The Olympics have pretty much been unavoidable -- they're all over the internet, TV, and the news, and some of it has been thrilling, some scandalous and some just disappointing. It's been the big topic of conversation around the water cooler and, frankly, it's exhausting to try and keep up with it all and sound intelligent, especially if you had to watch an average of about, say, 10 hours of coverage a day so you could write a daily blog. (Just as an example...) So while we've enjoyed the hype and the fun, we're glad this only comes around every four years (or two, if you count winter, and really, do we need to start counting that?) because we're just looking forward to getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. And that thing... what's it called again? Oh yeah, a life.
1. No longer feeling like a slacker because I didn't achieve international success at the age of 16.
With all of these stories of heartbreak and triumph of the human spirit come tales of being plucked out of a local gymboree or kiddie pool because they were child prodigies, and now, at the tender age of 16 (or younger, if you're a Chinese gymnast), they've come to the world stage to perform at the peak of their career and win a shiny gold medal, which basically sets them up for life. Sure it was a lot of hard work, but some of these young athletes are basically retired already. At least now I can go back to berating myself for not having the foresight to invent a social networking site when I was in high school. Sigh.
2. No More Mary Carillo.
Unless you watch tennis. Which I don't. So therefore, I can pretend that Mary Carillo has ceased to exist. No longer will I have to suffer through her pointless and misguided trips around China, where she made stupid remarks that were basically insulting to the country and made her look like a big idiot. Perhaps it isn't entirely her fault; someone must have given her the impression along the way that she was funny and not idiotic at all. Bob Costas, I blame you.
3. A return to sleeping normal sleeping habits.
No more watching random sports until 2 AM for this girl! No longer will I stay up to see live airings of the pommel horse or wake up insanely early to scan through the DVR'd tapings of open water swimming or archery to see who won and if anyone did anything cool. No, instead I hope to fall back into my reality TV obsessions and pass out watching reruns of Scrubs at 11:30.
4. A return to not caring about beach volleyball and sports in general.
In the two weeks of the Olympics, I've become an expert on the rules of pretty much every sport. What makes a good dive? When are points and fouls scored in beach volleyball, field hockey and handball? I'm filled with information on all of the frontrunners in the sports, and I could practically judge trampoline myself. I can talk a good game about pretty much any sport out there. But I don't really even care about athletic endeavors in the Olympic off-season. I know the rules of baseball and basketball, and that's about it -- God forbid you ask me which teams are winning, or who the players are. I'd like to return to that blissfully ignorant sporty state. I also hope to divest my brain of facts like the names of Nastia's parents, where Katie Hoff trains or the name of Dara Torres' daughter, and instead use some brain cells to watch and critique Worst Week.
5. Being able to tell what time it actually is.
With things airing live -- while it's sunny out -- at night, and things filmed the day before -- when it's dark out -- airing at various times of the day, figuring out when any competition actually happened, or what day it truly is has been a challenge. It's like a freaking word problem: If Ryan performed in the semifinals at 10 PM Beijing time, but they didn't air it here until 11:45 AM ET, what color uniform is he wearing? Honestly, I'm too old for the SATs. So I'm looking forward to focusing on just one time zone for a while, because my head hurts from all of that.
6. Watching the closing ceremonies to figure out what has been CGI'd or lip-synched.
The opening ceremonies were majestic. From the stomping firework footsteps that crossed Beijing to the beautiful Bird's Nest stadium, to the most adorable girl with a golden voice gliding around. Wait... that all turned out to be faked (more or less). Still, a lot of the cool stuff with the 2008 synchronized people was real (at least, we haven't been told otherwise... yet), so China's got to be aware that all eyes will be carefully watching to see what's for real and what they've "enhanced." I may even make a drinking game out of it.
7. Finally finding out which American really has talent.
Sorry, trained athletes, do you really think you can compete with a four-year-old singer with a lisp? Hardly. America's Got Talent, the stupidest and most never-ending "talent" showcase ever, will finally be able to finish its run, which was put on hold for the Olympic games. Seriously, a woman smashing soda cans with her boobs is just as impressive as someone running 100 meters in less than ten seconds. Or at least, that's what the ever-present commercials for this show have brainwashed me to believe.
8. Not having to hear the nickname "Lightning" in conjunction with Usain Bolt for four more years.
I get that the broadcasters need to come up with clever ways to talk about these people in order to make them more appealing to the viewing public, but hearing them repeated over and over again just makes me want to smash my TV with a blunt object -- and that's just not right, because I love my television. It's done nothing wrong. It's not the TV's fault that the words "Redeem Team" and "Lighting Bolt" get me all riled up into a Hulk-like frenzy. Again, I blame Bob Costas.
9. No longer having to watch Costas try and work the name Michael Phelps into every interview.
Phelps was arguably the big draw of this Olympics, but between his close races and him actually becoming the most decorated Olympian in blah, blah, blah, Costas (and pretty much every other reporter out there) found ways of shoehorning Phelps's name into conversation in the most awkward of ways. "Who has the shinier gold medal, you, or Michael Phelps?" "What was it like working along side of Michael Phelps and helping him to become the megastar he is?" "You brought Michael Phelps a sandwich once at the Olympic village, what was that like?" Nothing against Phelps -- I like the goofy kid -- it's just that the obvious mentions of the golden boy's name seemed like desperate pandering for ratings. "Hey, remember when you were excited to see if this kid could break Mark Spitz's record? We're going to keep talking about it! Just please don't stop watching. Pretty please? We'll even show some more gymnastics, too! Promise!"
10. The inevitable string of endorsements can begin!
During these games, there have been commercials for many a product. And the smart products found ways to get former Olympians involved: like swimmer Summer Sanders for Johnson & Johnson (she just loves being a mom!) and former gymnast Shannon Miller for Claritin (she can finally breathe again!). So with that in mind, I'm sure there's a ton of potential ones coming. I've even got some suggestions. Reigning balance bar queen Shawn Johnson, who just couldn't stop smiling, is the perfect model for a teeth-whitening company. Lolo Jones, who was devastated by her loss on the track, can hawk some antidepressants. Michael Phelps is the perfect spokesperson for ADHD medication (since we were reminded pretty much every other minute that his ADHD was the reason he started swimming). And maybe even Nastia Liukin for Ex-Lax... that's if these rumors are true. If not, maybe the sourpuss champion can just get to work on her autobiography, because with those parents, you know it's going to be juicy!
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