Worlds & Time

Monday, February 13, 2006


So, no Bode or Apollo tonight.

But The Flying Tomato takes a Gold in a pretty impressive snowboarding competition, which was cool to watch.

I was watching a few tapes that I have of the 2004 games, and I got some good moments on tape, like the Nemov riots and the Men's Overall, both in gymnastics. The Nemov thing is probably one of the greatest moments that I've seen in sports. Here is the former all around gold medalist, older and not doing so well. He gets on the High Bar and does a simple but phenomenally impressive routine. And the judges murder him on the score.

The crowd goes absolutely crazy. Here's a Russian in Greece, but everyone in the room knows who this guy is. Four years ago, this was the best athlete in the world, and now he's on the bottom of the rankings. People are screaming and yelling and the judges stop the competition. The head of the judging committee comes does, confers with judges who gave the two lowest scores, and they change the scores, which is basically unheard of. The crowd precipitated a score change, which is pretty amazing.

Still, he's at the bottom, and people are still pissed. Finally Nemov has to stand up, get back on the floor. He gestures thanks to the people, and then asks them to quiet down. They haven't shut up by the time the next competitor starts though, although once it's in progress they shift to cheering for him. That was Paul Hamm, who won the gold with that routine.

I love the Olympics, which is odd because, as I think I've already pointed out that I'm not a sports person. But the Olympics are inspiring me. Ever since I've been a little kid, I've watched them, and I've imagined. Now that almost all of the competitors are younger than I, I've pretty much had to give up dreams.

If I could have, I would be a lot more physical than I am. I'm really intellectual, but I don't want to be. There's stuff that I want to do with that, true, but it's the athleticism that I admire.

It's like there's a part of me that's missing. You look at Ohno, or Miller, or Hamm, or Michael Phelps or Nemov, and they all have this ability to do the work. It's not the concentration. I can concentrate for a few minutes just fine. It's the ability to get the hell out of the door in the morning.

Is it fear? It might be.

Well, so no Olympics for me, ever. But I can still watch, and with enough suspension of disbelief, maybe even dream.

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