My Name is Kevin and I'm an Addict

by DavalosMcCormack on August 21, 2008

I admit it. I’m addicted to the Olympics. It started out innocently enough. I didn’t even watch the opening ceremonies. But the next day I thought I’d tune in and see what was on and that’s when it began. Synchronized diving. Who even knew it was a sport. It was downhill from there. When I found myself watching trampoline I knew I was in trouble. But when I heard the commentator saying “And that silver on the parallel bars is the first ever medal for Uzbekistan” I knew I needed help.

I am even taking pride in Britain winning more golds than they’ve ever done before. Even though someone did point out that it’s all in the “sitting down” sports such as cycling and riding and rowing. But who cares. When you grew up winning nothing, then winning anything at the Olympics, even tiddlywinks, is reason to celebrate.

Heck, I even got excited when I saw a fellow Irishman in the heats of the men’s 200 metres. He came fifth. But he didn’t spill a drop of his pint along the way and that’s always impressive.

I’m even addicted to the commentators. I am hooked on Cynthia Potter, the diving commentator on NBC. I know some people find her obnoxious and say her voice is grating but I think she’s a genius. I see a dive and it’s a blur of twists and turns and splash. Dazzling but incomprehensible. However, before the water has even settled Cynthia has pointed out that the diver’s toes were not quite inline with the board on the third inward turn, that their shins were pointing in opposite directions in the final phase and that their side parting was a tad crooked for the entry. And when they show it in slow motion, you realize “Oh my god, she’s right.”

Of course there are horrors to be endured. Having grown up watching the BBC I find it incredibly irritating to have NBC keep breaking away for endless commercial breaks, particularly most of the commercials are stupid.

There are also the ubiquitous athlete profiles, so saccharin-sweet that you are in danger of going into a diabetic coma if you watch more than three a day.

And there are the sports that leave you wondering ‘what on earth is that doing in the Olympics’. Beach volleyball for instance. I don’t deny they’re great athletes, but let’s face it, it really is just an excuse to show women in ridiculously brief swim suits jumping around in the sand. I think the Olympic Committee needs to pass a rule saying any event that is a popular holiday past time cannot be in the Games. That would of course rule out Shuffle Board and Tether Ball, but some sacrifices have to be made.

Mostly though I’m just addicted to the incredible athleticism and sheer endurance of these athletes. Watching the 38 year old Romanian, Constantina Tomescu, win the women’s marathon I was gobsmacked by her ability to run 5 minute miles, mile after mile. 26 of them. I couldn’t run one.

Watching the men’s gymnastics it was difficult to imagine I’m the same species they are. My body simply doesn’t bend in the same places that theirs do, at least not without help of corrective surgery.

Happily, it’s a relatively short lived addiction. Relief is on the horizon. The end is in sight. Soon the Games will be over. Then I can get back to the really important stuff. Like saving up to go and watch them in person in London in 2012.

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