Monday, August 6, 2012

Microphones, please. The Commentators are speaking.

Lately, most talk around the water cooler, lunch table, and phone conversations revolves around the Olympic games. We’ve all suddenly become experts and commentators.

“Her splash was too big.”

“She bounced. They’re going to deduct for that.”

As if we know anything about the finer points of gymnastics, water polo, synchronized swimming, or dressage.

Of course, we all piped in, too, with our predictions as to whether this really was Michael Phelps’ last Olympic competition. We debated whether Oscar Pitorius should be allowed to compete in both the regular and Paralympic games. We talked about Jordyn Wieber’s unfair exclusion from the all-around gymnastics competition (I think you know where I stood on that debate) and constantly changing judging criteria in gymnastics that is sure to change again before the next games.

Basically, we talk about little else. We were all Olympics, all the time.

But we’re not the only ones. Apparently, the world is talking, tweeting and blasting comments about the games, NBC, and the athletes. Gabby Douglas is being criticized for her hair style. Carmelita Jeter is accused of being both a cheater and (secretly) a man. The Chinese are accused of somehow rigging swimming events. The U.S. Men’s Basketball team should have held back when they started slaughtering  the Nigerian team and won by 83 points.

Everyone’s got an opinion. Everyone’s a sports commentator now. I, among them.

It’s easy to sit in our living rooms and become armchair judges on things we know little about. I think it’s only natural as we get caught up in the thrill of victory and agony of defeat of the Olympians on stage. At our best, we are avid fans cheering on our teams. At our worst, we are gossipmongers detracting from the games. But the bottom line is, we’re engaged in watching these incredible athletes and feel vested in their performances. I love watching the Olympics and enjoy learning the back stories of so many of the athletes. I try to ignore the mud-slinging, but take it for what it is: more commentary on the 30th Olympiad games; a little piece of history.


  1. I love watching the Olympics. I just love it. But I hate what you are saying about the gossip mongers. Gabby's hair? Really? Please, can't we find something a little more important to criticize, like perhaps the national debt?

    1. I know, Liza. It's crazy. And what's worse is that Gabby (and Carmelita, and others) are made aware of these tweets and comments in the midst of their Olympic appearances. I can't imagine how it must feel to be scrutinized about something as ridiculous as a hairstyle when you're trying to give the athletic performance of a lifetime.