2012 Olympic Observations

Every four years, I make some kind of silly statement about not really caring all that much about the Olympics and how I’m not going to watch very much of them when they begin, and then, every four years, I wind up spending several hours glued to my television set watching a myriad of sports I would never, ever devote 10 seconds to just because they’re in the Olympics.

Since this year marked the first Olympics to feature social media prominently (And, hey, I know that’s a fact because Ryan Seacrest kept telling me so every five minutes with that giant “Social Download” board in the NBC Olympic studio.), it was very tempting for me to hop onto Facebook or Twitter every few minutes and make some kind of observation about what was going on. Since I’ve been trying to ween myself from getting online so much after I get home in the evenings (which is much more difficult than I thought it would be), I managed to resist.

Watching that many hours of Olympic coverage, though, provides so much wonderful material to comment on that it has to come out somewhere, so what better place could there be than in the ol’ blog? So, from the inspiring to the embarrassing, here are a few of my thoughts on this year’s Olympics:

  1. Speaking of Seacrest, what the heck was he even doing on the Olympics broadcast in the first place? My wife said she thought it was because he wanted to be the next Dick Clark, but I don’t ever remember seeing “Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Medal Count” featured on any other Olympic broadcasts. The “Social Download” was the kind of scrub job they ought to saddling guys like Jim Gray with. Plus, the segment was totally worthless. I mean, really, did someone have to tell me Michael Phelps was trending on Twitter after winning the 22nd medal in his Olympic career? Hashtag: dork.
  2. And speaking of Phelps, wasn’t it amazing how winning a handful of Olympic medals can make folks forget all about how you were sucking on a marijuana pipe just three years earlier? I know Phelps apologized, and I’m willing to forgive, but I did think it was odd that I didn’t see the pipe mentioned even once during the coverage I watched. That’s kind of like praising Michael Vick for winning the Super Bowl and not mentioning dog fighting.
  3. Even if he did suffer from poor judgment with the pipe, at least Phelps managed to not embarrass himself and his country during the games themselves – which you definitely couldn’t say for his teammate, Ryan Lochte. Seriously, dude, nobody wants to know if you peed in the warm-up pool. Well, Ryan Seacrest might, but other than that…
  4. One event I did comment on using social media was the women’s vault event, which I likened on Facebook to watching a reel of NASCAR crashes – horrible in a way, but impossible to turn away from. Thankfully, no one was actually seriously injured during any of the falls, and we actually got a bonus takeaway with Makayla Maroney’s medal acceptance face. My favorite “Makayla is not impressed” meme so far? Gotta be the Ali-Liston photo. Check out the front row.
  5. I’m all for American pride, but did it seem like we barely got to see any of the other countries compete this year? Even in the team sports, it was almost as if NBC wanted to blot out the names on the other jerseys. Athletes from other countries worked their butts off to get to the Olympics, too. Let us see some of them compete.
  6. The one major exception to that last statement came in track and field, which featured Usain Bolt and his merry band of Jamaican sprinters in what seemed like every other event. This wouldn’t have been so bad if it hadn’t been for having to watch Bolt himself prance around like a peacock and listen to him shoot his mouth off after every race. I used to think smack talking was appropriate if you could back it up. Thanks to Bolt, I have now changed my mind. Bolt did get it right when said, “I am a legend.” Yes, Usain, you are – a legendary jerk.
  7. So this year’s Dream Team was supposed to have been able to contend with the original Dream Team we sent to the Olympics in 1992 because their big men couldn’t keep up with the speedier, smaller athletes of today? After only beating Spain by seven points in the gold medal game yesterday, Coach Mike Krzyzewski said, “Their size hurt us.” He was talking about the Gasol brothers, Marc and Pau. Yeah, I’ll still put my money on Jordan and Co.
  8. My daughters, who are 10 and 7, kept yelling at the television during the women’s beach volleyball matches. They weren’t cheering; they wanted Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh to put some clothes on. Dear Lord, may they never lose their sense of modesty.
  9. I guess this is where I should say something about the closing ceremonies, but I only could bear about 30 seconds of it. I don’t even know what I saw. There was some kind of deejay in a giant octopus thingy, with a bunch of people dancing around in goofy outfits. I know if I was forced to come and watch something like this it would only greatly diminish my Olympic experience. Well, unless I were Ryan Seacrest….
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