John Clarke on rhythmic gymnastics:
There’s a thing called rhythmic gymnastics, which involves young women leaping through hoops and waving ribbons while rolling on a big mat in attractively coloured shrinkwrap. A friend of mine refers to these as “the cat toy events” and while they’d go well at the Eurovision Song Contest, they’re far too sensible for the Olympics.
I want to see a freak show Olympics where atheletes use every drug known and untested to max out their performance…the current Olympics with their insistence that the atheletes are all drug free 9which they aren’t ) is simply boring…let’s see just how fast someone can run the 100m. But basically the olympics and most of their sport are simply boring. Basically they are non-commercial sports…for purists:
The London Olympics are a festival of athletics for athletics’ sake, a carefully choreographed celebration of branding, and an international pissing contest among global powers. They are all about pageantry and control—for the duration of the games, London has essentially transformed itself into a totalitarian state. Anthems will be played, what would normally be an unseemly amount of nationalistic chest-beating will be allowed, and at the end of it, the countries with the most money to blow on training programs will emerge at the top of the medal leaderboard. You can be upset by any or all of this, or proud, but by the end you’ll almost certainly be tired by the whole fucking thing. That’s because the Olympics are amazingly boring.
We don’t normally watch gymnastics and weightlifting and swimming and diving and dressage and the triathlon, because these things aren’t any fun to watch. At the highest level, they’re incredibly impressive athletic feats that tax the human body to its utmost limits, but so what? When I’m sitting on my couch, my awe at an olympian’s physical prowess wears off after a minute; after that, I have no idea which 14-year-old gymnast is doing what better, or how, unless one of them falls, and from the couch, the triathlon is nothing but a couple hundred people doing something horrible I’m glad I’m not doing. The TV angles on swimming reduces racers to splashes which look like they’re all basically even with each other. Running events are either thrilling and over in ten seconds, or insufferable chores that go on and on and are about as exciting as watching grass grow (sex joke goes here, amiright ladies?). Archery sounds cool until you see it. Ditto for fencing. Rowing doesn’t even sound cool. Dressage is just watching horses walk around. Volleyball and ping pong are surprisingly entertaining, in a stoned-at-2-PM-what’s-on-TV kind of way, but watching an entire game (or set, or whatever) gets dull about the time the weed wears off.