This week’s inductee into the “Overrated Hall of Fame” is … our alleged Olympic spirit.
I’m not talking about the athletes, who seem to be doing a great job of holding up the Olympic ideal, save for the occasional Swedish wrestler bitch fit.
I’m not talking about the sponsors, with their sickeningly saccharine commercials in which they pat themselves on the back for sponsoring the U.S. Olympic efforts. The most nauseating is the Coke ad in which they claim that anyone who has had a Coke in the past 80 years has had a hand in so many memorable Olympic moments. Maybe after the games, Coke can do a similar ad in which they remind Coke guzzlers that they’ve also had a hand in raising the world’s diabetes and obesity rates and padding the already bloated coffers of the CEOs. I always thought Coke was a money-making proposition, but it turns out that Coke, at least according to Coke, is little more than an altruistic pursuit aimed at helping some spindly marksman win the bronze medal in the 10-meter air rifle competition.
I’m not talking about the way NBC’s brilliantly constructed back stories give us ready-made rooting interests instead of just letting us be happy for whomever wins each event. A silver medal can seem like abject failure after Bob Costas and friends play up the American angle. Some goofy-looking schmoe from Croatia wins gold, and instead of viewers being treated to the story of the greatest moment in this man’s life, a moment as true and valid as any of Michael Phelps’s wins, we’re left to focus on the anguished tears of the second-place American finisher, now portrayed as a disappointing, ungrateful-to-Coke-Inc. loser. We’re trained to wonder what the hell went wrong with cutie-pie Suzie American instead of what went right for the ugly, faster Croat with the vowel-less name and protruding forehead.
No, what gets too much credit is the Olympic spirit of us, the viewers. Sure, the Phelps story was compelling, and most of us were rooting for him to pull off this unparalleled feat. And I’m sure most viewers wanted those spunky little American gymnasts to nip those almost certainly underaged Chinese cheaters in the all-around competition. But that’s not why we keep tuning in night after night after day after morning after 2:00 a.m with Taco Bell spilling down our shirts. We aren’t watching for the purity of sport. We are addicted to the soft-core pornfest that NBC serves up into our darkened, fantasy-filled living rooms for two solid weeks. (Mental note: Craft thank-you letter to NBC.)
The summer Olympics have 28 different sports, yet if you tune in during prime viewing hours, odds are good you’re going to see the same six to eight events that consist of some tanned, nearly naked bodies dripping with sweat, or partially covered in golden sand, or dripping with chlorinated droplets of pool water. We are not watching to see who is Faster, Higher and Stronger. We’re watching to see who can get us Harder and Wetter.
Let’s start with the women’s beach volleyball team, who seems to be on during prime time every night. Please explain why those women athletes wear bikinis so skimpy they’d be banned in most public swimming pools. Have you given those suits a close look? Of course you have, just like I have … every … fucking … night. It’s not enough that the swatches that cover nip, vadge and buckeye are about the size of a silver dollar. The connecting parts are made of an even sheerer fabric, allowing us to see even more skin. It’s completely unnecessary. And fucking fantastic. If they’re wearing shirts and shorts, I know I’m not watching.
The directors, bless them, make sure we get countless shots of the women on all fours after each frantic dive in the sand, and the breathless announcers (no shit they’re breathless … I’m always breathless when I watch, too) go on about the score and the strategy and … shit, who knows what else, because we’re not even listening. We’re just marveling that a body so perfect and so exposed can be seen on network TV. My favorite shots are when they zoom in on the girl at the net giving those behind-the-back hand signals to her partner, sometimes with four fingers extended on each hand. They frame just the ass and hands in the shot. I assure you that hotter asses have not been shown on network TV, ever.
Every straight male in the universe is screaming, “Look at that fucking ass!” while the poor announcers have to pretend it’s all about the sport, droning on with crack analysis like “And there’s Misty, giving the sign to her partner …” Yeah, a double-four sign that says, “Every male viewer’s cock just grew four inches in the last four seconds.” By the time they start hugging and slapping each other’s asses after big points, most American males are jizzing in their jeans.
Indoor female volleyball players also wear unnecessarily short and tight (meaning fucking awesome to look at) shorts. I spent over an hour one beautiful Sunday afternoon sitting in my darkened living room watching the U.S. girls beat a Polish team that had the greatest collection of asses ever seen on a sporting team. I was rooting for Poland harder than my Jewish great uncle rooted for the Poles when the Krauts burst in during WWII. (A “meet” that was also over in about an hour.) I was screaming “Lech Walesa is God!” After the match, I googled “polish volleyballers with smokin’ hot asses” and spent the next 30 minutes visually reminiscing about the ass-curve splendor I had just witnessed.
This porn-disguised-as-sport extends to other Olympic events, too. Consider which events get the most air time: Gymnastics, with those tiny, taut, barely legal hardbodies, ass cheeks sticking out of their skimpy uniforms while their ultra-flexible bodies stretch into the most tantalizing positions; Diving, with those lithe, wet bodies emerging from the pool and heading to a pool-side shower, which NBC also makes sure to show us up close; Swimming, with more dripping wet bodies sculpted to utter perfection; Track and Field, with shorts to high and tight that we hi-deffers can catch the occasional protruding pube. I’m sure a few other sports are also jerkfest skin parties, but after watching just one or two events, I’m usually zipped up, smoking a Newport and looking for something on the History Channel.
Still think I’m full of shit? If you’ve watched the Olympics, how many Equestrian events have you seen, where the athletes wear long white pants and red sport coats? Ever tune in around 10 p.m. to find a riveting fencing match? Been treated to any helmeted, life-jacket wearing kayakers, whose legs are completely hidden inside the craft? Those archers might be hot, but because they don’t shoot their arrows while dressed in lycra shorts, they’re not on TV. If the badminton players start wearing thongs, you can bet your last athlete-supporting Coke that you’ll be seeing the shuttlecock whizzing by in prime-time come the London Olympics. And yachting? You can’t even find that listed on ESPN.com’s Olympics page.
I’m not complaining. I’m all for this titillating tits and ass gala. I know it’s the only reason I watch these boring-assed sports every four years. But we’re fooling ourselves if we think we’re into the spirit of the games, the international cooperation, the bullshit “One World, One Peace” theme.
I’m not the only one who is onto the fact that it’s all about the skin. Recently, I saw this actual headline on Yahoo: “Sexier Table Tennis Outfits Wanted.” Resentful Ping pongers (now there’s a phrase to google) were acknowledging the need to show more skin in order to attract more TV attention to their (choke … cough … giggle) sport. I agree, and I think all the lesser-known sports should follow suit and sex up their athletes with thongs and pasties and anything else that shows cleavage and ass crack. Only then will true aim of the Olympics be realized. Finally, we will all come together.
Ned Bitters is, in fact, overrated. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.