Tag Archives: beijing olympics 2008

just six words and a picture.

Here is the Chinese Gymnastics team is totally underage edition. (Note: Olympic gymnasts must be at least 16 in the year of the Olympics. Click here to read how China cheated) Below is all the evidence I needed. Haha :

Glitter? Yup. She is DEFINITELY fourteen.

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my complicated relationship with the olympics.

As I’ve said before, I really do love the Olympics. (Kathleen does too.) It’s one of those things that you can’t help but anticipate, even if you’re not a die-hard Olympic fan (which I surely am not). It’s like the Superbowl, or Christmas: whether or not you really care about the event, and even if the event is sort of a letdown because you don’t follow football or your relatives are crazy, it’s still great to look forward to it and then eat lots of appropriately themed foods.

In honor of my excitement for the Opening Ceremonies this Friday, I have proposed a Beer Olympics with my nearest and dearest New Jersey friends. We’ll see if it actually works out. I’ve always wanted to participate in some sort of drinking Olympics, and until now, I’d never gotten the chance. Then again, things like that always sound good in theory, and then are kind of miserable in practice (read: case races). But I digress.

What I wanted to tell you is that things like this MSN slideshow make me even more excited for the Olympics. I mean, who doesn’t get all jazzed about pictures like this:

But then I read articles like Sally Jenkins’ “Partners in Grime” (WashPo), and I get all depressed. In the article, she first talks about the terrible pollution in Beijing, which is so bad that some athletes have even had to drop out of the Games:

Athletes are threatening to skip the Opening Ceremonies because they’re afraid the environment of the host city will sicken them or compromise their medal chances, and distance runner Haile Gebrselassie dropped out of the marathon because the fumes are too heavy for him to run that distance.

How awful is that? Can you imagine waiting FOUR YEARS for your Olympic shot and then not getting to compete because of the polluted air? I would not be happy.

On top of the International Olympic Committee’s disregard for the health of its athletes, it appears the Olympics are just one big money-making scheme, just like everything else in this world. And I guess if I thought about it, I knew that, but it’s so much more fun to pretend that it’s still all about the love of the game (which, hopefully it still is for most of the athletes). Here’s Jenkins’ take:

So what is this Olympics really about? It’s about 12 major corporations and their panting ambitions to tap into China’s 1.3 billion consumers, the world’s third-largest economy. Understand this: The International Olympic Committee is nothing more than a puppet for its corporate “partners,” without whom there would be no Games. These major sponsors pay the IOC’s bills for staging the Olympics to the tune of $7 billion per cycle. Without them, and their designs on the China market, Beijing probably would not have won the right to host the Summer Games.

Plus, there are all sorts of human rights violations going on, with people being jailed unnecessarily and generally treated like crap so that Beijing can “look good” for the Olympics. (And this NY Times article unearths a pretty sad truth: that literal walls are being put up to block homes and shops that aren’t deemed appropriate for Olympic visitors to see.) Depressing, right? It’s upsetting that an event which was supposed to be about a pretty pure thing has become more about politics and business, and has often led to a good amount of protests and violence.

Sigh. Enough Debbie Downer-ing for one day, eh?

[Posted by Mallory]

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meet the fuwa: fugly olympic mascots.

Politics of it aside, I totally have Olympic fever (obvious, I know.) And for some bizarre reason, the mascot of each Olympic games is a huge deal. The only mascot I ever remember is from the Atlanta games, because it was just that ugly. Also, I was interviewed on the streets of Philly by the local news and asked to describe it. At the tender age of 10, I oh-so-eloquently described it as a “deformed duck”. Blame it on my youth, but at the time I neglected to call it what it most closely resembled–a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air styled big blue slug. I feel it is important to note that it was also referred to as “sperm in sneakers”. I snickered at that one. Here is Izzy, world’s fugliest Olympic mascot:

The name Izzy, by the way, comes from “Whatizit?”. Haha. How 90s (read: tacky/lame/awesome/those shoes) is that?

Anyway, the Wall Street Journal (which I usually never read, by the way. Too business like and boring. But it was about the Olympics, so…) had an interesting piece yesterday about the Beijing Games’ Mascots. All five of them. So these monsters are called the Fuwa. But I’m just going to say it now because it needs to be said and it is so painfully obvious: THEY LOOK LIKE FREAKING POKEMON. Here they are, gotta catch ’em all!:

According to the artist, who is not feeling so good about his work, these are children–with animal qualities. On which planet, buddy? Because the second one looks legit straight up panda to me. I bet the other children at school make fun of him. And force him to eat bamboo. Oh, and what in god’s name is the yellow one, you ask? A golden lucifer? Beijing Olympic Mr. Tumnus, perhaps? Well, duh, it’s a Tibetan antelope. But wait a second…aren’t Tibet and China in some sort of political conflict? And I thought antelopes were in Africa? Nah, nevermind.

So what do you think of these? Will you collect them all? And how pumped are you for the Olympics? By the way, the start date is August 8, 2008. Or, more cleverly and easily marketed, 08.08.08. Nice.

[Posted by Kathleen]

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my olympic dreams may be attainable.

I have found it! The sport that I am going to pursue to get to the Olympics. I used to think I was going to get there on the US Curling team, but I realize that I hate cold weather and I’m not entirely sure what the point of Curling is…so….summer sports it is! Back in 1996, I used to dream of being an Olympic runner. HA! I still haven’t really left my bed since waking up this morning and it’s past noon. So imagine my intrigue when I realized walking was an Olympic sport! That’s right, an Olympic sport. All of a sudden, the Olympic theme is pounding in my head and I’m having sports glory visions. I imagine myself hanging my Olympic gold next to my Pulitzer and Nobel prizes, smiling, eating a tub of frosting, watching a Disney movie and calling it a night. But back to reality. I could walk for miles! I have large calf muscles and long legs, this sounds great!

Upon my research (aka I frantically Wikipedia’ed it), I learned a couple very important things. One foot always needs to be on the ground while racewalking (that is the sport’s official term) so it isn’t running and, according to Wikipedia, “The second rule requires that the supporting leg must straighten from the point of contact with the ground and remain straightened until the body passes over it.” Sure, whatev.

Most racewalkers walk at a pace that is faster than those rare times when I do go for a run. Ouch. So I realize I have some training to do. And many racewalking Olympians are as old as Dara Torres. So I’ve got time! Here is a video of competitive racewalking. Don’t they look like a bunch of penguins or something? What comes to mind for me is a girl I graduated high school with that swung her hips like that in an attempt to look sexy. Hmm.

Dear readers, I’m going to end this post with a confession and a little known fact: Mallory and I used to be powerwalkers. It’s true–we used to powerwalk in the neighborhood adjacent to our beautiful campus. But I’m serious about my Olympic dreams. So look out for me and Mal in 2012 when we hit the streets of London not running, but walking at an incredibly fast pace.

And just because, here is a goofy YouTube video I found on racewalking. I have to say, the use of the Cake song in this is pure genius.

[Posted by Kathleen]

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