Is it safe to come out yet? Are they gone? The Olympics, I mean. That big bundle of blatantly silly, sweaty*1 activity that staggers across our screens every four years*2 in a senseless, pointless display of blatant commercialism. In a world were money talks and bullshit walks, here it runs. Or rides a bike. Or swims. Or plays baseball. Or possibly basketball.
And this time around, bullshit rode a BMX. Really. Ugh.
A traditionalist at heart, I lost interest in the Olympics about fifty years before I was born. Team games are not Olympic sports. The Olympics are about individual achievement, not how much money your country can pour into the events. Basketball is not an Olympic sport. Baseball is not a sport, never mind an Olympic sport. Beach volleyball? Give me a break*3. Football should not be in there*4.
And professional athletes? Are you kidding? So, like, the all-professional USA basketball team who, remember, get paid multi-million dollar salaries to play the game every day, took on an amateur Spanish team and won, and everybody is sitting around with their jaws dropped. Are you kidding? Hellooooo.. Pros?
Look, I realise that Michael Phelps is the only living proof that women and dolphins can produce viable offspring, but as a guy who gets paid to swim, he has no place is a decent Olympics. It wasn't that long ago that the Olympic committee were arguing over whether being a skiing instructor counted as making a living from skiing, and thus made one a professional skier, and therefore ineligible for Olympic competition. Now we have a guy getting million dollar bonuses for every medal he wins?
Don't get me wrong, what the guy has achieved is amazing. More gold than anyone in history, and second only to Larissa Latynina in total number of medals, and she's retired whereas Phelps probably has another Olympics (or maybe even two - in 2016 he'll be 31, older than most Olympians but by no means too old to compete) in him. The IOC needs to make up its mind about pro athletes. Having some sports allow all-pro, some only having semi-pro, and some rare (like boxing) still insisting on all-amateur, it's a mish-mash of silliness.
If the IOC are intent on upholding the Olympic ideal, ban all professional participation. If they are intent on showcasing the world's best sporting talents, remove all restrictions. But go one way or another, yes? Shit, as they say, or get off the pot.
Still, I was proud to see that Great Britain won 19 gold, 4th behind China (51), USA (36), and Russia (23) and 47 medals total, again 4th behind USA (110), China (100) and Russia (72).
Of course, there's still one Olympic pleasure available. That of the running. Specifically, the long-distance running. The 3000m, the 1500m, the marathon, where some stick insect who weighs 9 stone holding a suitcase full of lard, who probably trains by running around the dirt track that encircles his village, from an impoverished African nation whose total contribution to his Olympic bid was the clothes he's standing in and his plane ticket, who goes out onto the field and proceeds who whup the absolute pants off of all the multi-million dollar athletes from rich countries who train in climate-controlled facilities with legions of coaches and computer-aided training schedules.
That's the Olympic spirit, right there.
*1: Any activity that involves sweat but not at least one orgasm is clearly and obviously silly, ridiculous and entirely without merit.
*2: I don't count the Winter Olympics as being as bad as the Summer Olympics. At least at the Winter games there is the prospect of seeing a tobogganist crash on the first turn and then complete the entire course on his arse.
*3: Hate the game; love the women in tiny bikinis bouncing around. Not a sport, more like really soft porn. The only things that could improve beach volleyball are oil or thongs. Both, preferably.
*4: No, I don't mean "soccer". Soccer is a game played on lazy Sunday afternoons whilst waiting for the pub to open, and involves two piles of coats as a goal and one person inefficiently trying to explain the offside rule. Football is The Beautiful Game, involving 22 men, green grass, and a football. Where you use your feet.