The Obligatory Olympics Post

[Typed on my phone – so more typos than usual]

I am a walking nerd cliche – I am useless at actual sport and I find spectator sports dull. As a child I was dragged to cricket matches where I would defiantly  read Doctor Who books.

So I’ve always be a Scrooge-like, bah-humbugging misanthrope during the Olympics. The cost, corruption, nationalism and geopoliticing are just convenient  sticks with which I can be rude about something other people like. 😦

In Australia the  games are a bit different to the UK. For starters the country is sports mad to a whole other level than most nations. Australia loves sport GENERICALLY. It may only do well in some sports but the national psyche would quite like to win all the trophies. The Olympics also acts as a way for Australia to asserts its world signuficance.

Having  said that the coverage here (particulary in 2012) is as if the whole world gets together every four years to see if Australia can win more medals than the UK. So far the swimming is going well, so I won’t have to deal with angst ridden Aussies.

Also I lied  earlier. The geopolitics of the Olympics is something I enjoy. That is my guilty Olympics secret.

On that note, what about the US election? Interesting  question!

The Olympics pulls attention away from the election. This is bad, bad and good news for Donald Trump.

  1. Bad news for Trump because…with attention on the Olympics the race shouldn’t change dramatically. Trump’s  poll numbers are bad so he needs thinfs to change and that won’t happen until after the Olympics*
  2. Bad news for Trump because…he feeds off  attention. The guy is a troll and the Olympics is a strong case of not feeding the troll.
  3. Good news for Trump because…his troll-like antics  have been gaining him attention but losing  him votes. The break gives his campaign a chance to fix things.

For Hillary things are more interesting. Hillary represents the status-quo and in addition has cast herself as both the optimistic candidate and the patriotic one. So a positive Olympics for the US should help Hillary Clinton  a bit.

Conversley a bad Olympics for the US feeds into Trump’s narrative of America not winning anymore. 

Still this would not be quite enough to make the Olympics  interesting. Luckily Russia has kindly volunteered to play the traditional role of bad guy in the Disney movie reading of the Rio Olympics (or in Australia, China).

The  controversy over drug cheats in the Olympics crosses  national boundaries, but systemic misuse of performance  enhancing  drugs by national bodies has created a different  vibe at the Rio Olympics. With Russia banned from track and field and completely  banned from the Paralympics, doubt  has been cast on all its athletes (possibly  unfairly).

This  adds an extra dynamic. US success is cast not only as the US doing well but a victory over Putin by proxy – who by proxy is associated with cheating. All good news fir Clinton and bad news for Trump.

Which, to cut along story short, is why for once I want the US to do really well at the Olympics.



  1. David Brain

    I saw a newspaper billboard for the London Evening Standard today which read:
    and I thought “what, are we going to throw all our contests against them or something?”


  2. KR

    Fellow childhood nerd here too, thus hoping to see a post about Census Day instead of sports. Will confess that I get a strange sort of pleasure from meeting obligations. I also have an abiding and ongoing interest in privacy and the surveillance state (equivalent to yours on alt-right matters), so your Aussie census controversy was moderately interesting to me.

    Not paying much attention to Olympics, I’m afraid, but having spent time in a South American “informal neighborhood” last week the intense class and race disparities of Rio are more distracting than the global politics angle.
    ** nails the dismount, but gets a 3.7 from the judge from Davos **


  3. thephantom182

    I’m of the opinion that the Olympics died in 1936, and what we have now is an undead vampiric horror that should be abolished with all due haste.

    As to Donald Trump’s numbers, the polls are probably dishonest.

    Anyone paying the least bit of attention can’t be ignorant of the huge difference in coverage between the two candidates. Any shiny thing the networks enthuse over is another 30 seconds of screen time not devoted to bashing Trump. That definitely works for him.

    As you know, I am not a Trump fan. But watching the major media go completely in the tank for Hillary is making me more open to the idea of a Trump presidency. It would certainly make things better for Canada, economically, if the US picks up.