Olympics update


I used to know nothing about athletics, but I know all about them now. Over the past year I have employed a gymnast and two football players in my office, and I just hired a lacrosse player, and they have all taken great pains to educate me in their various sports. Partner, naturally, still tries to instruct me. And now, with the Olympics, my education is proceeding wonderfully.



Here’s what I now know:



        Synchronized divers do not have to be exactly the same height. To be frank, I didn’t know there was such a thing as “synchronized diving” until Tuesday morning, when I saw two adorable young Mexican athletes execute a simultaneous quadruple mid-air flip. But one diver was an inch taller than the other, and it offended my sense of symmetry. Shouldn’t the shorter one have been wearing flip-flops, or something?

        Trampoline is an Olympic sport. I learned this on “Jeopardy!” the other night, and I told my student assistant Gunnar about it, and we both thought it was pretty funny. I’m sure it takes loads of strength, coordination, etc., etc.; it’s just that I associate trampolines with kiddie parties and circuses. Gunnar found a video of the Canadian trampoline finals online, and we watched a bit of it, giggling quietly. “This guy’s actually pretty good,” Gunnar said. “Until he breaks his arm when he falls off the side,” I said. And then we started giggling again.

        A North Korean weightlifter just lifted three times his own weight. This has only been done twice before in Olympic history, and it’s pretty amazing, apparently; Gunnar (who’s a football player in training) was blown away by this. The North Korean, Om Yun Chol, is five feet tall, and he weighs only a little less than I do (and I’m almost a foot taller than he is), and he’s adorable. Look how happy he is in the photo above! Apollonia, who doesn’t like short men, called him a “nasty little troll.” I pointed out that he was extraordinarily strong, which is always a selling point (we all like men who can lift and carry), and she grudgingly took her insult back, and we are now calling him “our pocket Hercules.”

        Swimmers are almost never attractive. Swimming develops all the wrong muscles. A classically well-built man is not, how you say, hydrodynamic. Champion swimmers are built more like otters or harbor seals. My friend Cathleen told me that she can’t help noticing the Olympic swimmers’ hugely developed trapezius muscles, which look eerily unnatural.

        Road cycling is very dull. Watch the replays if you don’t believe me. Pedal pedal pedal pedal pedal; curve straightaway curve straighaway curve. I mean really. 

        Women’s beach volleyball is more or less soft-core pornography. Yes, Misty May-Treanor, I’m looking at you. 

        An athlete from Niger, Hamadou Djibo Issaka, who only learned to row a few months ago, came in last in the single sculls event. Shades of “Cool Runnings”! And good for him! And the crowd cheered him on! (This is what makes the Olympics (at its best) feel like a world event: cheering for someone who’s in last place, or someone from a different country, or someone who isn’t a consummately-trained athlete.  Or all three.) 


And we’re only a week into this!  And I didn’t even mention the badminton scandal!


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

3 Responses to Olympics update

  1. starproms says:

    How comes you work with these people. Do they do it for a hobby? How interesting that they can impart all that knowledge on you. I learned a lot from it.

    • The athletes are college students. They can’t work during the school year, but they often stay on campus during the summer to do trainings, and they need jobs to survive. I discovered a few years ago that people are completely enchanted by them, so I hire them preferentially now. The lacrosse player’s first day was today, and people are already in love with him. And I am learning all about lacrosse (about which I know next to nothing, except that you play it using a stick with a net on the end of it).

      • starproms says:

        That’s interesting Loren. I’m learning too by watching the Olympics. Yesterday Team GB got a gold and silver medal for canoe slalom. I didn’t know what that was because I’ve never watched it before. So it was a case of ‘Come on whoever you are, keep doing whatever it is you’re doing’.

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