Olympical Ponderings

Who hasn't been watching a lot of Olympics lately?!?! It's time-delayed and spoiled, even by the announcers on the time-delayed broadcast (damn you!) when you've managed to keep away from twitter, radio, papers, etc.  But still, you can't look away.  Well, you can, when you are shown inane announcers nattering on rather than the sports you want to watch.  Between that and the commercials and the highlights of decades-old Olympics, now and again you do get to see something recent and athletic.  And that's what you live for!

  • Swimming:  I love it, and I wanted to watch a lot of it.  What I did not want: a bunch of  manufactured crap rivalries that may or may not have existed between Lochte and Phelps, or that other guy who says Phelps doesn't train, or this or that or something else.  Now they hate each other! Now they are great teammates for the relay! We at NBC totally love Phelps, except that the poking of athletes must begin now that he failed to medal in the 400 IM.  "Tell us Michael, how totally awful does it feel to have FAILED to medal? Are you totally completely CRUSHED? Will you ever be able to recover and swim again? Please, give us all the details of your agony! America wants to know" This American did not.  You could read all you needed to on his face. The rest was invasive and ultimately uninformative.  What America REALLY wanted to know was this: Just how effing tight are those swim caps? Tight enough to give you a migraine? Are there any migraineurs among Olympic swimmers? Because I would totally be out there going for the gold, if it wasn't for those swim caps.  That, and the fact that I can't swim and I'm old and fat.
  • Gymnastics and gender: I REALLY love me some gymnastics. The men's exhibition of strength, agility, and control is always astonishing to me. This year for some reason I focused on a move on the floor exercise, where they'd bend over, put their hands out on the floor, and then just slowly lift their legs up and bring them together - and then just stay there for awhile. So awesome.  Women's gymnastics, of course, is all about pixies, ponytails, and diva behavior. Tears! Little darlings who are just going to crack under pressure and have to be kissed and hugged by their coaches to survive! Ethereal beings who fly in the air! You get my picture.  I want to hear more about strength, agility, and control, and less about tears, diva bla bla, (Eager commentator: "Tell me, has there been any diva behavior yet?")and ANYTHING about Gabby's hair.  (That last one is mostly a race issue, but I can't imagine a black male gymnast getting lambasted for not having done the right thing with his hair. It's a gender issue too.) I want to see male gymnasts loosen up on the floor-x and do more tumbly-jumpy-dancey stuff like the women do; I want to see women build in some of those strength elements men display in the floor-x that are so breathtaking.  Why do they always have to be flying? Why can't they stop a minute and show their awesome strength, too? My really serious complaints are these, however: why the hell are the men dressed in footie pajamas that they can accidentally grab hold of while they are on the pommel, thus causing them to mess up? Can't they get some nice shorties more akin to what the women get to sashay around in? And why those poor pixie gymnasts gotta perform gender soooo hard while they're out there working and sweating?  Ban the makeup!  Or else make the men wear it too. Thus speaks Zuska.
  • I get all my mother's mail, including the Senior Times of Southwestern PA.  The last issue had a story about the local Senior Olympics. It was so cool.  There was a ninety-something dude who's won a gold medal in some racing event in every year they've had it.  That's kind of vague. With a fey Lehrian stroke, I  confidently declare he was 91, the sport was a 100 m dash, and the Senior Olympics have been held for six years now.  You're never going to know the difference because how are you going to get hold of a copy of the Southwestern PA Senior Times? (90 years old, 1 mile walk, 16 years - Mr. James "Jiggs" Grubbs, July 2012 issue) What gets me is I am pretty sure that this nonagenarian could beat me in the Senior Olympics in a head-to-head match.  Mr. Grubbs reports that he was not very active until he was in his seventies, so there may still be some hope for me.  I have commenced a 30-min per day walking program (interrupted by days when I walk up with migraine and then it's too hot in the afternoon) and am eating healthy food and smaller portions.  Look out Michael Phelps!  As soon as I get that swimming cap technology worked out, I'm coming for you!

When I think of Mr. Grubbs, active into his nineties though he didn't really start till his seventies, and Z-mom, who nearly died but is now walking again and recovering nicely, I think there is no excuse for me not to get my foot out the door on the days I feel well.  There is no excuse for me not to eat well and not pig out.  There is no excuse for me not to take care of my body just because my body has not been very good to me with all these migraines.  There is more excuse to do so because of the migraines.  The care I give it will be given back to me.  It's not that I can control my migraines by exercising, or that if I just find "my food triggers" my migraines will go away.  Migraine disease is neurological and the cause is not well understood.  But exercising and eating well gives my body the best fighting chance.  So I have to say no to the depression and discouragement, not eat to comfort myself, and work at getting out there to exercise. Getting out of the house and moving, seeing something different, is rejuvenating.  Walking outdoors is more so than a half hour on a treadmill in a gym, but in a pinch, that's better than nothing.  I hate it when people tell me that I "should" be doing x or y, as if it is all my fault I am having migraines just because I am not doing x or y.  But I am going to be better to myself, and give myself a better chance.  I want to win the 1 mile walk in the Senior Games when I am 90.

5 responses so far

  • becca says:

    One option to avoid swim caps is shaving your head.
    Actually, in all seriousness, they make ones that are lycra fabric, not latex/silicone. Have you tried those? These are much more flexible and comfortable, though their drag would render them suboptimal if you were elite. They might not be perfect, but I get ordinary headaches from the tight caps but never got them from the fabric caps.

    I think one of the reasons gymnastics is so gendered is because of the history with ballet dancers. But yes. Makeup and dance moves for all! Amazing slowmo handstands for all as well!
    And yes, the only person I want to hear about Gabby's hair from is Melissa Harris-Perry, and I suspect all she'll have to say a reasonable analysis of why others are talking about it. That's the only drawback to Olympics coverage- no MHP show.

  • anon says:

    I know someone whose dad won some medal in senior Olympic ping-pong. fuck yeah. I find the physique of the youngster Olympic athletes, especially the gymnasts, to be fascinating. Most of the women are teenagers, with very few exceptions. Oksana Chusovitina competed and came in 5th on the vault at the age of 37. Some of the coverage is annoying, but occasionally I find the little snippets that are mentioned to be interesting.

  • Pascale says:

    Men's water polo, especially when they get out of the water, is complete eye candy for me.
    Last night, hubby was commenting on the make up all the track women wear. I would think that much mascara would weigh you down, but then what do I know? I'm still waiting for pool-side drinking to be an Olympic event. I guarantee the gold; USA,USA!!!!

  • JustaTech says:

    Re: Women athletes and makeup.
    My husband and I noticed that a lot of the track-and-field women wear makeup, jewlery, and have interesting hair. He thought it was weird that anyone would wear earrings, rings, watches and necklaces while running insanely fast. My reply was that *I* wear earrings, rings, a watch and a necklace while I run (only specific earrings, but still) and if it's not in your way, who cares? Some of them even have crazy facepaint. But since not everyone does it, it's clearly not a requirement like it is in gymnastics.

    Watching the balance-beam routines last night I felt this weird disonance: in theory, all of that jumping and flexing and posing could be really sensual, but it's not at all (in my opnion). It's so very precise that it feels (to me) like just another move in the routine, like, backflip, arch back, lie down on the beam, up, cartwheel, pose, dismount. I'd almost say that it seemed "stiff" but none of the gymnasts are stiff!

    (Also, the 37-year-old Bulgarian rings guy? He's so awesome! It's nice to see someone in gymnastics over 18.)

    (And don't all the figure skaters, men and women, wear makeup? I guess it's back to the origins in dance thing.)

  • Confounding says:

    @JustaTech Having done figure skating as a male for a few years, yes, you do wear makeup. It may partially be due to dance, but more practically, because you're being followed by spotlights in an otherwise usually dark arena, and with the reflection of the ice, if you don't wear makeup you end up looking like a super-pale ghost.