Political Animal


July 28, 2012 3:10 PM Olympics Open Thread

By Ryan Cooper

I’ve been catching some snippets here and there, saw some good fencing, table tennis, and normal tennis. What’s your favorite event? Any big surprises so far?

Ryan Cooper is a National Correspondent at The Week, and a former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @ryanlcooper


  • c u n d gulag on July 28, 2012 3:47 PM:

    Well, this year, for the first time in my 54 year-old life, I may take an interest in equines owned by extremely rich people, prancing to music.

    In that, I'll probably be showing more interest in Ann's horse tripping the light fantastic, than her husband 'Mitt, the Twit.'

    And I'll be rooting for Ann's horse.

    Not out of any sense of nationalism - but to have to see Mitt and his apologists have to make winning some elitist Olympic horse-dancing competitions sound like something Joe Six-Pack, and his wife Nancy NASCAR, can do, if only they pulled at their bootstraps long and hard enough.

    Other than that, I haven't given a feckin' sh*t about the Olympics, summer or winter, since they were commercialized beyond the limits of anyone caring - except the athletes themselves, their families, and the corporations who sponsor them.

    I liked them a lot more when it was our college players in the basketball games, and our quasi-amateur athletes against other nations quasi(mostly)-professionals - many of whom were on some form of performance enhancing drugs, or another.

    I'll never forget watching the 1976 Montreal Olympics, and seeing some East German female teenage diver or swimmer, who had more developed triceps, leg, and back muscles, than I did! - and I was 18, a well-conditioned, muscular, recently graduated HS football player, wrestler, and shot-putter - who had the record throw for his school for quite a few years.
    I remember looking at "her," and going, "What the feck is THAT all about?"

  • T2 on July 28, 2012 3:53 PM:

    Vinokorov winning the road bike race.......the Brits thought they had it lock up....and they should have.

  • SadOldVet on July 28, 2012 4:30 PM:

    I join c u n d galag in my interest (this year only) in the horse dressage events. I am hopeful that Mitten and Ann's horse wins a gold metal. I am also hopeful that this would be the last good thing to happen for them this year.

  • biggerbox on July 28, 2012 5:05 PM:

    The finish of the men's cycling road race was very exciting. The experience of the old man catching the youngster by surprise in the last 300 meters. And few would have predicted that Team GB would be out of it, but the field made them do all the work for 100+ miles, and it showed at the end.

  • emjayay on July 28, 2012 5:57 PM:

    To me the most interesting of the Mitt crap related to the Olympics, besides the hilarious public distain from all the media and even elected officials, was his weasly answer to whether he would be at the horse dancing fest. He said,of course, that's Ann's thing, I'll be busy or something. So you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars (and how do you get a $77K tax deduction out of that?) for your wife's hobby and you are there in London and you don't make it to the event where her (really, your) horse is competing? A bit transparent, Mittens.

    No one has discussed how dressage horses are trained. I don't think it's operant conditioning or horse whispering. Horses are sensitive but not that bright. I'm guessing it's pain avoidance type conditioning. Otherwise known as cruelty to animals.

  • zandru on July 28, 2012 6:38 PM:

    Mr Gulag, and others of you taking a sudden interest in equines owned by extremely rich people, prancing to music
    , perhaps you ought to read "The $80 Champion". By Elizabeth Letts, it tells the true story of a horse on his way to the slaughterhouse and how a Dutch immigrant to the US bought him and trained him in competitive jumping. Of course, Snowman ultimately defeats the pricey horses of the ultra-rich.

    The book reads better than the wretched NBC Olympic coverage, fer shure...

  • MaryK Croft on July 28, 2012 7:21 PM:

    I ride dressage and know quite a bit about how the horses are trained. The sport was developed as a way of training a horse and rider from the most basic moves, starting at a walk and trot with very simple large circles, up to and including the "dancing" that has been shown lately. A horse (or rider) may not be built to be able to do the most highly refined moves but is forced anyway; this results in the very high attrition rate of broken-down young horses, such as the one sold a few years ago by Ann Romney that ended up the subject of a lawsuit for selling a lame horse (she paid a settlement.) This public attention is not good for the lovers and practitioners of riding dressage, I don't believe. We are not all snooty and use dressage more as a training method (as originally envisioned) rather than as an expression of how much money we have.

  • TCinLA on July 28, 2012 8:20 PM:

    So far the best thing was Rowan Atkinson's send up with the "Chariots of Fire" parody in the opening ceremony.

    I have a British friend whose brother-in-law is a Britich cop. He was told that if his "crisps" (potato chips to us) were not the "approved sponsor's brand" he would have to empty them into a brown paper bag to keep them in his lunch bucket. Which is pretty much the way the rest of this celebration of the corporatization of sport known as the "Olympics" (which has about as much connection to any "Olympic ideals" as does the man in the moon) is being run.

    Basically it's all bullshit, but all sports are now bullshit nowadays, corporate welfare for the rich at the expense of the athletes.

  • citizen_pain on July 28, 2012 10:34 PM:

    The Romney Gaffe marathon is my favorite event from London so far.

  • Bonnie on July 29, 2012 12:08 AM:

    I hate that on the west coast, I already know who won what and by how much because of the different time zones. I may have to stay off the internet until the games are over. However, I did not see the end of the bike race because I went without sleep to watch the bike race and I fell asleep just before the going apparently got good. However, my guess is that all the top place bikers were probably quite exhausted from the Tour de France and were merely hoping they would do well in the Olympics. It seemed to prove the old saying "that just being in the Olympics" is great. I don't think beach volleyball is much of a sport, let alone an Olympic sport; but, to each his/her own. It is still about an hour to an hour and half before the swimming. In the end, I find the Winter Olympics so much more interesting and enjoyable.

  • Anniecat on July 29, 2012 2:17 AM:


    Aside from from Queen Elizabeth as a Bond Girl?

  • Richard Hershberger on July 29, 2012 8:22 AM:

    "Iíve been catching some snippets here and there, saw some good fencing, table tennis, and normal tennis."

    "Normal tennis"? You mean this? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_tennis I don't think it is an Olympic sport.

  • j on July 29, 2012 9:00 AM:

    Oh by far the Romney gaffes and the British humor e.g.
    I must commend US technology, Romney looks almost human.
    and e.g. Yes we live in smaller houses, and some of them are even older that Romney's religion!
    Mitt - now THAT's what I call an apology tour!

  • AndrewBW on July 29, 2012 5:53 PM:

    The end of the women's biking this morning was very exciting, with the three women in the lead shifting positions until with about 200 meters to go the rider from the Netherlands, Marianne Vos, suddenly burst from the pack to edge out the British rider, Elizabeth Armistead, for the gold. The women rode in a heavy rain and were all really terrific.

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  • Dressage rider on October 22, 2012 4:33 PM:

    Me thinks MaryK Croft stretches the truth much to far, to claim she knows about dressage and worse that she is a dressage rider. U-tube videos of her riding a small arab horse under her obese weight, makes one feel ever so sorry for the horse and want to cry out Animal Abuse! Nor does it show a person skilled even remotely in dressage. A horse might be pushed to hard,beyond it's capabilities, as she demonstrates in her in her U-tube videos, but to generalize that dressage causes to many broke down young horses says as much about her lack of knowledge in the sport.

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