The Summer Olympics have never been quite as interesting to me as the Winter Olympics. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I paid any serious attention to the Summer Games.
Not so this year. I’m not sure why, but I was ready to see it even before I knew much about Michael Phelps.
I think it was because I was curious about China. Not so much the controversy because of China’s Human Rights violations, because I new that was coming. Spielberg chose on the side of boycott. Me? I think communication, open and available, is always better. The rest of the world isn’t going to be sanctioning or (goddess forbid) militarily threatening China any time soon. Silence only lets existing reality continue, gathering dangerous momentum.
The more that China participates in the larger universe, the more likely it will begin to find parity with the majority opinion of how human beings should be treated (for that matter, maybe the USA will find parity, too. Thanks, W.!).
Anyway, being a gay man and knowing other gay men, the obvious cat-calls happen and it turns out that that’s the primary opinion others have of the Olympics: men in speedos! big-upper-body boys doing gymnastics!
I’m guilty of that somewhat: I admit that the male water polo players are…compelling.
But my favorite event—diving—is different to my favorite athletes: Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor.
Those two women are incredible to watch. I’ve been fast-forwarding through a lot of the shows, skimming the events that I don’t really find accessible. Motocross, fencing, etc. No disrespect to those athletes, but I’d burn myself out—and get nothing done—if I watched 8-hours-a-day in real time.
I can’t stop watching May-Treanor/Walsh. Well I can, I guess, because they just won the Gold!
There was a human-interest story about Misty. Both her parents were successful athletes. Dad was in the ‘68 Olympics; Mom was a tennis and volleyball star. Misty’s mom died five or six years ago, and in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, after they won a gold medal, Misty took a small amount of her mom’s ashes and spread them over the sand after they won. I cried.
Today, she did the same. More of mom’s ashes, now in Beijing.
What a beautiful thing. Her mom is in Athens and now in Beijing.
Oh, and for the record, it was the team’s 108th consecutive victory.