1988: It was a fifth grade project that started it. We had to create a scrapbook of important news articles to follow the 1988 summer Olympic Games and I remember being so interested in the events.
1992: I was obsessed with gymnast Kim Zmeskal (I made a scrapbook then, too). She was my hero – I even wrote her a fan letter. I just loved her incredible focus, drive, and steel will.
1996: I would watch the swimming competitions of the Games while working at my job as a maid at the Best Western. We weren’t supposed to have the TV on while we worked, but I figured an exception could be made for a national event. And, let’s be honest, I was headed to college and really didn’t give a rip if the manager caught me. But those swimming races sure helped to pass the slow, tedious time of making beds and scrubbing toilets.
2006: XGames interest had cued me into a little redheaded snowboarder named Shaun White. He won gold that year in the halfpipe and it was the most exciting thing I’d ever seen! Much like Kim Zmeskal 14 years prior, Shaun White was inspiring. But he was cool, too – I wanted to hang out with him and his laid-back snowboarder buddies…which is weird because I’m not laid-back OR a snowboarder.
2008: I cheered with the rest of the world late into the night as Michael Phelps took gold. Amazing!! Thrilling! And the next day, everyone was talking about it at work, and I was damn proud to be an American.
2010: Ah, a Games so big I’ve rearranged my life/schedule just to be a dedicated observer. Watching the competitions, the interviews, the medal ceremonies - makes me feel like I’m a part of some grand movement; a great band of voices unified in a support for the “home team.” It’s electric. It’s addicting. Current thoughts:
∞ Short Track is the most dangerous sport I’ve ever seen! The speed, the blades, the incredible potential for wipeouts or slicing a body part…ahh! The relay confuses the hell out of me, Apolo Ohno is the coolest athlete to watch in the last few laps of this sport. Oh, and those crazy South Koreans need to chill out – what’s with the hateful spirit toward Ohno, anyway?
∞ Uniforms: Ski Team USA’s look like pajamas. Whose idea was it to create matching, pastel star-covered jackets and pants, anyway? They are silly on the girls and downright embarrassing on the boys. Conversely, the USA Snowboarding uniforms are awesome! That faded/ripped denim look for the pants is genius – I want a pair and I don’t even ski/board. Oh, and I love you, Canada, but your Short Track uniform looks like the athlete spray-farted black all over the ass. Not cute.
∞ Curling is just like a life-sized game of shuffleboard. Who knew?
∞ Men’s Figure Skating…Johnny Weir was robbed in both the short program and the free skate. Sure, his flamboyant style and hot-pink-trimmed costume is over the top, but he skated much better than the score he earned. Plus, he’s pretty,
and that should count for something. Evgeni Plushenko scares the hell out of me with his pelvic-thrusting routine. His haircut channels Joe Elliot of Def Leppard circa 1983, and while I do love Joe, this isn’t a good thing. He’s the sorest, most arrogant silver medalist I’ve ever seen and, furthermore, has a routine in his repertoire that involves fake muscles, an ice rink strip show, and the song “Sex Bomb.” Horrifying…watch it here. And my newest love, Evan Lysacek, is the most humble and soft-spoken athlete I’ve seen yet. Determined, unique, adorable and genuine, he so righteously deserved that gold medal.
∞ Snowboarding was sort of slow, believe it or not. Snowboard X was flat without Lindsey Jacobellis. Women’s halfpipe was blah compared to the men’s, and the men’s was blah compared to Shaun White.
∞ ...and speaking of my long-term love, Shaun White…that guy is such a rock star. Wins the gold and still throws down an even higher-scoring victory lap. Fierce, savvy, goofy, and sweet. A little conceited, but endearingly so. And just when you think he might be too far into fame to embody that surfer-dude snowboarder culture, he does the air guitar during the National Anthem at his medal ceremony. Freaking awesome. And the hair – oh, that beautiful hair! I wanna be his friend…maybe I’ll write him a fan letter.
I love the Olympics J