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Why We Watch The Olympics

Words By: Emily Schofield-Cox


The Olympics: a strange and wonderful beast that consumes our lives every four years for seemingly no reason at all. Us homebound couch potatoes are suddenly experts who could have done that move better than the athletes. We laugh at the gymnasts fumbling their footing as we down our fourth bevvy of the night. We look down lovingly at our ever-expanding beer guts and feel more beautiful than the child-sized or mountainously muscular (there is no in between) athletes on our screens. It’s a beautiful time for us all.

But do we watch the Olympics for the right reasons? I’m beginning to wonder… Is it our inherent patriotism that forces us to our TV-side vigil to see how the 18 year-old Aussie does in the race? Is it our love of athletics and elite sportsmen? Do we just have nothing else to do? I’m not so sure.

I think there are six very specific and universal reasons for watching this clusterfuck of international sports, and I don’t think any one of them is our patriotism….

  1. In the barely concealed hope that someone sustains a life-altering, career-ruining, yet very gif-able injury:
    There’s no denying it. As much as we ooh and ahh with sympathy at the TV, inwardly we are cheering. Because nothing is funnier than broken bones when mixed with broken dreams. It’s a beautiful combination. You can try and say you’re different, that you don’t love it, but I know… we all know…
  2. Hot guys diving:
    No matter the year, the location, or the ethnicity (even our favourite bogans shed their racism for cuties with booties), we all go crazy for a boy in speedos. It’s a universal pleasure. There may be war and poverty, but hot guys diving is the one thing that can bring everyone together for a collective “damn”. And I think that’s beautiful.
  3. Hot girls doing gymnastics:
    They may be the size of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, but they look just as sweet (awww!). Girls envy them, guys lust after them: they are the popular girls from your high school, but now high school is the Olympics. All of us shitty unOlympians at home cry into our bowl of pasta as we look down to our body that could be a bowl of mashed potato, and wonder what could have been if our parents had stopped loving us and forced us to go to gymnastics practice morning and night. WHY DID YOU LOVE ME, MOTHER?
  4. Watching the families of athletes watch them win:
    I mean, we all saw that video of the grandparents crying and celebrating when that young Aussie kid won the swimming race, right? I thought I was an ice sculpture who couldn’t feel anything anymore, but I cried my tiny eyeballs out at that video. Bloody adorable.
  5. Because it distracts us from the banal nothingness of life’s dark abyss and the very real possibility that our governments are sacrificing us at the alter of international relations:
    …FUCK.
  6. Watching other countries be shit:
    Yes, we abuse asylum seekers. No, we don’t have a government that a distinct majority of the population agree with or even like. But did you see China lose that race? Did you see how weird that USA guy’s run was? Did you see how dirty Rio is? I feel better already.

So that’s why we watch the Olympics. It’s not the stellar athletics or the brilliant multiculturalism. It’s mostly the bruises and the boobs (both women’s and men’s — I’m not sexist). What a wonderful world.