Needless to say, I have been dabbling with this article for several weeks. I have continued on with it since I hate to throw anything away, though I don't really have anything to say about this year's Olympics. It was looking for a while like I might be getting a new computer, probably a laptop, that would just be mine, mainly for trying to keep this blog somewhat up to date. However my son was starting high school and we had to get one for him, since apparently it is impossible to function in high school now without a computer. Then my seven year old spilled juice or iced tea on his mother's laptop. Being a professional, she needs one for work, so we had to replace that. Maybe next year.
In spite of all the brilliant points that are constantly made against it, I remain an Olympics fan, and if anything am becoming more of one as I get older. It is cheering to see so many healthy and flourishing young people gathered in one place. Sadly, this too is, or has become, a rare spectacle in most of actual life outside of certain exclusive and expensive locales, the goings-on in which are not usually televised. I didn't get to see a lot of the Games because I work in the evenings and am generally busy during the day, and I also went on a three day vacation over the middle weekend. So I mostly caught the late night coverage, which was mildly festive, though it only gave a taste of what was going on. I saw no wrestling, or weightlifting, or boxing, or modern pentathlon, or other of the traditional Olympic sports that contribute to the grandeur of the event. I ended up seeing what seemed like mostly volleyball, both of the indoor and beach variety, and diving, as well as track and swimming heats and a few replayed highlights. Apart from a few of the classic events I don't care too much about the results or even the competition. I like the idea of Being that is embedded in the Olympics. Since I am so swamped with children and keeping my life in semblance of order I do not go out very much--I have never been to a steakhouse, for example, or a winery, and I haven't gone to a bar or hotel that any educated adult would find mildly exciting or interesting in years. I've noted here several times that I have not flown on an airplane since 2001. So the Olympics on television gives something of an opportunity to vicariously immerse oneself in that kind of elite life, being part travel video, part collegiate atmosphere (or post-collegiate, given that the typical age of participants seems to be going up; on several occasions I heard a competitor described as being "only" twenty-five, which during the era of the amateur ideal would have been considered about the upper limit for Olympic participation in most cases). It is tiring to always feel. or be, completely out of place everywhere that is semi-desirable, not counting one's own home of course.
I don't have enough moral indignation on one side or the other to weigh in much on the various "controversies" that arose during the games. I admit that I kind of liked Ryan Lochte. He doesn't appear to be terribly smart, but I like that he is open about his desire to enjoy his life and have fun, of course while still managing to be good at something. Is he a jerk? Probably, in the sense that a lot of cool people come off as jerks to those not as socially blessed. I will concede that he may be a little too old to be vandalizing gas stations. I probably did or took part in something somewhat similar on at least one occasion (as Lochte attempted to explain, with little avail, when you are very intoxicated it is hard to remember the details), though I was probably more like 22 than 32. This theme of the older, or professional Olympian I will be returning to later.
The controversy of the (possibly) intersex 800 runners running as women, particularly Castor Semenya, was arousing the ire of progressives in my Facebook feed to the point that people were announcing the throwing of symbolic bleach in the face of intrepid commentators who merely indicated that they were entertaining the possibility that there might be a legitimate cause for the controversy, without committing themselves to the position that there was one. (The bleach throwers were not my friends though it was one of those threads you can see anyway. I can't figure out who one of the people is, though I must know her, since she is friends with all the people I knew at school. People who are that insanely progressive always hated me from the start for being so insipidly normal and morally limited. However I am beginning to think we are getting to that part of the revolution where the left begins to devour its own. People are beginning to demand behaviors and submissions and ideological adherences that normal people who want to live in any kind of reasonable human society will not be able to accept). I admit I don't have a strong opinion on this with regard to the competition. I gather they did away with the old sex testing for too high testosterone levels, and no one has made the argument I don't think that these runners are in fact men, so it appears legitimate for them to compete in the women's race. Of course their hormonal composition seems to give them a huge advantage over more traditionally distinct women, not that physical disparities and advantages are not endemic to sports competitions at all levels in the first place. If the question is whether the scale for who is a "woman" and who isn't for Olympic purposes needs to be narrowed (again), I don't know. But other people know (do they ever). However, if I had to rule, I would say that besides that the world isn't moving in that direction anyway (banning people from competitions for things which are not their fault), it should not be, unless the testosterone levels involved are outliers to such an alarming extent compared with even regular world class female athletes that it is unreasonable to claim that the competition as a women's competition is any longer meaningful. Got that?
What else was there? Hope Solo? I don't have anything constructive to say about her. I actually like meanness to an extent, but maybe she is overindulged. There was some other scandal but I don't remember what it was already.
I didn't get to see too many finals in the Track and Field, other than the last weekend. Among the men I missed all of Bolt's races, except for the relay. Also the 400 and 800, which seem to have been exciting races. I did see the relays, the 1500, which, incredibly, an American won for the first time since 1908, albeit in an extremely slow race, and the marathon, which being traditionally the last event, or at least held on the last day, I always find to be stirring. I don't think I saw any women's finals other than the relays and the 5,000 meters.
Dafne Schippers, the World's fastest white girl (5th in the 100, Silver Medal in the 200). Yes, I am terrible for even taking note of these things, but hey, besides being fast she is pretty cute too.
In laying out a sort of outline for this post I had this section labeled 'Intro to babe talk'. This is the part where I discuss certain women of the games who caught my attention for reasons only tangentially related to their performances. This is a little bit frustrating since one only sees a fraction of the participants, many of the events require equipment or move too rapidly or involve teams that make it difficult to identify or focus on anyone long enough (and I don't need much time) to identify them as a television romantic interest. Thus athletes in a handful of drawn out individual events are at a distinct advantage, which, liking to be as thorough as possible, is unsatisfying to me.
If anyone considers this a somehow inappropriate objectification of women, I just can't care. Man cannot live on feminist manifestos alone. It is too great a pleasure to see healthy, athletic and for the most part attractive young women, especially when one lives in a social environment that is largely devoid of them.
Though I still consider beach volleyball to be something of a sham event and am annoyed that it gets so much television coverage, especially in the late night hours when I am able to watch it, it did provide me with my primary Olympic crush, Isabelle Forrer, a 34 year-old Swiss player. When her team was eliminated in the round of sixteen I felt her absence so keenly that I took to following her on Twitter (by the way, if you want to follow me on Twitter, my address is @Michael29024447. I only have 27 followers and feel that I deserve more. Not a lot more, but some more. I do not tweet very often, admittedly, only around 180 in four years). She mostly tweets in German about all the volleyball tournaments she goes to. Her physical beauty is augmented by a soulful and mature European demeanor that the Olympics ideally were at one time intended to showcase. Doubtless she knows numerous culturally important languages, knows how to eat, is at home in all the great cities, etc, etc.
Isabelle Forrer a little glammed and cheesecaked-up. I wouldn't say that she does not photograph well, but I couldn't find any photographs that precisely captured the quality that catapulted her to such a prominent position in this article.
As the Olympics wound down in the second week I became so desperate to find someone to fixate on before the show ended that I developed interest in the 38 year-old ex-diver turned commentator Laura Wilkinson, who won a gold medal in Sydney in 2000 and finished in 2004. She is (and always was) mildly goofy-looking, and she was, I thought, a pretty bad commentator, but I supposed the circumstance that she looked into and spoke at the camera like a Montessori preschool teacher fascinated me, since it was such a contrast with the rest of the announcing team. Laura W. is from Texas and is a devout Christian who is into saving children and things like that, which sounds like the kind of person I would zero in on to try to hook up with (hopelessly) at the final party at the end of the school year or some other cathartic event. I looked at her Twitter account but decided I couldn't stomach following her.
Laura Wilkinson, probably in much younger days.
Here is the more recent mom version.
This is a 21 year-old American diver named Kassidy Cook. This is the kind of person one probably needs to be able to hook up with if one wants to ever do so successfully and manfully with all of these more complicated and mature women, though I doubt they realize as much. They may be the culmination, but culmination requires groundwork.
She is another Stanford person though(!)
This one really takes the cake.
Last but not least there was a swimmer named Maya Dirado from Stanford who was getting a rather inordinate amount of attention because she was retiring from swimming after the Olympics to begin working as an analyst for the McKinsey consulting company in Atlanta. She was not a particular love interest of mine, though of course she was intelligent and personable and seemed a lot older than the other twenty three year-olds. Here are a few of her California/Napa Valley wedding pictures which include, presumably, friends of hers from Stanford or that milieu. These people are all like gods, especially when combined with the setting:
This was of interest to me because it seemed like there was a big deal made about the job, and the retirement from sports competition. Of course, this was in contrast to many of the other athletes who seem to be hanging on to the sports into their thirties because they don't know what else to do with themselves or there isn't anything out there for them. And these are young people who have a lot going for them and have the experience of years of dedicated serious training and the absorption of instruction from world class adult mentors. You would think this would translate long term to adult success, however one wants to define that, though work in a field that pays respectably is a part of that in most cases. I didn't really get across what I wanted to here, but it's a complicated subject and I've been working on this post for how long? Maya Dirado may have started her job by now.