Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cynic Succumbs to Mild Case of Olympic Fever

I really wanted to hate the Olympics this year.

There's the whole Chinese political thing. And the pollution thing. And the typical uber-nationalist coverage from NBC where nothing interesting happens in any event unless it's happening to an American ("Yawn... so somebody with a name I can't pronounce from a country I couldn't find with Wikipedia and a GPS just set a world record... BUT LOOK AT THE HEART BEING SHOWN BY AMERICAN BOB SMITH, PROUDLY STRUGGLING TO A LAST PLACE FINISH ON THE ANKLE HE BROKE DURING LAST NIGHT'S BEER BENDER! TRULY, THIS IS ONE FOR THE AGES!")

But dammit, I keep watching. And I've even been sucked into the local angle, West Des Moines gymnast Shawn Johnson, the Mary Lou of ought-eight. How can you not love a kid who's been immortalized in butter sculpture at our State Fair?

Still, I have noted a couple things with my usual level of snarkiness.

One, isn't it interesting that American corporations are actually paying for the privilege of doing Chinese propaganda? Just watch for the pro-China subtext in the advertising and ask yourself how much NBC charged for that time. The Chinese government must be laughing all the way to Tibet watching U.S. companies shell out big bucks (relatively big, that is -- they are American bucks, after all) to give China a more positive brand identity.

Two, I love the choice of sponsors for an athletic event. "Years of rigorous training, hours of workouts each day, all leading to this one extraordinary feat of athleticism... and now a word from McDonalds, Coca-Cola, and Budweiser." Seeing as cycling is an Olympic event (though you wouldn't know it from watching NBC, which leads me to believe that no Americans bothered to enter those races), I intend to change my training regimen to the Olympic Sponsor Diet: Big Macs, Cherry Coke, and Bud Light. I'm sure it will shave precious seconds off my personal best time-to-vomit.


Dick said...

Did you see the profile on Michael Phelps?

He's 6'4", eats 6000 calories a day and hasn't gotten over 200 lbs. with his workout schedule. He doesn't cook and eats most of his meals from restaurants. Some of the ones they showed him eating at didn't look much better than McD's.

So maybe the whole Olympics, not just the coverage, is an ad for bad nutritional role models. :-)

Jason Nunemaker: said...

There's just one catch to the Michael Phelps training plan for me: It involves swimming. Like all the other men in my family, I view swimming the way strict fundamentalists view sex: It's for business, not pleasure. I describe my swimming skills as, "Good enough to stay alive if I should happen to fall into a shallow pool."

I did, however, try the Michael Phelps nutrition plan tonight, breaking up my 50-mile ride with an Arby's sandwich, curly fries, and Jamocha shake. I was able to finish the ride with some gas left in the tank, so maybe I'm on to something (he said, trolling for an Arby's sponsorship...)