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Some Olympic observations

Sarah Sponcil, of the United States, competes against Canada at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Funny how the female beach volleyball players wear almost nothing because sand gets lodged in bigger uniforms, or something like that. And yet the same sand is apparently no problem for male players who wear shorts and tank tops. Go figure. (And yes, it has occurred to me that those “uniforms” seem to get smaller as I get older.)

Unlike previous years, I’m not really glued to any one event. Except equestrian (despite how devastated I am when a horse is injured, or worse. RIP Jet Set, Switzerland). And, of course, gymnastics. I’m constantly changing channels because there are events on four (?) different channels. BMX freestyle is pretty amazing. Badminton and table tennis hold a bit of interest because I played both when I was young. Not that there’s any resemblance whatsoever. Track, for the same reason. (I was a serious jogger for several years.) I’ll think “Oh, diving!” or “Hey, it’s shotput!” and then switch channels a few minutes later.

There are some really cute, talented (and young!) kids dancing in an Old Navy (?) commercial. I can’t find it now, and I don’t remember for sure who the advertiser is. But I was really struck by the age of some of the kids. If I see it again, I’ll add a link. (Note: Confirmed, it’s definitely an Old Navy commercial.)

Lots of tattoos on display. It seems tats have become pretty mainstream while I wasn’t looking.

The masks worn by our swimmers are … odd:

I got choked up during the Opening Ceremonies with the singing of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” It’s one of my favorite songs, and it says so much about all the nations coming together … while at the same time I couldn’t help thinking about our nation being so perilously divided. The Olympics have been a very welcome diversion from the summertime dreck that would normally fill our screens.

I was disappointed that track star Sha’Carri Richardson got herself disqualified from Olympic competition by using marijuana. I saw her run once and had really looked forward to seeing her run again — and living up to all her gaudy braggadocio. I recall a cousin once saying, “It’s not bragging if it’s true.”

Love the Toyota commercial that ends “because you don’t need to be amazing to start, but you have to start to be amazing.” Apparently it was inspired by Zig Ziglar’s “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” I’d never heard it before, but the idea is memorable regardless of the source.

Every parent can identify with the dad in the Chevrolet commercial who is grimacing while his son in the next room wrecks car after car in a video game:

And a great commercial from Comcast about kids learning good sportsmanship (although I imagine that word is now verboten). Maybe I remember it because I was watching in 2016 when two women fell during a race and one stopped to help the other to her feet. The commercial:

From the Comcast commercial

New and interesting this year, a mixed relay, with two men and two women on each team running different legs in the same race. Finally, an acceptable, fair way for men and women to compete in the same sport, on the same team. Wish I’d seen it from the beginning. (Equestrian events also include both men and women.)

I’m always amused by the play-by-play on teen-dominated sports like BMX and skateboarding. All those nonsensical names for specific tricks sound like a foreign language being reeled off in the middle of an English narrative. There are skateboarders as young as 12 years old!

US gymnast Simone Biles … what can I say. I was looking forward to seeing her and was disappointed by her withdrawal. I can’t imagine what’s in her head, but I respect her decision.

I caught the finish (or a replay thereof) of the women’s 100m race last night. First, second, and third place were all won by Jamaican women. Understandably, they went nuts. So fun to see.

Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah (4), Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (5) and Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson (7) compete in the women’s 100m final on July 31, 2021. They won the first three places in the race in this order. (Andrej Isakovic/AFP Getty Images)

And there’s probably a lot more, but those are the things that came to mind as I typed.

6 Comments »

  1. One might think the skimpy attire of beach volleyball would be erotic, but athleticism trims female bodies so much, they seem androgynous to me. The photo you picked illustrates this very well.

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