July 23, 2014
advice articles
The 2012 Olympic Games

The 2012 Olympic Games

Alright, so if you’ve been on my personal channel as of late, you’ll know that I posted a rant about the Olympics that complained about how the games are more obsessed with turning a profit than they are uniting mankind or celebrating sport or whatever. In case you haven’t been on YouTube yet, or worse yet, you’re not subscribed to my channel (why in God’s name would you do that to yourself?!?!), I’ll embed it below for good measure…

I stand by that rant, too. Just like the television news networks, I think the Olympic Games have lost sight of their original goals and have had dollar signs pulled over their eyes to hide that fact from them. Furthermore, I feel like the overall branding of and product placement within the Games has reached a point where it’s borderline nauseating. Furthermore, I think it’s maddening to think of how companies have managed to profiteer off of the determination, sacrifice, and effort of the athletes themselves without guaranteeing them a decent share of that income right off the bat.

Notice, though, that I never said in my video that you shouldn’t watch the Olympics. And why not? Despite all of my beefs with the Olympics, I’ve still tuned in myself, and still enjoyed what I watched. Mind you, I’m not one of those people who obsesses over watching all the coverage they can. I’m not like my dad, for instance, who will still have Olympic events to watch on his DVR in about three months. Nevertheless, I will still tune in if they’re on and keep them going in the background as I take care of stuff on YouTube and the site and Tumblr and whatnot. The difference with these games, though, as opposed to other games that I’ve followed in the past, pretty much everything that I’m watching is stuff that’s broadcast prime time on the tape-delay. Even worse, thanks to news websites and social media, most of the time I know the outcome of the events even before I watch them. I kind of wish you could subscribe to “spoiler free” news updates and tweets and what-have-you, but what’s strange is that these spoilers haven’t done that much to dampen my enjoyment of these various events.

I’d liken watching NBC’s primetime Olympic coverage to watching a movie about a historical event that really happened. Just because you know that the Titanic sinks at some point in the movie, doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy watching what happens to the people before, during, and after (for the record, I hated that movie, but I needed it to prove a point). No matter what the outcome, the Olympics still showcase some of the finest athleticism that the human race has to offer at present. Just because I knew that our women’s gymnastics team would win the gold, or that Gabby Douglas would win an individual gold, doesn’t mean I still didn’t enjoy watching it happen . Just because I read that Phelps upset Lochte in the 200 IM, doesn’t mean that I still didn’t enjoy watching a member of the “Gator Nation” choke under pressure. When you read those types of headlines, they’re just lines of text. No matter how descriptive the headline or the article is, it will never be the same as watching the story unfold in front of you, even if you do know how the story ends. Watching the events lets you appreciate how much winning and losing, however seemingly important, is just a detail in the overall narrative. Furthermore, it allows you to use your sympathetic brain to ride the emotional roller coaster along with everyone else in the stands and on the field/track/court/floor/etc.

I’d venture to say that that’s why we enjoy reliving those extraordinary moments again and again through instant replay, highlight reels, and constant gifs and videos reblogged to the farthest reaches of Tumblr. We enjoy the slight thrill we get when we watch another human being do something truly extraordinary, whether it’s a physical feat that we could never attempt in our wildest dreams, or simply digging deep and excelling in the face of incredible odds. Well, that, and who doesn’t love watching Tom Daley in slow motion? Or Matthew Mitchum? Or Daniel Leyva? Or Marcel Nguyen? Or, well, you get the idea…

So yes, regardless of whatever complaints I may have with the U.S. Olympic Team or with the Olympic Games in general, I still manage to tune in and cheer on Team USA in whatever sport happens to be on when I’m home. Well, that, and  check out some gorgeous, spandex-clad bodies. As I’ve said before on Twitter, I prefer it when we sexualize Olympic athletes, because at least they’re actually doing something with those beautiful bodies (aside from parading them around in front of us, that is).

About RJ

RJ is a blogger/vlogger/writer and the other half of the NotAdamandSteve duo. When he's not making videos or writing stuff online he's usually working out, gorging himself on Chipotle, traveling, enjoying scotch, or spending quality time with his new fiancé and German Shepherd.
  • Daniel Park

    The sponsorship of sport is so mind-bendingly complex that sports development students write their PhDs on it. Many countries have “core sports” that are so popular with fans that there is more than enough money in ticket and sponsorship revenue that their players are obscenely rich. In the US this is the case for American football, baseball…possibly basketball. In the UK this is the case for football (soccer). This isn’t necessarily a good thing – in the UK football wages are so extravagant that most teams comprise almost exclusively of foreign players attracted by the almighty £ so when it comes to the “English” team in international matches, we fail abysmally (we last won the World Cup in 1966!)
    In terms of Olympic sports, there is a wide variation in attitude from country to country. The two models that sports development students study are the Australia and the Finnish models:
    The Australians are absolutely obsessed with sport. Their aim is to be the top team in every fixture they are competing in internationally. They do this by spending lots of Aus dollars identifying talent early in childhood and paying good young athletes sufficient cash that they don’t have to work one or two part time jobs in order to make ends meet AND play their chosen sport. This means they get winners. The soviets did something similar but it involved pumping their athletes so full of drugs that female shot-putters were on the verge of swapping gender. The downside of the Australian model is that there’s not much money left in the public purse to help ordinary people to play sport and be fit and healthy.
    The Finns specialise in a handful of winter sports. They do the same talent identification and payment for good athletes but on a much smaller scale, just for those few sports. This allows them to divert most of their sports development money into sports participation for everyone else. As a result Finnish people are amongst the healthiest in Europe. The downside – if it is a downside – is that if you decide you want to play a sport not in the small number sponsored, then you’re more or less on your own.
    The British can never quite make their minds up about either model – sometimes they gush cash into sports facilities and sponsorship for elite athletes and sometimes they try to build sports centres at the bottom of every street. This tends to change every time we have a new government. As a result, very little gets achieved.
    Where does the US model fit into this. Well, as RJ has so clearly stated, it DOESN’T. There is NO US model and no government funding for anything – if you want to compete in anything aside from the really popular sports watched on US TV then you’d better be good at serving fries and delivering the mail because there’s going to be a lot of that in your life. And if you want to get fit as a mere mortal then you’ll need to be rich enough to use a private gym. Sad…but true.

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