Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Going for the Pink in Athens

Well, unless you’ve been living in a shoebox for the past 5 days, you already know that the official Games of the 25th Olympiad has begun and that the televised coverage of these events has superceded all other facets of normal broadcasting. I admit that I am not usually one to go all gaga over ordinary sport broadcasts, but I like to consider it my duty, as a member of the Earth's cultural elite, to tune in and follow the events of the worlds best athletes as they gather to compete for athletic supremacy. But after only 5 days of Olympic coverage I have to wonder: what the fuck is going on here?

When did the Olympic Games become so sissy? Trampolining*? Synchronized Diving? Rhythmic Gymnastics? Shit, there’s more pure athleticism involved in any Richard Simmons workout video. Welcome to the topsy-turvy, unsynchronised world of the 25th Summer Olympic Games. Like tens of millions round the world, we will succumb over the next ten days to the Olympic showcase of athleticism, competitiveness, grace, muscle and sheer will. But over these days we will also catch a glimpse of activities that will cause us each to draw breath and mutter, “The WHAT event? Is that really a sport?”

No wonder ticket sales to the events are at an all-time low this year. For this momentous occasion of the traditional Olympic Games returning to their original founding birthplace, I was hoping to see more traditional burley men, rubbed down with olive oil and dressed in nothing more than fig leaves, competing in manly events of physical prowess. Not 14 year old girls in leotard leaping around like show ponies. Hercules must be beside himself with rage at this unholy progression of his Games over time **. This new brand of uber-feminine competition is only going to serve to make my nads shrivel up to the size of pitted olives. Honestly, I'd rather watch old people jog naked.

I don’t mind watching parts of the competition when the synchronized divers shammy their nubile athletic bodies down between dives with a cloth the size of a bathroom tile, but the rest of the actual competition is just downright faggy. It’s not so much about sport anymore as it is about the pure rush of pherimones for the Hedonistic viewer at this point. The apparent inclusion of such events seem to be distinguishable less for competitiveness than for narcissism: activities rehearsed and choreographed so as to show off the grace and suppleness of the human form. But if I wanted grace and suppleness I’d go to the ballet, thank you very much.

When it comes down to it, I don’t enjoy watching any competitive athletic event, unless there is a noticeable grimaces of pain on the faces of the competitors. Like those you see on the faces of the athletes competing in the Iron Man Triathlon, the Decathlon, Weight-lifting, Boxing, and the Marathons. Hell, even the televised coverage of the Olympic Crapathlon on the morning after the courtesy Souvlaki Buffet provided for the Athens IOC Luncheon has more twisted expressions of competitive anguish than those that you see on the faces of any participant competing in the new Women’s Double-Handed Dinghy-470 ***.

I also have a beef with Men’s Gymnastics in general. The male body should not bend and twist that way! It makes me uncomfortable to even watch it. Someone like myself, who has the muscular body build of a German sausage, it’s discomforting, to say the least, witnessing another man contort himself into a position that in any other circumstance would have the rest of us in traction and unable to procreate in the future, or wind up on par with the same physical abilities as Christopher Reeve. It’s freakish and abnormal; like witnessing Linda Blair’s head twist completely around in the ‘The Exorcist’! I view any man that can do the leg spits in the same light that Matthew Hopkins would view any 17th century woman who liked to dance naked in the moonlight. It’s simply unnatural. “BURN HIM!”

I’m all for raising the Balance Beam bar on the old school classical standards of Olympic athletics. Let’s restore these competitive games to their original glorified level of Classical macho excellence. No more of these panty-waist show sports. This ain’t no dog show, this is INTERNATIONALLY SPORTING! Let’s make the athletes have to fight for their medal and improve these modern day wimpy events to make them more spectator friendly. Imagine little Ming Xao and Qui Sho Quong from China locked in mortal combat atop the 100ft diving tower, tearing into each other like rabid wolverines, before both leaping off and executing a perfectly timed synchronized Triple Summersault with a twist (which by the way, sounds like something that would be served at a Cocktail Bar along the Greek Promenade) into the pool below. Either that, or fill the pool with man-eating sharks. Medals will only be awarded to those with the best dive scores and those who can manage to escape the pool alive. It's time we put the actual "limp" back in "Olympics"!

Perhaps I should have been tipped off as to how this was all to go down while watching the coverage of the Opening Ceremonies 5 days ago. From the country that developed mathematics, democracy, philosophy, architecture, drama, astronomy, as well as many other forms of intellectual culture, I expected more orgies and Vestal Virgins. Something that would have had every Classics professor the world round spanking off if it would bring Aphrodite herself to life. As it was, with all the painted figures posing, dancing, juggling, and voguing, it was more like I was watching ‘Pee-Wee’s Playhouse’ on two hits of the brown acid. All that was missing was a good ‘Moody Blues’ soundtrack to play it all out to. Why couldn’t we just stick with the old founding principles of full frontal nudity, fig laurels, and plenty of olive oil like our original Greek Olympic forefathers? Of course, we could dispense the ritual of beheading the vanquished afterwards, in lieu of say, oh, forcing them to be pig-bellied by the entire ‘Polish Weightlifting Team’ live on Pay-Per-View.

* Which only could have been created by the same flaming genius who also invented the Two-Man Luge event in the Winter Olympics; two men in bodysuits lying on top of one another as they careen down a hillside on a tobaggan.

** Lord knows that Zeus wouldn’t mind since he probably would have turned himself into a cow by now so that he could stand outside the Olympic Village and ogle the female athletes in their competition tights, swimsuits, spandex bodysuits, etc as they leave and return from their individual competitions.

*** Which would closer resemble that of someone who is performing street Mime.


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