The longer you watch the Olympics, the more the suckitude intrudes. Why is golf an Olympic sport? Why are zillionaire American pros permitted to play Olympic tennis? Why can’t any of these color commentators just shut the hell up once in a while?
And of course, why do idiots keep weighing in on Simone Biles’ “mental health?” I put it in quotes because the way some of them talk, you’d think she’s hallucinating demons perched on the uneven bars, when it seems pretty clear what is happening: She’s had enough, and she’s done, and she’s not going to risk breaking her neck for the entertainment of a bunch of fat-asses in Barcaloungers, and that’s that.
With all we’ve learned about women’s gymnastics in recent years, isn’t it time for us to shut up and listen to them? I think so. I also think it’s grimly hilarious that the people who are saying but-but-but-Kerri-Strug and but-but-but-the-Magnificent-Seven can now hear directly from Strug and, oh, Dominique Moceanu, and they and others who have been in Biles’ shoes are all saying, girl, you did the right thing. Also, Rachael Denhollander:
Hey America- ya'll praising the "results " of the old system- did you know that our elite athletes were systematically starved so severely that at competitions many of them would walk the halls of the hotels eating scraps of food from food service trays put out as garbage?
— Rachael Denhollander (@R_Denhollander) July 28, 2021
And many, many more.
Even Mitch Albom got up off his cash-stuffed bed and phoned in some piece of shit I won’t link to because it’s paywalled and also, it sucks. But here’s one passage:
“At the end of the day, we’re human, too,” she told the media. ”We have to protect our mind and our body, rather than go out there and do what the world wants us to do.”
It’s hard to argue with that sentence. It’s just weird to hear it at the Olympics — in a sport that is defined by Olympic performances. It’d be one thing if Tom Brady stepped away from Game 15 of the regular season, saying he was burned out or needed a break. It’d be another thing if he did it after the first snap of the Super Bowl.
As many have pointed out: When Tom Brady has a bad day at work, he throws interceptions. When Simone Biles does, she can end up in a wheelchair.
Of course, only idiots still read Albom. Meanwhile, in the Washington Post, Sally Jenkins wrote one outstanding column about her and USA Gymnastics, may that outfit rot in hell, today. She had another really good one on the utter idiocy of the debates over what female athletes should wear in their performances two days ago.
But both of those are paywalled, and this one isn’t, by my old colleague Dave Jones, about the malign influence of one ambitious NBC executive on the Olympics and, by extension, every American who watched or competed:
The outgoing network showcased the athletes of the world and told us their stories. It could be Ethiopian marathoner Abebe Bikila or Kenyan 1,500- and 5,000-meter specialist Kip Keino or Russian gymnast Olga Korbut or Russian weightlifter Vasily Alekseyev or Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci – as well as the great American champions such as swimmer Mark Spitz, skaters Peggy Fleming and Dorothy Hamill, decathlete Bruce Jenner and gymnast Mary Lou Retton and diver Greg Louganis. Whatever and whoever the great stories were, ABC found them, regardless of nationality. Which is, after all the ideal of the Olympics.
Under Ebersol’s command at NBC, all that changed. Obsession with Americans and only Americans, to the point of almost jingoism, was the theme. Nobody else was worth personalizing. Foreigners were essentially made adversaries. The nightly medal count became paramount.
Ebersol was the man who gave us schlockmeister John Tesh as a preeminent event host, complete with his… what would you call them – illustrated lyrical narratives? – before the ’92 Barcelona Games women’s gymnastics sessions. If a Celine Dion ballad of the era could have been whipped for 90 seconds in a Cuisinart with a tablespoon of orchid nectar, it would have emerged as a John Tesh NBC Olympics essay.
And it’s a fun read, too.
Finally, Danny Raskin died this week. He was 102. You probably don’t know who that is. A columnist for the Jewish News here in Detroit for no fewer than 80 years, he wrote a restaurant/around town column called “Best of Everything.” This was the best obit, and the kicker is hilarious:
Scott Raskin said his father was wearing his customary suit and tie when they went to lunch at the Stage Deli in West Bloomfield shortly before the onset of COVID-19.
Mr. Raskin, then 101, spoke briefly to another diner there, a bent and aged-looking woman Scott Raskin guessed to be around 80.
Then “he turned to me,” he said, “and told me, ‘I dated her mother. She was a looker.'”
And with that? Another storm is coming, high winds, so better get this posted in case the power goes out.