The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Friday, August 22, 2008

Gold Medal in Voodoo

"Maybe someone has a voodoo doll of me."

Photo David J. Phillips Associated Press via MSNBC

That is what Lauryn Williams, the anchor leg of the women's 4 x 100 relay, who could not hold on to the baton pass from Torri Edwards, said. The yellow baton is about to hit the ground, behind both runners. The same thing happened four years ago in Athens, when Marion Jones and Williams couldn't make the exchange. Of course, we are trying to forget Marion Jones anyway, since her performances were enhanced by steroid use...and any medal that the relay team might have won in Athens would have been revoked anyway.

You would think the women would have been especially careful, since the same thing had just happened to Darvis Patton and Tyson Gay on the last hand off of their relay. You would think they were passing off a stick of dynamite or playing a game of hot potato.

Photo from Outsports

No doubt Tyson Gay is one of the top sprinters in the world, but he is also the biggest disappointment for the U. S. Track team, having not even completed a final in any event, much less winning a medal.

Well if the relays are a metaphor for life, we've all fumbled the baton on the final pass at one point or another. But gee whiz. These guys are supposed to be larger than life.

Anyway, Anthony Lane of the New Yorker reveals that the balance beam is the Official Olympic Human Life Metaphor in his article on the first week of the games, writing about Olympic shortcomings. (Great read, very entertaining, though long*).

The same thing happened with artistic gymnastics on the opening weekend, during the team qualifying rounds; as the Americans flipped and twisted on the central floor (whose surprising bounciness is apparent only when viewed from above), there was an empathetic moan to my left. One of the Italian girls, Francesca Benolli, was up on the balance beam, better known as the Official Olympic Human Life Metaphor. She was standing sideways on it, having a wobble. For a few seconds, she was no longer one of the master race from the Olympic Village, spotless in a silver leotard; she was all of us, gloved and scarved, flapping dumbly on our front paths on an icy morning.

Well. if we must be Francesca Benolli, or Tyson Gay when they flub up, then we can also be beach boys Todd Rogers or Phill Dalhausser, who celebrated after eating the team from Brazil up in the third set to take the gold yesterday in beach volleyball. Photo from

Or fellow Americans Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor who won the gold for the women in straight sets.
Photo from New York Times

The Olympics are full of highs and lows. Just like life.

* Lane also explores politics and the Olympics and says "the attempt to keep as futile as trying to keep the sweat out of sex..." The article really is worth reading.


Anonymous said...

Thank god for womens volleyball!

Joe said...

You must have been tired of seeing the hot guys pics on here.