguing about who's cuter.  She thinks Ryan Lochte (I think she's nuts) and I think Michael Phelps, despite his teeth.
  • The US women's gymnastics team is sooooo seeeeeeeeeeeerious.  They alternate between concentrating so hard they forget to smile, and looking outright pissed off.  A far cry from the sweet earnestness of Mary Lou Retton in 1984 and the playful perfection of Dominique Moceanu in 1996 (yeah, all her vids are up on YouTube).  I wonder if they could have done better if they had lightened up a little!
  • I can't help it, I really wanted China to clinch the gold in women's gymnastics, mostly because it's their home turf and because it was such a great follow-up to the men's team last night.  Plus, they are all so darn cute!  Little doll-girls!  And they brought a lot more personality and fun to the floor exercises and such.
  • Lastly, I just noticed (though I am denser than most) that silver medalists never seem that thrilled about it, but bronze medalists often are.  I realized this is because silver medalists are upset because they were in contention for the gold, while bronzes are usually just happy that they medaled at all.  How funny!
7 responses
As a child, Michael Phelps was bullied about his lisp and big ears. He probably can't help having a cotton mouth.

In the case of men's and women's gymnastics, the silver-medal teams won gold in the last Olympics or were the reigning world champion (the Japan team won gold for men's, the USA women's team was the world champion). I think whether or not silver-medal winners are content depends on where they placed at the last Olympics or most recent world championship. I know I would be happy if I gained in ranking and not so happy if I lost in ranking. It's all about expectations...

And I agree with your post title. =)

By the way, how are you?

Social psychologists have done studies on the phenomenon you observed with the silver medalists v. bronze medalists. =) It's even more heart-breaking for those swimmers who could have won gold if their fingers/arms were just an inch longer to touch the wall first.

Do you at least have Tivo? That's the only way to go with watching the Olympics efficiently! We just fast forward to the swimming and gymnastics.

Interesting that you were happy that China won gymnastics. The idea of those kids being pressured into such intense and one-sided training makes me want their system to fail. With all of that single minded focus on training for the sport, what future do they have after the Olympics or if they get injured?

It would have been satisfying for me if the girls on the US team, who seem to have a somewhat more balanced life, could have been victorious.

haha, I pretty much agree with almost all of your comments. Although, Phelps' torso scares me just a little. (I'm still convinced he's part dolphin). Does anyone else get a little teary-eyed when they play the national anthem when handing the US a gold?
Yeah of course!

"It would have been satisfying for me if the girls on the US team, who seem to have a somewhat more balanced life, could have been victorious."

It's always amuses me when people say that. It's not an unknown fact that there is a subtle media bias at work that makes the US athletes seem more 'balanced' and 'normal' (for example, how many little bio-pics have you seen where they comment that the athlete is 'just your average teen/young person'), while making athletes from other countries seem way more intense and mechanical (the "Russian machine" or the "Chinese machine"). I'm not denying the lack of freedom in the Russian and Chinese programs, but what I'm saying is that it's not as balanced as you think for the American athletes. They work just as hard, are under as much if not more pressure and stress.

There is also a major class element at work i.e. a lot of the Chinese and Russian and other athletes are from poor or modest backgrounds and cannot enjoy the same luxuries that American atheletes do. For example, many of the Chinese athletes are from the inner provinces of China and have to move to Beijing to train. Their parents can't just fly over to Beijing to see them every weekend or every month, and they sacrifice that for their children to succeed. They seem them like, once a year, which seems harsh, but that's reality when you're not affluent.