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Sunday
Aug242008

Olympics Crack UPDATE: Withdrawl Pending

The great nation of Australia, perhaps because it's a gigantic island and the people are left alone to hatch awesome plans like this, has this Olympic habit of coming out of absolutely nowhere and winning things they aren't supposed to win.  Previously my favorite upsetter was short track speed skater Steven Bradbury, who hurtled gloriously to an Olympic championship when the rest of the field fell down.

Right up next to him jumps Matthew Mitcham, who singlehandedly prevented a total China sweep in diving.  Chinese diver Zhou Luxin led the entire time, and it was a tense competition, with one diver entering the pool at a forty-five degree angle.  In these circumstances, it's highly useful to have a man around for color commentary:  "That had to hurt the boys," observed Josh The Pilot as NBC froze frame at the point of impact.  "He was pretty much pecker-first."

Another diver, we learned, was missing his first day of class at Purdue in order to compete.  If I were this kid's prof, I would, solely for poops and giggles, count this as an unexcused absence.  I would demand a note from the President of the IOC.  That'd keep him busy for the next four years.

But Matthew, he persevered, protecting the boys and winning on the final dive when Luxin fubared his.  I cannot imagine that kind of pressure.  I freeze up on a 250-word article deadline for the Penny Saver.  But here's this guy facing a home crowd and all the world staring at his Australia-stamped butt, performing exactly what he needed to do exactly when he needed to do it.  "See the look of shock on Luxin's face!" said the commentator, which I wouldn't categorize as "shock" so much as "the clear realization that he will never ever be seen or heard from again," as demonstrated here.

In the wake of the Most Emotional Volleyball Game Ever, I was left to watch the medal ceremony for the men's marathon, which meant NBC was forced to broadcast the dread medal ceremony which does not involve an American at the top of the podium.  The world was officially exposed to Kenya's national anthem, and it struck me that even with the great number of medals Jamaica has won in this Games, I could not tell you for the life of me what its anthem sounds like.  Please tell me there are steel drums involved.

For about the billionth time and for the billionth reason, I wish I hosted a TV talk show, because then I could dedicate enormous amounts of time showcasing the Shafted Olympians.  We would have lengthy interviews with weightlifters and table tennis mavens, and the gold medalist women's rowing team, deemed worthy of 0% hype by NBC, would get an entire week (and they sang along with the National Anthem during their medal ceremony.)  The more of your body which is covered during competition, the more airtime I'd award, which means that the fencing team would pretty much move into the green room.

The Closing Ceremonies were marked largely by the Enormous Inflatable Attack Drums (speaking of Purdue, somebody ought to alert the administration about this.)  The overriding theme seems to be "Hey!  We've got 20% of the world's population!  And light-up spinny things!"

In other Olympics news, the vast majority of the U.S. team wisely elected to leave their Ralph Lauren Caps of Shame back at the Village, while Canada, inspired by Hungary's Opening Ceremonies Fashion Don't, commits a Fashion Never.  A "Memory Tower" takes the symbolic place of the extinguished flame, and btw, if anyone wants a jump start on shopping for my Christmas present, think... Memory Tower.  Also, just in case you've been wondering how we've gotten through these entire Games without the vocal stylings of Jackie Chan, here you go.

London, grasping the spectacle gauntlet as the next Olympics host, displayed its mighty power with... umbrellas, a bus, and a lickety-lick interview with Michael Phelps.  Party on, Great Britain!  The 2012 Games are going to be... just... great!

attempting to move on with my life at:  mbe@drinktothelasses.com

tip the bartender

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Reader Comments (11)

Props to the men's volleyball team! Being originally from northeast Indiana, and graduating from IPFW (Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne), I feel the need to share that Lloy Ball is indeed his real name, and he is a volleyball LEGEND in a state that is mostly known for corn, Bobby Knight, high school basketball, and cows. Also, just as a side note, IPFW has what has to be the most awesome mascot. They are the Mastadons!!!!!!! Somehow it's a bit difficult to picture a mastadon being a leader---unless you've watched the movie Ice Age. Just thought I'd share.

August 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWiserlemming

Oops! Forgot to add that Indiana is also home to Notre Dame and its famous Leprechaun, as well as its sister school: Saint Mary's College. Sorry for the oversight, MB!!!!!

August 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWiserlemming

the london bus. the umbrellas. the cheesy costumes. jimmie paige who apparently left his walker below, the SINGING Person with (I'm sorry, but it is true) Manly Thighs and the sparkly duds,

Did I miss anything. Mostly I sat there with my mouth open thinking that the agency in charge of such madness cooked all that up in about a week. ("We'll have plently of time to work on this, and sack Nigel at once."

Except for MP being aw-shucks and adorable at the Palace and the the color-coded fly-by, and the bazillions of already rabid subscribers to the credo of LONDON 2012, I was EMBARRASSED. CHAGRINED.

Those dude better get cooking if that's all they could come up with for the PREVIEW.

Remember China's Preview?!
"HOLY CRAP!" (said I)

Ah well, as you said, time to move on. I will have to be humming the Olympic John-Williams-composed theme to myself now for another 18 months till Vancouver.

AND one more little whine: where is the PR for the Paralympics? I think this sucks. Big Time.

Rave on Wife of Josh the Pilot: I enjoy your work more than I can say ....

August 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjonna

A great start to my Monday morning. LOVE JTP's color commentary! And can there be any better story than the USA men's volleyball team, their coach & what they've had to endure since the first day of the games? They truly inspire! And as for the Chinese gymnasts....what age will they be in London?

August 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSara N

Mitcham's medal was also celebrated down here, because his trainer, http://www.diving.asn.au/?Page=1912&MenuID=Teams_%40_Squads%2F20005%2F1806%2F%2CSquads%2F20022%2F0%2F0" rel="nofollow">Salvador Sobrino, is mexican.

For my part, I enjoyed the british 8-minute performance. It was really interesting to see this multimedia display celebrating urban culture an multi-ethnicity, after being witness of 16 days when the core message is that China's main concern is showing the world a single homogeneous face; then come the londoners saying "you know what? We are ALL different, and that's what makes our city great!!" Good for them to acknowledge that.

And if someone still had any doubts about the benefits of ethnic and cultural mixtures: there was... http://www.thelondondailynews.com/images/leona+lewis_855_18377859_0_0_13815_300.jpg" rel="nofollow">this (Oh, si!)

August 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

I think the Canadians look just like most college students. I mean, doesn't every 18-24 year old in the world wear their pj bottoms to all major social events and classes?

August 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterstarnarcosis

The Closing Ceremonies left me vaguely terrified, I have to admit. That many people working in perfect unison freaked me the heck out.

The end of the men's volleyball gold medal match, when the coach had to go hide in a hallway and cry a bit, would have been more poignant if the NBC camera guy hadn't felt it necessary to follow his every move.

And please tell me I'm not the only one who thought the Inflatable Attack Drums looked like nothing so much as gigantic wheels of cheese. Or is my proximity to Wisconsin affecting my brain?

Finally, although he is an incredible athlete, and a seemingly sweet, dorky guy, Michael Phelps is a fairly lousy interview. First order of business is to excise the word "awesome" from his vocabulary when conducting international PR. I was so distracted by his aw-shucks stumbles that I completely missed whether the red, white, and blue Exhaust Trails of Patriotism were in his honor, or signified the colors of the Union Jack. (Apparently the Founding Fathers weren't looking to step outside the box when it came to flag color choices.)

August 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

Oh, that's what that was? I thought I hit some bad acid and was watching some sort of Dr. Seuss production. There were woozlebangers and flofferboppers and rubegoldbergers everywhere! And all the citizens of Whoville hit the bong and celebrated in the center of town.

That's OK, Jonna-- I still want to come visit you there in England. You and your pubs.

August 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMB

Wait! MB! I'm in LIVERPOOL NY (sigh), not LONDON UK with PUPS, not PUBS. I know the disappointment will be grave.
And bitter too.....

August 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjonna

Carrie - the first thing I said was - Holy Crap! BIG Wheels of Cheese in the Sky!!!

The men's volleyball was EXCITING! I was on the edge of my seat the WHOLE TIME! YAY for them!

August 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKris
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