Under-age gymnasts, bikini-clad cheerleaders, exotic locations, arcane sports . . . bring it on! I love the Olympics. For 102 weeks, I disdain sports, then for two weeks I can't get enough. The Olympics: pomp, circumstance, spectacle, politics, scandal, international circus and, oh yes, there are a few games thrown in, too.
My favorite part is the opening ceremonies, specifically the Parade of Nations. Unfortunately, the commentators rarely talk about what interests me most: what are they wearing?* I submit my recommendations for medals in the Best-dressed Nation at the opening ceremony. Few recognize the difficulty. From pixie gymnasts and beefy weightlifters, all the athletes have to look good in the same uniform.
The medals for the 2008 Summer Olympiad are:
Gold-Gambia. Sky-blue dashikis with matching skullcaps. Fabulous!
Silver-Sweden. The Swedish women wore traditional Chinese cheongsam in the colors of the Swedish flag, blue with yellow piping. Clever and stylish.
Bronze-France. They're French. They always look good.
Chinese officials deemed a seven-year-old too ugly to sing on TV, but permitted a whole contingent of Hungarian female athletes to appear wearing hideous, loud, dowdy schmattes and dopey hats.* Go figure.
Second worst, the Russian team, whose male athletes wore traditional high-necked peasant blouses under modern blazers. Traditional, modern, hot and unattractive.
The little boy walking with Yao Ming had an upside-down flag. So what. Now that the flag manufacturer and the kid-wrangler have been thrown in prison, is it any improvement that on the video the kid is waving an empty fist?
As ever, the television coverage was woefully incomplete. I didn't see Ms. Bug Catcher whose job it was to catch moths in a giant net at the nighttime tennis matches. I missed the "Sandboni" at the beach volleyball, too. After the swimming events, Michael Phelps removed his prosthetic legs and swam home to Atlantis under cover of secrecy, but I would have liked to have seen that, too.
Track and Field events provided a batch of new aptonyms: Usain BOLT, Dee Dee TROTTER and mis-aptly-named Jamaican runner, Melane WALKER.
See you in two years for the 2010 Winter Olympiad!
*Even the on-air commentators mentioned these horrors!