Sunday, August 21, 2016

Gone Games

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games have come to a close, but before I go back to watching 80s TV shows on Netflix, I'd like to mention a few things about The Games....

First off, even though I watched lots of swimming and track races again this year, I did catch some new events! Such as...

Trampoline. People bouncing really high! And doing flips! I had never seen this competition before; in fact, I was sure it must be a brand-new event. But I guess it's actually been around since 2000. Even so, super fun to watch. Boingggg!

Canoe Slalom: You know what I find boring? Olympic rowing races. Maybe because the camera usually just shows a closeup on four people moving their arms in a repetitive motion for what seems like an hour. Meh. But this year I watched the Canoe Slalom events, and what a difference rapids and obstacles make! Totally fun! 

Equestrian Jumping: Okay, I know equestrian competitions have been around forever, but ANIMALS GET TO BE IN THE OLYMPICS, YOU GUYS! I love that.

The winner of the Equestrian "Jump-Off" I watched the other day was show rider Nick Skelton from the U.K., along with his horse, Big Star. I'm not sure how old Big Star is, but Mr. Skelton is 58, which in Olympic Years means he's pretty much Methuselah

Which brings me to something that's been bothering me the past two weeks: The Olympic commentators have an annoying way of making me feel old. They love to talk about the athletes' ages. "This guy's only 18! Wow, what a prodigy!" "This guy's 28, oh... he's getting up there..." "Michael Phelps is 31; gettin' ready to retire!" 

Apparently, anyone over the age of about 32, myself included, is officially geriatric. 

And I get it; I mean, there's a scientific link between age and health and physical fitness/stamina. People in their late teens and twenties are often in their physical prime. They make up the largest number of Olympic competitors. They win a lot of medals. Older people, people over 30, well, we have brittle bones and are prone to gout and should really just go sit in a museum and wait for the end to come.


But perhaps because I'm now considered "Olympically Old," I found particular pleasure, this year, in the stories involving athletes who were, well, older. Like Mr. Skelton, the equestrian. Or Kristin Armstrong, 43, who won Gold in the women's cycling time trial.

One lady I really wanted to raise a glass to was Oksana Chusovitina, 41, a gymnast who has actually been competing in the Olympic games since 1992. At her SEVENTH Olympic Games, she flew over the vault like a... well, name your airborne object. In a sport where nearly everyone peaks at about 18 and retires by 25 to become a commentator, coach, or 7th Heaven guest star, Ms. Chusovitina is like, "Where's the vault? Oh, that tiny lil thing? Run, run, run, WHEEEEE! Ha ha! Suck it, teenagers!" (Not her actual words, but, you know.)

Anyway, that's it for 2016. In four years (2020, for the mathematically challenged) the Summer Games will take place in Tokyo. I intend to be watching. I just hope my retirement home has cable TV.

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