Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Low Res Olympics Notebook, Part 1: The Pool

[Don't worry, I've got two more days of this in me, max.]

-- If there happens to be anybody in the country who is enjoying the Olympics but is looking for a Michael Phelps-free zone, might I offer you the comfy confines of Low Resolution? I don't hate the guy, and his athletic talent/dominance/freakish ability is undeniable. And yet? So completely over the guy. For several reasons that I'd totally delve into if I had a blog. ...Wait a second!

1) Superficial reasons. To wit:

Yeah, yeah, muscles. But you have to know how to wear the muscles, I'd venture to say, and dude looks like something that'd be on display at the front of your Bio lab. And that's not even venturing into the vicinity of the face, which is the butteriest of any face I've seen. He certainly gets obliterated in that department by, say, Ryan Lochte.

There's even a handy side-by-side comparison available:

Advantage: swimmers who are not gooney-birds.

2) The hype. It's too much. Much too much. Sure, he backs it up by winning races by three lengths, but...that's kind of boring to watch, for me. Call me a hater, I probably am. But there are other swimmers at play here, and I'd like to hear about them once in a while. Swimmers like Brendan Hanson:

Has Hanson done as well as Phelps this week? Probably not, but I wouldn't know because nobody's talked about him.

3) This is petty (much like reasons 1 and 2, I don't deny it), but I'm an Ian Thorpe partisan from way back, and thus am a mortal enemy of all usurpers.

So if you feel like kvetching about the nation's Phelps-philia, here's your spot.


A swimmer I like:

Katie Hoff. She's like the anti-Phelps in that she's been maybe the highest-profile American woman (or at least tied with Natalie Coughlin), but her Beijing experience has been nothing but heartbreak. Seeing her get nipped at the end of the 400m freestyle, having to settle for silver, was maybe the most heartbreaking thing I've seen in these games so far. And people talked about it for three second before the men's 4 x 100 relay went and drove us all crazy with joy. Poor kid.

A swimmer I don't like:

Aaron Piersol. Am I alone, or does he seem like a total dick? With his whole "Eh, I suppose I'll try in this race" attitude? And his casual dismissal of his opponents? Hate that guy.

Oh, and one final note: synchronized diving can bite my ass, but my objections to that particular discipline coincide with my gripings about gymnastics, so that's for Part 2.


adam k. said...

I'm mostly with you on this one. I was also a Thorpedo partisan back in '04, and got lots of flack for it from my American friends. I thought he was much cuter and seemed more interesting/intelligent/cool than Phelps. Plus there were those gay rumors to keep me holding out hope.

I kind of like Aaron Pierson, though. Isn't he like way older than everyone else and still knockin' 'em dead? You gotta respect that. And it was hard not to be happy for the Americans sticking it to the French in that relay after the French had apparently been such dicks about it.

I also feel an affinity for Katie Hoff, if only because her name is so similar to Katee Sack-Hoff. It was very sad to see her lose in a reverse of the men's relay situation. And she was SO freaking far ahead of all of them, too (until the last few seconds).

I am kind of excited, though, for the possibility of Phelps getting 8 golds. Even though I don't particularly like him. It's just always cool for somebody to break a record (especially an American).

Jenn said...

I love Katie Hoff. She reminds me a little of Andrea Bowen (Julie on "Desperate Housewives").

Can't wait for Part 2, because synchronized diving kind of has me hypnotized.

Vance said...

Okay, I wasn't into Phelps until that NBC bio they did last night where he was so cute and adorable but yes, Lochte is always a total hottie.

Then again, it's not like I would kick either out of bed... you know.. they're swimmers with big feet... you know what THAT means!

jessica said...

They wear big shoes, vance?

Katie Hoff's problem, obviously, is that her goggles are WAY too tight. Have you seen the alien-eye impressions they make on her head? So scary.

I love Michael Phelps. Love, love, love him. He's not the hottest by a MILE and my heart will always have a place for Pieter van den Hoogenband, but his mastery and achievement in this sport is nothing short of astounding. Watching him is literally watching history unfold.

Regardless who you root for, though, swimming has become an all-out thriller with the high-tech supersuits and the faster pool at the Cube. Hoff's close loss (and even France's) were heartbreaking in the same way Coughlin's win, and the gobstopping USA men's relay team, were exhilarating.

Piersol is an enigma to me, but he comes on when it counts. Vanderkaay is having a good year, as is Grevers. And way to go Kirsty Coventry from Zimbabwe (really?) for being a FORCE and that little Korean guy, Park, for getting his country's first swimming medal ever. Totally outstanding swims, all around.

Anonymous said...

I too can not stand Phelps and it is for the exact reasons you mentioned from the butterface to the hype to the Thorpedo making me obsessed with the swimming events during the Sydney and Athens games. God, I loved Ian Thorpe. I really wish he didn't retire 2 years ago.