I Don’t and Didn’t Care About the Olympics

Am I the only one?

Maybe I’m anti-art, anti-sport, anti-world. Maybe I just don’t get it. But there’s only so much synchronized diving I can watch before my eyes glaze over. It’s all the same to me.

There are some nice things about it. It was cool that Saudi Arabia had a woman compete in track and field for the first time. It was awesome to see Phelps win gold again (and by “see” I really mean “see the headline”) and Ledecki break her own record. All of these things are great, I guess, for them.

You see, maybe the beef I have with the games is that these heroic feats are the product of hard work, born and acquired skill, and, perhaps most importantly, unemployment. Athletes get to the top of their games by finding ways to support themselves by being professional swimmers, runners, or divers.

I have mixed feelings about this. Yes, I’m in awe, but I feel the same way about a software engineer who can turn lines of code beautiful software. I can’t even read the physics papers that get published by professional scientists. Do they get primetime television? Why don’t we air the math Olympiad? These people are building the next electric cars and airplanes and banking software — and they earn a normal paycheck. Let’s give them medals!

A televised game of chess will not draw the same advertisers that Biles can with her best-in-the-world gymnastics. That doesn’t mean I have to fall in line and ooh and aah about what these athletes can do.

Some day, unless they got Visa to sponsor them, these athletes too will have to get a normal job.

Maybe I’ll have an easier time celebrating that.

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