Sunday, August 17, 2008

Beijing Beef

I am nothing if not a huge Olympics fan. I can remember watching every Olympics back to 1988 in Seoul when the roid-racing Ben Johnson blew everyone away with a 9.79 in the 100m dash. He was disqualified after testing positive for stanozolol three days later. But I was in love -- not with Ben Johnson, but with the Olympics.

So naturally I was stoked for this year's games in Beijing. I've been able to watch a lot of the events because this month I've got a great schedule. Overall, I have been really happy with the way things have gone, but I do have a couple of beefs with Beijing.

1) Chinese gymnasts being replaced with prepubescent cyborgs. Olympic policy is that the athletes must turn 16 during the year of competition, and if you've seen these Chinese girls, you know that such cannot possibly be the case. The girls produced Chinese passports "proving" their legal age, but the world smells a rat. Just a few days ago, I found an article, published earlier this year, on the Chinese government's OWN NEWS WEBSITE stating that gymnast He Kexin was 13 years old. That article has since been removed from the site. Basically, the Chinese government just told the world, "These aren't the droids you're looking for."

2) I am in absolute awe of Michael Phelps. To do what he has done, with all the pressure on him, is phenomenal in the truest sense of the word. I love sports because I love finding out who will wilt under the pressure and who will come through. He reminds me of Michael Jordan: the perfect combination of talent and the will to dominate.

So where's the beef? Well, I heard a few people say this past week that it "would be good for swimming and for Michael Phelps" if he lost. Uh, no. This is an example of when people just say things to get attention but have no clue what they're talking about. How, exactly, would it be good for swimming? The more Phelps does, the more attention he brings to the sport. Losing his bid for eight golds would have brought less attention, not more. His story is now everlasting, and will capture the imagination of more children and get them in the pool because people will still be talking about it for years and decades to come.

And what of this nonsense that it "would be good for Phelps" if he lost? It's true that defeat early in an athlete's career can provide motivation for later greatness. But Phelps already did that -- four years ago in Athens, the first time he tried for 8 golds in one Olympics. Beijing represented the last attempt at something of this magnitude, so what purpose would defeat have served? To fire him up to nail down 4/4 golds next time? I don't buy it. Go come up with some other weightless argument, maybe something about how it's actually good for America to get fatter, or how Lucky Charms are neither lucky nor charms.

3) The Opening Ceremonies were great, until I found out that some of the fireworks may have been about as authentic as Panda Express. Also, the cute little girl who sang the song was lip-synching; apparently the real singer wasn't attractive enough for TV, and was relegated to singing off camera. That sends a great message, don't you think? "Kids, you may have loads of talent on the inside, but it's what's outside that counts." Imagine the backlash if this happened in America. . . .


Chad said...

Matt, I think your blog is one of my most favorite sources for up to date news. If I had to choose between playing guitar hero and reading an updated "read my Mind" blog I'd have a really hard time.

samantha said...

I totally agree with you. The chinese girls look like they're age 6-7. Also, have you been watching women's gymnastics? If so does it bug you that the American girls aren't being scored fairly?

samantha said...

p.s have you tried beijing beef @ panda express?

Matt said...

Yes, I have tried the beijing beef, it's delicious.

Yeah, I've been a little perturbed with the scoring. It's hard to deal with such a huge subjective influence on the outcome. That's one of the reasons I like watching swimming more.

JameeMaLee said...

you are freakin funny.. who names a girl "he" anyway? He I mean she He looks like she( I'm still talking about He) looks like she is 9 if you ask me! Chinese punks,.strip the medal I say!