Thursday, August 9, 2012

Citius, Altius, Fortius

Well, friends, the Olympics have been going on in London for some time now, and all those magnificent athletes -- also known as heroes -- have either become swifter, higher, stronger, or collapsed in tears and been carried away by their psychologists and coaches, unwilling to remain longer in the presence of some hateful person (often a Russian) who has stripped them of True Glory, i.e. the gold medal. Their silver or bronze medal, of course, is not actually a symbol of anything noble or athletic, but a depiction of their shame. Silver, unlike gold, tarnishes, you know.

Strangely, only the winners see things this way. We lesser mortals really dig it when our country's representatives win at all. And even when they don't. Miss Gabrielle Douglas came last on the uneven bars, and yet we (the USA) still love her. I have a sneaking suspicion that we would do so even if she hadn't won two gold medals, but she might not know that. This is an unfortunate situation, but then again there always seem to be a few of those at the Olympics. They're the best when they involve Bela Karolyi, however. He in himself a bit of a silver lining. Or, I suppose, a gold lining, since the other term might remind some poor Olympian of an inglorious prize I did not intend to reference.


The greatest Olympian of all time (since 1896, anyway), the nonchalant, noncommittal, non-much of anything besides swift, high, and strong (presumably in the comparative degree), the naturally swimmer-shaped Baltimorean known as Michael Phelps, has reached the medal count of a well-performing small country. He would be 14th in the table of these Games. Yorkshire, however, not being from Baltimore, but rather the Texas of the UK, (despite being in the North), would be 11th if counted separately from Team GB. I thought that various people might like to know these things for various reasons. Now I have done my duty on that score.


Royalty of both the US and the UK are involved in equestrian at the Games of the XXX Olympiad. Zara Philips, daughter of the Princess Royal, and thus 14th in succession to numerous Crowns, got a silver medal (oh, the dishonor!) in the team eventing. If she were not already married to Mr. Michael Tindall, she might want to consider teaming up with that other Mr. Michael who is also 14th in something, namely Phelps. But then again, he got -- I am loth even to name it -- a bronze medal, so he is probably out of contention for most Olympians' hands, whether we refer to marriage, applause, or even shaking.

Ann Romney's horse is also in the Olympics, and that is what I meant by American royalty being involved. Of course, since the horse's owner's husband is running for President of the United States, a big deal must be made. I am sure I will have more to say on these matters before the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.


Wouldn't it be insane if the Marathon were not 26.2 miles, but rather a race from Marathon to wherever the Olympics were held? It would be like an extreme version of the triathlon. Bikes would, naturally, be allowed for a portion of the race, and it would generally involve a lot of swimming: for example, when the Games are in Rio de Janeiro, the competitors will have to swim across the Atlantic Ocean. Perhaps there can be a sailing component to it as well. Someone must alert Jacques Rogge to this idea. Now that "rugby sevens" (whatever that is) is being introduced to the Games, I'm pretty sure no idea is indefensible.


Occasionally the subject of doping comes up in the context of the Games of various Olympiads. Hey guys, I'm pretty sure that's not what the IOC means by "higher." Never mind.


I leave you with a brief note on Russians at the Games, particularly in gymnastics, and their habit of kissing people more than Americans typically do. That's it. See you in Sochi.

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