Here is the Olympic beach volleyball edition:
Hopefully he’s got the midas touch.
[Posted by Kathleen]
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]
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]
Like all good red-blooded Americans, I love the Olympics. The Summer Olympics have always been my favorite, since the days when my friend Anne and I set up a gymnastics course for our Barbies and got in big trouble for cutting off one of the doll’s hair so that she’d look more like Kerri Strug. I also love the Summer Olympics because I used to be moderately hardcore swimmer, and I’m pretty pumped because the Olympics Trials for swimming take place this week in Omaha, Nebraska.
I swam year-round for about six years, and looking back a couple years later, I’m shocked at my dedication. I was never an earth-shatteringly good swimmer; I was more of a solid member of a good relay team, and the closest I ever got to the Olympics was watching them on TV. Still, swimming takes a lot of practice, even for swimmers of my level. Back in the day, my summers were filled with two-a-day practices, which included about two hours of swimming each, plus some form of dryland training. Now if I manage to stay on a treadmill for 30 minutes I pat myself on the back. Sad, isn’t it?
The point is, after a mere six years of pretty consistent hard work, I was more or less burnt out and done with the sport. Which is part of why I’m floored by the story of Dara Torres.
The 41-year-old Torres broke her first world record in the 50 freestyle when she was 14, in 1982, and has been competing at the Olympic level ever since. That makes for about a quarter-century of really freaking hard work (with a couple of fake retirements thrown in). According to the New York Times’ profile of Torres, if she makes the Olympic team this year, it will be her fifth time on the team, making her the first American to compete in five Olympics AND the oldest female swimmer in the history of the Games. She’ll be competing against people who were born after she set her first world record. I’ll be lucky if I’m still able to stay afloat in a pool at 41.
According to the article, Torres is crazy dedicated and super competitive, and it takes “a head coach, a sprint coach, a strength coach, two stretchers, two masseuses, a chiropractor and a nanny,” to keep her performing at an Olympic level. And did I mention she has a child? Just a few months after her daughter, Tessa Grace, was born in 2006, she raced at the Masters World Championships.
I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on Torres this week, along with her fellow old-timer, 33-year-old rebel Gary Hall, Jr. Both will be competing in the 50 freestyle, with the men’s finals on Saturday, July 5, and the women’s finals on Sunday the 6th.
Here’s a photo of Torres looking crazy in-shape with her daughter, Tessa:
And one of Gary Hall Jr.:
Good luck, you two crazy kids!
[Posted by Mallory]