The Games of the XXXI Olympiad

the xxxi olympiad


Listen & Read:

“Don’t Stop Me Now”- Queen

“Catch and Release” (the deepend remix)- Matt Simons

“The Girl from Ipanema” – Stan Getz


From August 6-21, the Olympics took place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Of course, I was in front of the screen on the NBC channel for 90 percent of the time, and so I want to write about it. In kind of a part II of my previous Olympics-based post, here is the Olympics through my eyes.

In 2012, in the midst of the second wave of the British Invasion, I was destined to watch the Olympics. Being in love with people like One Direction, Ed Sheeran, The Beckhams, The Spice Girls, Skins, Made In Chelsea, Alan Carr, Nick Grimshaw (on the radio and on his tv show) and all the British vloggers on Youtube, I felt like I just had to watch it. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I put on my ‘I heart NY” t-shirt and slipped my British flag belt on, willing to cheer on both teams at the same time. During the Closing Ceremony, I was a dancing machine, but stopped, mouth agape, as the carnival floats entering the stadium. This change of culture across the screen was like the timer above the oven going off. My brain automatically shifted to my longing for the Rio 2016 games.

It just so happens that in 2014, while I was in Italy with my friends, we stayed up late in our hotel room and watched a match of The World Cup. It was Brazil against Chile, I think, and I knew nothing of football/soccer. One of my friends was doting about Neymar and David Luiz, and every action has a reaction. It was like I jumped off a cliff in love. In love with soccer, in love with the Brazil national soccer team, in love with Brazil. For the next two years, I researched the crappy Brazilian goverment, that treat the lower class in the Favelas like they don’t matter, and I watched movies based in Brazil (like City of God and Trash). I planned and replanned and forgot and then planned again me going to Brazil. The last time being a year before, where they barely had any more tickets left for any event, and me and my friend, who was also 18 with parents that would never let her go, was looking up Airbnb’s for us. Similar to my last post, it takes one domino to knock all the rest down. I threw my whole being at anything that had to do with Brazil (which is why I said I wanted to be Brazilian so bad in my ancestry post).

Fast forward to The Games of the 31st Olympiad in Rio. It’s kind of like when you check your watch over and over and over for a certain time, but when the time comes, you’ve completely forgot, and you’re essentially scrambling. That was me. There I was, 15, gawking at the performances of the Closing Ceremony in London, England. Now, here I am at the age of 19, preparing my emotions for the thing I’ve been waiting for for four years (that was WAY TOO MANY four/for’s). I watched the first half of the Opening Ceremony with my mom, until they announced USA (which in Portuguese starts with an E), where she then saw all she wanted to see and rolled over in bed. The rest was just me, taking it all in again.

From then on, it was like a routine. Wake up around 6:50-7:00 a.m. Turn on the TVs in both my parent’s room (for the live coverage) and the living room (for the highlight reel on Amazon Prime). Wait for my sister to finish getting ready. Take my sister to school at 7:30. Come back around 8:20. Watch the Today Show until they go off at 10:00 (unless I fall asleep earlier than that). Take a nap from 10:00-1:00. Most of the primetime stuff that comes on at 8:00 p.m. actually happens at 1:00 p.m. Stay in bed until 5:00 p.m. That’s when the local news comes on until primetime. Sometimes I may actually stay in bed the whole time because most of the news they cover pertains to the Olympics and the Olympians near me. Come back at 8:00 p.m. to watch primetime. My parents usually kick me out of the bed around 9:00 p.m. I watch swimming/track events at the end of the bed until midnight at least. I then gather my things and go back to my room. I play The Office or Shameless until I fall asleep. I wake up around 6:50-7:00 a.m.

America, smashing it as always, had their biggest fan eating Pita chips in her parent’s bedroom. 121 medals, 46 gold, and the females killed it this year in all the sports. I want to have a full post on this later, but the duality between being head over heels in love with my country and painfully disgusted with my country is probably the most dangerous and emotionally abusive relationship I have and will ever be in. From August 6-21, I mouth the words to the national anthem every time we win gold. Before and after that time, I can’t think about the country I live in without getting physically sick. A few day’s ago, maybe a day after the Closing Ceremony, my mom bought me a makeup bag with the American flag on it. I didn’t know whether I wanted to keep it or give it back. My mind and emotions were still winding down, back to reality, after years of awareness and negative emotions toward this country. But, I kept it, unconsciously continuing the push and pull, the wear and tear, and the beating this country is putting me, and people like me, through. Love is not supposed to feel this way.

Just because to me it wasn’t necessarily reality, doesn’t been the Olympics didn’t lack drama. This is the good type of drama, though. The kind you get your popcorn out for. I mean, can I even remember them to name them there was so many:

best drama.png

  1. #lochtegate I feel like I’ve never kept up with someone so closely like I did with this whole thing. I had a BIG crush on Ryan in 2012, and nothing changed in 2016. However, I was skeptical of it all, from the jump. I have actual evidence of my skepticism (I always feel like I have to prove myself, so I made sure to screenshot my texts about how sketchy the whole thing was). Ryan deserves everything he gets, in my opinion. He embarrassed his home country and disgraced the country he called home for a week– That is until he bounced and left his buddies high and also dry. Lochte went from like the cute dumb to like the “please get out of my face” dumb. White privilege strikes again. Also, for everyone that still may be confused, Ryan Lochte is not a “kid just having fun”. He’s 32 years old.
  2. Phelps and Le Clos Debated on whether this should be first or second, but this didn’t last as long as #lochtegate. So since it ended fairly soon, and in kind of a sweet way, it had to go second. I remember the Phelps vs. Le Clos showdown in LDN 2012. The only reason I remember is bc I then developed a crush on Chad, but anyway. The first round was amazing. A 10/10 on the drama scale. Wait was there three times they swam together? Hold on, everything is getting jumbled. Well before one of the times they competed together, after the whole #phelpsface, they showed a montage of Chad talking crap about Michael, just to rev up everyone’s emotions around the world. Then Michael won, of course, and the finger wag that everyone keeps doing appeared once again. Other than my highschool football team, when they were actually good, I’ve never been one to cheer during sporting events. However, I felt like I was going to explode if I didn’t. But my parents were in the room, so I have a subtle “Yay” and clapped. After Chad’s devastating lose, it was clear he was trying to be Michael’s friend, like walking by him and patting him on the back. Boy, goodbye.
  3. Lilly King and Yulia Efimova I have since changed my opinion on this whole situation, but at the time, I was for sure on Lilly’s side. You should, always, play clean. And I love a girl that can talk shit and back it up, but then I heard an opinion from another perspective, and everything kind of changed. Yes, Yulia was charged with a positive drug test, and she did her time. How long will people drag her through the mud over it? Lilly went from a hero to a coward, in my opinion. It all suddenly seemed kind of immature. Mistakes were made, no matter if you think she actually meant to take the drugs or she actually didn’t know what she was taking, but provoking hatred towards someone who already underwent her punishment is unfair.
  4. Allyson Felix Dropping the Baton Coming back to college, I thought I wouldn’t be able to watch a smidge of the Olympics, because I was busy or because I just couldn’t find a TV. But luckily, I found myself sitting in front of a giant one, right before one of the women’s relays in track. It went silent in an already quiet room. Then… the red stick in her hand dropped. I love feeling like I know what someone is feeling, and with Allyson getting a close second earlier to someone that dove into the Earth, I just knew she just be devasted to let down herself and her team. But they won their appeal, and look @ that, they won gold.
  5. Shaunae Miller’s Dive I know, I know, it’s perfectly fine to dive, but can someone like… change the rules? Maybe it’s because I’m rooting for my country, but my eyes were telling me that the trip wasn’t natural. Also, Allyson’s feet were so ahead of her’s, but hey, if it’s ok to dive…
  6. Fu Yuanhui ALL HAIL FU. She lowkey changed the game on period talk. I wish it was so much easier to talk with people about it, even other girls. In some articles that I read on her, they wouldn’t even say she talked about being on her period. They worked their way around that word in every sort of way. Luckily, I already knew what they were talking about.  People were really freaking out about what she said. Not only is she so easy going, but she seems so fun, so herself. She seems to have no fear of judgement, and that’s so admirable.

Reading this list, you can probably get a good guess on some of the events I liked and watched frequently. I know, I love the popular stuff, I really need to start getting into the less popular. But I love beach volleyball, swimming, track (which is so weird because I never liked track before), soccer, and gymnastics. I watched water polo only when there was nothing else to watch, and I tried to force myself to like synchronized swimming, but it just didn’t happen. In Tokyo 2020 they are adding things like surfing, baseball, and karate (or taekwondo?), so those are some things I could try and see.

Oh, did I mention, I want to save up for Tokyo?

Second times a charm, in my book, and I really really really want to go this time. For real. It’s not a 15 year old self planning for my 19 year old self. It’s my 19 year old self planning for my college grad, apartment seeking, 23 year old self. With a job and a dog, hopefully. I’m telling everyone to mark my words, so you should too. I’ll see you in Tokyo for the Games of the 32nd Olympiad in Tokyo, Japan. Don’t know three words in Japanese, but I have seen Terrence House, and I love that show so I’ll 100% watch it over and over.

Unfortunately, I won’t be seeing all of the world’s best athletes doing there best sport. So I decided to put aside some of the coolest athletes that I saw during this Olympics Games.

this one is

My Short Girls– I don’t know where minorities would be without representation. Now, Although Katinka Housszu (aka The Iron Lady) is white, she’s only 5’6″. And she’s one of the world’s best swimmers. Swimmers like Missy Franklin, who is 6’2″, are the kinds of people I thought won all of the medals. I can’t even swim, although I really want to learn, and I thought being short was hopeless in a field like this. Turns out, I was wrong, luckily. Of course, being over 5’0″ doesn’t necessarily count as short in general, but it definitely does in competitive swimming. I never knew I would be cheering for Hungary, in any sport.

My Black Girls– Black. Girls. Rock. Simone Biles. Everyone already knew she was going to come in this Olympics and kill it. Of course, she did. But S(w)imone Manuel? Where did she come from? I saw her for the first time at primetime and gazed over her skin contrasting to the line of pale tones. My dad looked at her and said, “that’s you”. I found her on Instagram the next day, and later that night, she won gold. Then, she did it again. Gabby Douglas! Nice to see you again. The people that matter, don’t care about your hair or the hand on your heart, just so you know. You’re still an Olympian, while they are sitting on their asses @ home. Also, can we talk about Allyson Felix? Never giving up on herself and her dreams, fighting for those appeals, winning gold after gold. But keeping the best for last, that medal sweep in track??? First ever sweep in Olympic History. The Black Girl Magic wand has dropped glitter, and gold, over these Black American women. First, second, and third place. Someone should do research on the correlation between beauty and track & field Olympians, because they are beautiful. And even though I didn’t watch much, or any, of either sport, here’s a shoutout to the only black female on the women’s water polo team, Ashleigh Johnson. And also a shoutout to one of the black female weightlifters, Jenny Arthur, who grew up not too far away from me. And there are so many more!

My Grandpas– For Michael Phelps (maybe… Literally no one believes him) and Usain Bolt (I believe him), this was their last Olympics. I deeply admire the confidence they both have. Sometimes I don’t even cheer for them because I already know the outcome. They might as well already have their names next to the “1” on the board so they can go and take a nap. I guess I can’t really relate to them in any way, but it’s interesting their strategies for retiring. For Michael, when he said he was done four years ago, he didn’t love the sport anymore, so he kept going at it so he can leave with a smile. For Usain, he isn’t passionate about it, so he’s retiring. Wait, maybe I’m tricking myself into saying Usain is coming back, too.

Before I go, I want everyone reading this to watch this Nike commercial, “Unlimited You”

It gives me chills, makes me cry, and gives me chills again. It’s just so motivational/inspirational. It’s just so cute.

At the end of the day, now that everyone is back home, so many Brazilians have been misplaced because of this big event that didn’t even last a month. The government is still corrupt, and no one cares about the lower class. All that money from the Olympics is something the people living in the Favelas will never see. I hate seeing the wasteful aftermath of every Olympic Games, but especially this one.

I read somewhere they Japan said they will be the most eco-friendly host ever in the Olympics, and I will hold them to that.

Your Play-Olympian,

Ken

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The Games of the XXXI Olympiad

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