I have mixed feelings about the Olympics. This time around, I’m really enjoying them, and they’re getting me really fired up to work out. I told someone this, and she just looked at me like I was from another planet, even though she does exercise and is in decent shape. It illustrates how difficult it is for most people to get motivated to exercise. After all, I’m not training for a competition, I won’t quickly earn big bucks by doing a personal best in Turkish get-ups with each hand, I won’t be on TV, and besides, training is hard work!
For me, the best thing about the Olympics so far has been Shawn Johnson. Apart from her astounding gymnastics skills, she also shows amazing resilience and maturity, even at her young age. It’s one thing to be great, but it’s quite another to be seemingly immune to very high pressure. And when her team has had difficulties, she had not only continued to perform almost flawlessly, but had been very supportive of her teammates. When Alicia Sacramone had those heartbreaking falls in the team final, Shawn was right there comforting and consoling her, and well beyond a simple pat on the head. Even beyond that, when interviewed she is refreshingly straightforward, and has very little of the “It’s all about me” syndrome. How does she do it? I don’t know, but to me she represents what’s best about the Olympics.
Now that the indvidual gold medal has been won, how about that incredible Nastia Liukin? I actually preferred her style to Shawn’s at first, because of her long lines and balletic grace.
In any Olympics, corruption is just below the surface, and that’s why some years I watch very few events, if any. Paul Hamm’s excellent skills aside, it was pretty depressing to be reminded of the way that he got a gold medal at a previous Olympics through the benefit of judges’ errors, when the Olympic officials would not do the right thing and correct their admitted mistake.
I got an especially big laugh when I saw the Chinese response to journalist’s questions about the age of their women’s team members. They may as well have said: ‘these passports, which we made just this morning, prove that they are 14, er, I mean, 16 years old!’ Maybe they have better luck convincing their own citizenry that they’re telling the truth. Even though the skills of the Chinese women’s team are undeniable, I am considering taking up a collection to buy them diapers and some teething rings.