• DRINK TO THE LASSES: Notes from a Woman's College Womb
    DRINK TO THE LASSES: Notes from a Woman's College Womb
    by Mary Beth Ellis
  • Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers
    Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers
    Random House Trade Paperbacks
This area does not yet contain any content.
« Olympics Crack UPDATE: When Michael Phelps Says He Owns The Pool... | Main | On Giving Me Money »
Wednesday
Aug202008

Olympics Crack UPDATE: And On the Twelfth Day, She Ironed

Today's Olympic Crack UPDATE is sponsored by...

CollegeGal The Reader, awesome since at least June 2005

LynD The Reader, awesome since she only knows how long

Thank you kindly, ladies.  (I'm assuming here.  If you're not ladies, please don't let it stop you from giving me more money.)

Today's most important Olympic News is that I had to get some ironing done, so I settled in with my board and my wrinkly skirts and some men's volleyball.  Normally I have little patience for volleyball, which I remember in high school as this endless affair which I greatly sucked at, especially serving.  However, in grade school, I scored my life's only athletic achievement in the form of being on the best volleyball squad in our whole entire seventh-grade gym class.  Nobody could beat us.  Then they put us up against eighth-graders, and the reign came to a crashing stop.  I was, however, awarded a Blo-Pop for my horrible, horrible serving efforts.

However, in the Olympic version of volleyball, the players 1) are competent, serving the ball at like 128 miles an hour instead of five inches an hour, arcing weakly into the player directly in front of the server, and 2) there's a point every single time the ball hits the ground, whether the side doing the non-screwing-up served it or not.  BONUS.  I didn't understand this at first, and kept switching away during the timeouts to a BBC presentation of Persuasion,  which was refreshing with its closeups of dinner hams and Lyme rocks and people gazing longingly.  This kind of volleyball, though, I can handle.  The whole thing was over by the time I pressed out my interview suit jacket.

Also, in Olympics-level volleyball, when there's a substitution, there's this highly classy use of little numbers on a stick.  The replacement simply trots out to the court with the number of the player he's kicking off, and in all it's a far more seamless process than the one we used in SAY soccer, which was to tear across the field towards our future position at the whistle, screaming "JEEEEEENNNNNNNIIIIIIFEEEEERRRRRR!" "No, the other Jennifer!"

Olympics Fashion UPDATE:  Michael Phelps will see Mark Spitz's pornstache 'n' BET award-winning bling look and raise him a little splash of TOTAL NUDITY.

Gymnastics UPDATE:

-The NBC opening bumper, which heretofore has featured, complete with photos and captions, Olga... Nadia...Mary Lou!  Tonight?  Nadia.. Nadia...Nastia.  Thank you for your interest in remaing relevant, Mary Lou; however, a newer, shiner leotard is a better fit for our needs at the current time.  We have no further need of you, but we will keep your application on file should the need for a women's all-around Olympic gold medalist arise.  Please collect your Prevention feature interview and six-month supply of Turtle Wax at the door.

-A Chinese gymnast finished third on beam, largely because, as one of the commentators sighed, "Every skill, it's just not special today."  Wow.  That's just about the harshest thing I've ever heard.  This is Generation Special, coming in the wake of my age group, The Era of Eleventh-Place Trophies.  Somewhere in my parents' home is a raft of the "I'M A WINNER" buttons, which were solemnly distributed to every single child in my grade school, flung with the great earnestness of self-esteem Mardi Gras beads.

-I really could go awhile without having to hear Bob Costas say "gala" again.

-High bar bronze medalist Fabian Hambuechen stood alone in the gymnastics exhibition spotlight to great fanfare, reached up to the apparatus as the music swelled... and... then stopped the whole entire thing dead to have the tension wires readjusted for about ten minutes.  Don't tell me my people don't know how to gala.

-I am aware of how hideously non-PC this makes me, but to this point, my absolute, hands down, very, very favorite Olympic Moment consists of listening to a French announcer attempt to pronounce Jonathan Horton's name.  The second absolute, hands down, very, very favorite Olympic Moment was watching, for a full thirty seconds, close-up footage of an Italian gymnast named Igor hocker into his hands so as to make championship caliber hocker-chalk paste.  I taped the whole thing to watch with a cup of cinnamon tea on bad days, it was so inspiring.

-Apparently, in Shawn Johnson's perfect world, a beam routine is accompanied by recorded whistling.  I really, really hope that the gymnasts were not permitted to choose their own music for the gala, but then again, this is the same person who thought it might be an excellent idea to incorporate the delicately lyrical sound of ambulance sirens in the music of her floor routine.

-Nastia Liukin commits the Perfect Olympic Ovulation Sports Storm by performing a balance beam routine to the pop version of "Once Upon a December," which Tara Lipinski used as her short program music when she won the figure skating gold in 1998.  True to the Sport of Katerina Witt, her performance is 90% armwaving before she even gets on the beam. GET ON THE BEAM, NASTIA.  YOU MUST WORK FOR OUR CONTINUED APPROVAL.

-The utter highlight of the all-around aftermath was watching Nastia make it all the way to thirty full seconds of being the Olympic champion before becoming an utter disappointment as a role model for The Kids.  After she won, she attempted to call her mother to tell her the news; apparently Mom felt more comfortable wandering the streets of Beijing at twilight rather than watching her daughter attempt to fulfill a lifelong dream.  So Nastia tried to call her, aaaaaannnnd-- Mom's not picking up.  America's Sweetheart:  "S---."

Nastia, btw, has an endorsement deal with AT&T, and that was one magnificent ad about signal coverage, right there.

SILVER MEDAL OF THE DAY: After an awful lot of witchface at these Games upon WINNING a SILVER MEDAL, Sally McLellan of Australia, my second-favorite nation, officially joins Paul Wylie, Jonathan Horton, and Liz Manley in my Pantheon of Awesome Placers.  Screaming, jumping all over the track, shocked with herself.  Definitely not glaring at the back of the winner's head during the medal ceremony, possibly spitting gum into ponytails.

COMMENTARY QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We're seeing some critical ball handling here."

so tired, so very very tired at:  mbe@drinktothelasses.com

tip the bartender

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (10)

Hey MB, this is off topic, but I wanted to share this with you. Thought you would appreciate it. Remember when you got all those negative comments from your MSN article about Christmas cartoons? (sorry to bring up bad memories) Well this poor guy got tons of similar comments when he wrote a funny article against Crocs. I read the article and thought it was funny at the time. Anyway, he wrote about the backlash here http://www.newsweek.com/id/154409?GT1=43002

August 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCJ

Loved the complete HALT when the high bar wasn't.quite.right. I think if I were going to flip through the air and catch and release that many times, I'd want it juuuuust right too, though.
Jonathan Horton (said with Frawnch accent) is very cute.
Loved your review of Nastia's beam routine. Very arm-y that was...
I thought Usain Bolt was a-freaking-mazing. I felt very sad for Steadmon, but I was glad that they also DQ'd Martina... The newly 3rd placed guy was funny - "I still lost!" Hey, I'll take a bronze medal, thanks.

August 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKris

I have to admit, I found the coverage of the gymnastics "gala" a wee bit puzzling. It was nice to see Shawn, Nastia, and Jonathan Horton (who is adorable with or without French-accented name) again, but the only other people who rated airtime were one Chinese guy and the German high bar dude? (Who probably got the nod BECAUSE he was all drama-queeny about the bar.) What about the 33-year-old silver medalist chick? (What'd she win for? Vault?) Or the Chinese girl who won the floor exercise? I realize NBC is a wee bit Americentric, but eesh. I'm still bitter that we didn't get to see the floor exercise routine set to the theme music from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, which could be clearly heard in the background during someone else's (beam?) routine.

I also found it amusing that Shawn basically went out and did a routine similar to her competition piece, albeit now with Special Whistling Music, while Nastia had a whole new routine with artfully-choreographer arm-swooping. Study in contrasts, those two.

And finally, I think Paul Wylie is still my favorite silver medalist ever. Although Jonathan Horton comes close for looking over the moon to get his, despite being only .025 of a point behind the gold.

August 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

Carrie, have I got some news for you: I was pissed too about the coverage until I realized that the WHOLE THING will (allegedly) run on Oxygen from 6-8 EST. Followed by a very special airing of... Stick It. Wheeeeeeee!

August 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMB

Ooh, I have never actually seen Stick It. That seems like appropriate background noise for cleaning my bathroom this evening. (I am all about the multitasking.) Thanks for the info on the gala--I'll definitely have to check it out, since most of the remaining Olympic sports bore me. (Bring back the swimming!)

August 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

My fellow countrymen and women are currently extatic over the gold medal won by a young Mexican warrior called Guillermo Pérez in Tae-kwon-do. This young man comes from a very humble upbringing, and through a lot of effort and sacrifices by his parents, he has been training and winning medals in the sport he loves since he was five.

On the last Olympics he won the silver medal. And on these games his parents had to resort to a neighborhood collect to get the money needed to accompany his son to Beijing. That's right: the Effing Mexican Olympic Committee is so corrupt and stingy, that although many members of the Commitee attend to ALL the sports events with their entire family, they can't afford a few pesos to let the mom and dad of the then second-best tae-kwon-do practicioner in the World travel to support his son (!!!!!!!!!!!)

Bravo Memo!!

August 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

Love the post MB. :) I noticed the lack of Mary Lou as well on the opening fanfare that is The Olympics On NBC (yep, in all capital letters folks). What I wonder about is why Nadia and Mary Lou and not some of the other women champs like, I don't know, Carly Patterson or one of the seemingly endless parade of Russian chicks? Is it because Nadia is now married to Mr. Bart Conner and they make the cute gymnasticky couple? Just wondering.

August 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTonia

Oh, I totally spent a good five minutes going around saying "Jonathan 'Orton."

August 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterToni

[...] 10:22:  Did I just hear McCain drop a whispered “horses—!” bomb under his breath while Obama was talking?  I think he just dropped a whispered s-bomb.  He’s got Nastia Liukin’s vote. [...]

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAll Tied Up « Blonde Cha

Awesome, I did not know about this topic till now. Cheers.

November 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterinsineron
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.