ISTANBUL, TURKEY - MARCH 10: Lazaro Borges of Cuba competes in the Men's Pole Vault Final during day two of the 14th IAAF World Indoor Championships at the Atakoy Athletics Arena on March 10, 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
So this doesn't have to do with Northwestern sports, y'all, but deal with it.
Confession: I love the Olympics. People say its something for people who like human interest rather than sports, but that's a load of bollocks. First of all, there's some amazing sports I care about, like the Olympic basketball tournament. Second of all, there's some amazing sports that we really should watch more often - handball, y'all! Third of all, my passion for sports is pretty much only surpassed by my passion for nationalism and obscure geography. I love international sporting events, and the Olympics allows me to stir all my stereotypes and predispositions into one gigantic bowl, and then see those stereotypes compete against each other in random-ass events for two weeks. I might not go to sleep. I actually have a handy guide of countries in the order I root for them in the Olympics that allows any sporting event to be extremely enjoyable:
- USA: These colors don't run, if you don't love it, leave it, USA, Number One.
- Cuba: I'm half-Cuban, and the Summer Olympics is like, 80 percent of what Cuba has going for it. They still have the awesome old Communist "if we win a bunch of Olympic events, everybody will know we're legit!" method of governing, and throw money into training Cuban boxers, weightlifters and judokas that would probably be better spent on, you know, other stuff.
- Any tiny African/Oceanian country that probably only has a competitor because they try to let as many countries as possible have competitors
- Principalities - eff yeah Liechtenstein!
- Israel - auto-Jew pride
- South/Central America - normally I root for underdogs, but Brazil can take as many medals as its sexy, samba-ing beach-loving model people feel like.
- The field (which can be ranked during the competition based on stereotypes and/or how much I dislike the competitors)
- Countries actively trying to blow up any of the above countries
- Major, really rich European countries: Because, I mean, France and Germany are going to win a bunch of medals because they're jerks
- Canada: Because everybody needs an enemy.
Agree or disagree, but that's my list. Anyway, I have an appropriate favorite Olympic moment after the jump, and it would be nice if you told me yours (or disagreed/agreed with my rooting interests) in them comments.
My actual favorite moment is probably something basketball related, probably Vince Carter dunking over Frederic Weis back in 2000, but regardless. Like I said, I have a passion for minutiae and countries that pretty much have no business competing in the Olympics. They like to have a swimming heat in the most basic event, the 100m freestyle, for countries that otherwise wouldn't qualify for the Olympics to encourage participation in those countries and boost the strength of their Olympic committees. In 2000, that sort of came to a head.
They had a heat for three swimmers from less-than-well-established swimming countries, Niger, Tajikistan, and the Equatorial Guinea. Either fortunately or unfortunately for the swimmer from the Equatorial Guinea, the dudes from Niger and Tajikistan both false started and were eliminated from the heat. (They were the only swimmers to false-start in the competition.) That left the Equatoguinean swimmer - demonyms! - the only one in the pool. Unfortunately for the swimmer, Eric Moussambani, he didn't really know how to swim that well. (Sadly none of the videos are embeddable, but you can click here to watch.)
He doesn't look awful at first. I mean, he doesn't look like an Olympic swimmer, but he looks like if your buddy without any swimming training decided to swim a lap at the Y. It's on the second half of the race where you become convinced that you might see an Olympic competitor drown. He doesn't know how to do the "hey, I'm a swimmer and I'm turning" thing, and after about 75 meters, each stroke is bringing him just inches closer to the finish line, basically treading water.
Eventually, he makes it to the finish, well over a minute higher than the world record time.
It's this that draws me to the Olympics: the ability to watch a dude from the Equatorial Guinea try to swim across a really big pool. Sure, the USA winning a lot is nice, but that's expected. I look forward to some awesome handball matches between like Hungary and Greece and watching some Cuban boxer punch a bunch of non-Cuban boxers in their protective headgear. But I also look forward to watching a Burundian dude, I dunno, getting his ass handed to him in ping pong. I will root for him until the day's end, even if the result is inevitable.
So what are y'alls favorite Olympic moments? Obviously could be anything. I picked a dude from Equatorial Guinea nearly dying.
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