Games of the 30th Olympi-odd

By Gus Bouchard

The Games of the 30th Olympiad (whatever the hell that means) are half over as I write this, and already there’s been enough controversy to make the Clinton presidency look like an episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.

As you might expect, my take on these issues is a little different from what you’re used to hearing. That’s why I get to be an internationally-famous cultural pundit and an oracle-like voice of reason trusted by millions.

Of course, everybody in the United States thinks gymnast Jordyn Wieber should have been able to participate in the all-around, even though two of her teammates did better than she did in the qualifying round. It is our patriotic duty to hate the rule that limits the final stage to no more than two gymnasts from any one country.

I think she should have been left off the Olympic Team altogether because she spells her name with a ‘Y.’  As in, “Hi, my name is Jordyn, with a ‘Y,’ isn’t that cute?”

“No, it’s obnoxious, you squeaky-voiced little pixie-freak marketing-ready caricature of a human being.”

Of course, if the rule didn’t exist, and the Russians or Chinese placed all their gymnasts in the All-Around, we’d be whining about how the dominant teams are allowed to own the spotlight without giving anyone else a chance.

Or we’d be watching something else.

For once there’s a rule in the Olympics that creates the possibility that one of the sports could generate attention and interest in more than two or three countries. God forbid.

Meanwhile, badminton (also known as “goodminton,” but only when I play it) players from China, South Korea, and Indonesia have been thrown out of the Olympics for deliberately losing matches in order to secure better seeding in the next round of the tournament.

I could understand this behavior from the North Koreans or the Russians, but are American gymnasts really that hungry?

Again, so ridiculous. Who cares if you’re losing on purpose? That’s your business. What bothers me is that they made it so obvious, hitting the birdie directly into the net or far out of bounds on the serve, and generally taking no effort to conceal the fact that they were losing on purpose.  They should have been banned for stupidity, if nothing else.

It’s like standing at the free throw line in a basketball game. If you wanted to miss on purpose for some reason, you could throw the ball awkwardly at the rim, or you could heave it into the bleachers at the opposite end of the court.
The only legitimate explanation for their actions is that they were just sick of playing badminton, which, you have to admit, would be understandable.

Meanwhile, vast numbers of people are concerned about whether the women’s beach volleyball players are revealing enough skin. I can’t understand why this is a priority. Beach volleyball is not where we’re being held back in sexualizing the athletes. There are other sports in which the women show far less skin. For example, the divers and swimmers are still in one-piece suits. Somebody needs to deal with that first, don’t you think?

Heck, in ping-pong, they wear shorts and tee shirts. And what about fencers? They’re covered from head to toe, for crying out loud! No wonder nobody watches it.

They should start calling it “fencyng.” Maybe that will do the trick.




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