[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.
- 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*
- 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.
- 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.