Can it really be four years since we watched Stephanie Rice tear up the pool for a new world record in the four hundred medley?
Hold on. What was that I just wrote? Did I really just type the words, ‘tear up the pool’?
Yes, I did.
That’s what the Olympics does. It changes us from normal, calm citizens into crazed experts who speak like Bruce McEveney on speed.
The weirdest thing is – we remain expert for all of two weeks, then forget about the modern pentathlon for another four years.
But when the that big old lamp is lit, whether it’s in a bowl, on a stick, in a tube or an oversize brandy balloon, the Olympic games is what it’s all about.
I’m not normally a sports nut. I umpire my eight year old’s netball, I go along to the odd AFL game because my mum and my son love it, and I find listening to Test cricket in the car oddly relaxing. But the Olympics gets me going. I have compiled a list of the reasons why:
1. The clothes. It’s like a fashion parade, but with models of all shapes and sizes. No wonder designers are slammed. Getting together an ensemble which suits both a 14 year old whippet of a gymnast and a 150kg Greco-Roman wrestler must be something of a challenge. Nothing more fun than texting your mates late at night, ‘LOL check out the Lithuanians. WTF?’
2. The perv factor. Mens. Diving.
3. The medal tally. Endless office discussion here. How many bronzes equals a gold?
4.A bit of national chest-puffery. Yes, we are well behind the Chinese but they have about a bazillion people more than us, so per capita, Australia is the best.
5. The generous use of ‘we’. As in, ‘Did you hear we won a silver in the Women’s Volleyball?’ During the Olympics, we are all champions, even if it’s been years since we owned a pair of sandshoes.
6. The fun game of, ‘My cousin went to school with the brother of a guy who’s in the 400m hurdles.’ This year my Olympic ties are absurdly tight. Get this – my kids’ school Librarian (Fran) has a son looking at selection for Water Polo. I believe his name is Rob. I feel like I know him.
7. It’s okay to be late / tired / hungover, because it’s the OLYMPICS. I was lucky enough to be living in Sydney in 2000. Despite all the pre-games bleating, (Where will we park? The trains will be so crowded!) it was fan-bloody-tastic. The city seemed to be taking some kind of happy-pill and no one at work batted an eyelid if you packed up at 2pm saying, ‘I’m off! You wouldn’t believe it but I scored tickets to the hockey semi-final. Pakistan vs Croatia!) Now, on a regular weekend, if anyone had offered me tickets to a hockey match, even a world championship, I would have paid not to go.
But this was the Olympics so normal rules did not apply.
And come July 27 when somebody very famous puts a flame to astonishing vessel in London, the rules will be suspended again, for two weeks only.
I can’t wait.
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What is it about the Olympics that brings out the sports nut in you?