Monday, August 25, 2008

The World's Biggest Freak Show: The Olympics

Michael Phelps
Next Up For Phelps.. The Circus?

Come on and step right up, boys and girls! Take a look at such unfathomable oddities the likes of which you have never seen! A boyman with double jointed arms and feet as big as dinner plates; a Jamaican giant whose legs can cover more distance faster than any normal man! Sixteen year old girls who haven't aged a day over twelve! Ladies and gents-- do not be afraid. These gentle creatures want nothing more than your applause. They seek only golden trinkets for their endeavors. So buy a ticket and take a gander. The Freak show is in town for two weeks only...

I am of course, talking about Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, and those age-defying Chinese gymnasts. All headliners in this year's Beijing Olympics-- all individuals bearing physical gifts that in another era would have put them in the freak tent at the county fair.

Phelps and Bolt broke world records that no one else at these games could have possibly beaten, even if someone put in the performance of their lives. Phelps managed to break 7 world records-- swimming in 8 different events. Phelps had to be tired after so many races. Can you imagine what his times would have been had he been well rested for each event? Some of the other competitors he faced were well rested, and couldn't put up much of a fight.

Bolt actually slowed down in celebration during his race in the 100 meters. His shoelace was untied too. Yet no one even came close to him.

And those gymnasts from China, what's their secret? Cosmetic companies are dying to know how it's possible to shave 4 years off your body.

This year's Olympic games made it quite clear that if you want to win Olympic gold, you not only have to train hard and eat right [actually, Phelps eats like Rosie O'Donnell before a race], but you also have to possess some freakish physical quality which will give you the edge in your chosen sport (or have the Chinese government forge your birth certificate).

I'm already imagining a future in which the world record in pole vault is won by a kid born with trampolines in both feet; a world where the winner in women's butterfly is a dead ringer for Ariel, the Little Mermaid--right down to the tail fin. Who knows? By 2012, we may have a wrestler with eight arms. Who would want to tangle with that? Rulon Gardner eat your heart out.

Thankfully, all this freakishness offers us normal humans comfort. Of course I wasn't an Olympic swimmer. It wasn't because I suck at swimming, but because my ankles aren't hypermobile and can extend beyond the pointe of a ballet dancer, enabling me to whip my feet, like a flipper. Now I understand. It's not my fault I'm not an Olympic athlete. There just wasn't enough toxic waste around to mutate my embryo.

So I encourage all other people with freakish abnormalities to seek out ways in which those differences can benefit athletic performance. Cause wouldn't you prefer a gold medal to working for Wandering Wally's Wacky Emporium Of The Weird and Unnatural?

Sure, Wally pays well, but not nearly as well as Speedo. Or Nike.

And yes, I do realize that not every physical mutation is a good one. And that not all who possess physical differences are in freak shows. This piece is clearly not aimed at you.

I am sad that the Olympics are over. There should really be more Olympic events broadcast on TV on a regular basis. When's the last time you saw water polo on television when it wasn't the Olympics? Or a fencing match? Or a judo competition? Or team handball? Why doesn't NBC or ESPN show this stuff all the time? Isn't there room for an Obscure Sports Network??

The Worldwide Leader In Freakish Sports

For now, we'll just have to wait another 2 years. Winter Olympics, baby! Biathlon, Curling, Snowman-Building (its a exhibition event). Vancouver here we come!

PLUS: In case you were wondering what happens when you put a bunch of freaks in a village together, the London Times has uncovered the answer: Orgy Time.

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