The Olympics are going to be epic…
If you stand on top of a water tower and stare long enough, you can probably see it coming, like a wave just starting to shrug its shoulders back where the water is blue. A fever of national pride will wash over us all July 27th when some badminton player in a Ralph Lauren outfit laps a track with our flag to kick off the 2012 (Panasonic) Olympics in London.
If you embrace the Olympic spirit, you can visit teamusa.org now and purchase a Nike sweatshirt for $84.95. For $239.95 you can buy official, flag-emblazoned Oakley Jawbone sunglasses, which retail for a bit less, but the shades support America. And T-shirts start around $21, unless you buy a performance T-shirt, which will cost you $50. (Sweat-wicking, performance material best for patio sitting.)
The Olympics are fun but serve more as a marketing opportunity for the world’s corporate powers. The warm feeling we get when they’re on is less pride and more hunger, as a burger flashes on the tube between events.
America, brought to you by VISA.
I love having the Olympics on because when a real sport goes to commercial, I can flip to the Olympics and watch Michael Phelps swim for a minute. When I can’t sleep, I want Ping-Pong on. Not on my TV, but on, so I know it’s there. And gymnastics are awesome for eight minutes if we beat the Chinese and some unknown girl captures the nation’s attention… so she can return to Plano, Texas and sign a lucrative contract with Subway… six months later, she’s in front of a camera holding a foot-long meatball sub when a newspaper reports the Chinese competitors were each 11 years old.
But gymnastics give us memories, they say.
Remember the girl who did a triple back flip and landed on a broken femur and scored a 10? Yeah, Kerri Strug. She was awesome… Oh… Really?… Soo, it was just a sprained ankle…. Oh… And a 9.7… Not a ten?… Oh. Remembered that one differently. Maybe it was just John Tesh’s play-by-play that made it epic. “Kerri Strug is hurt! She is hurt badly!”… “She has either twisted her ankle or something worse!” Thanks, Tesh. “Standing on one leg!”… “For her team, for her country and for herself.”
(Side Note One: For like a week in 1996 I wanted to be a petite female gymnast with a bum leg and have my coach, who may or may not be the guy who sharpens skates in Mighty Ducks, carry me around. But we all know Kerri was a show-woman. A player. Watch the medal ceremony and at the end let me know why she’s the only one not wearing pants.)
(Side Note Two: If Kerri could cry she’d still be on Wheaties boxes. She did the “sniffle,” more of a quick breathing than a cry. It’s the cry’s version of a hiccup, if you will. Legends do the “Gaze Off Stream” where they pick a high spot where the seats stop and let tears flow silently, usually one tear at a time. Option 1A is the “Weep,” where the athlete weeps.)
(Side Note Three: Ponder the term “gymnastics bloopers.” Is that the most fun way to say “painful facial fractures”?)
So the 2012 (Panasonic) Olympics will be great. Epic maybe.
PHELPS. NASTIA. THE GUY WITH GOLDEN NIKES.
[echoing chant] U-ess-A. U-ess-A.
The Olympics will carry brand torches around the world. Let McDonald’s shine! SONY, yea! The Olympics will encourage public discourse. “Big Mac or Whopper?” “Could Bo Jackson win every single event?” “Yeah, that guy is fast but I wonder if he could run in pads? And if he could run in pads could he take a hit?” “Do Gatorade fruit chews make me flexible?” “When are they adding the Nike swoosh directly to the flag?” Years later, naturally, “Is the Nike American Flag made in China by tiny former gymnasts with nimble hands?”
The Brand Olympics arrive this summer. And, with our commercials, national pride will cross the Atlantic like a storm cloud ready to rain on London…
Oh… What’s that?…
It’s always raining there?…
Like Seattle minus Pearl Jam and plus meat pies?
Cool, this should be fun…
Get your patriotic clothing, grill some beef and drink some beer. Stars will be born. Ankles will (moderately) twist. And the 2012 (Panasonic) Olympics will prove once more that American companies who make stuff overseas then sell it in America are the best at buying television advertising during international sporting events.
And GYMNASTICS. YEAH. We’re going to win that, too.
[echoing chant] U-ess-A. U-ess-A. U-ess-A.
[a single tear]