Friday, August 20, 2004

Backstroke and Barrages of Information

I know this is starting to sound like a constant Ode to the Olympics, but every four years (OK, OK, it’s actually two now but since the seasons are different I still consider it four.) I do sort of turn into a hobbit during the competition and stay in to watch TV every night. It makes me feel good to feel like I am watching the same thing as half the world and the fun part is talking about the cool parts with my friends the next day.

Today, of course, everyone was talking about Aaron Peirsol and his near-DQ last night in the 200M backstroke. I have a special affection for backstroke events as that was my stroke when I was a competitive swimmer. According to my mother, it was largely because I didn’t want to put my face in the water when I started racing at age 7, but I would like to think that I continued with it later in life because I was actually good at it. Either way, I love to watch backstroke events and watching Aaron Peirsol, who is such a talented swimmer, is just a bonus. The call, obviously, was completely bogus and I’m glad that it was reversed as quickly as it was. I also am very impressed not only with Peirsol’s conduct during the incident, but also by Markus Rogan, the Austrian swimmer who came in second. He and Peirsol are friends and rivals through NCAA racing as well as the international swimming community, and Rogan was clear to point out that he didn’t think the call was fair and that he wouldn’t necessarily feel right accepting the gold if the call stood. I thought that was an example of a true sportsman and a loyal friend. His other quote? “Friendship is more important than a medal.” Hell yes.

The interesting point that my family discussed last night is that swimmers seem to have such a healthy attitude towards not getting gold medals. It seems that they appreciate the ones that they earn, but that they aren’t as obsessed or controlled by them as athletes in other disciplines. Perhaps it is due to the fact that swimmers have longer careers than other Olympic-level athletes, such as gymnasts and boxers. It just not as brutal a sport on the body as gymnastics or volleyball and the medium (water) stresses the joints much less. Which is not to say that it’s not hardcore, because God knows, swimmers are among the most fit people I know.

I’m starting to babble, but one of the funny things I’ve noticed is that I am starting to get hits because people are looking up “aaron peirsol girlfriend” on Google or Yahoo or whatever. Sorry, don’t know if he has one and I don’t really care either. Don’t get me wrong—he’s definitely cute and seems really cool, but the fact remains that I’m probably never going to meet the guy. However, I am definitely adding both he and Ian Thorpe to my brand new “List of People I want to Surf With.” Even if they would both kick my ass paddling out to the lineup. Oh well.

Quote of the Day: “This is what you get/this is what you get/this is what you get/when you mess with us.” Karma Police, Radiohead.

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