Another day, another marathon Olympics watching session (I guess we won't be able to say that much longer.) The Dutch press are making a very big deal about Tia Hellebaut, the 6 foot tall Belgian high jumper who unexpectedly won gold in the high jump, beating out the heavily favored Croatian (and as I kept pretending, pickle heiress) Blanka Vlasic. (By the way, I have a friend who is an actual pickle heiress, which might be the best kind of heiress to be. Have you ever thought about that? I mean, if you were an heiress, what kind would you like to be? You'd want it to be something distinctive by not embarrassing. Nobody wants to be constantly referred to in the press as "the Catheter Heiress" or "The Anal Suppository Heiress." Pickle heiress is perfect. Anyway.)
I've noticed something else in the European coverage of the games--there's no human interest stories, and I actually miss them. How can I care about this person if I don't see slow motion footage of the bleak Ukranian orphanage where they first learned to pole vault? Or hear about how their blind father drove them seven hours each way to Tashkent's only diving complex, until they became an American citizen just three hours before the Games officially began? (I take that back. Apparently it's Bahrain and Qatar that were giving citizenships out like candy just before the games.)
But the Europeans do something else. Just before the start of a long race, they pan over the faces of each competitor. More than pan--they hold a close-up of each of their faces for several seconds. And what you see there really tells you all you need to know. Faces are amazing, and theirs are no exception; every hue from everywhere in the world. And contained therein: fear, pride, fatalism, disbelief, or some combination of all three. They all look so different, yet so utterly alike. A moment like that is bigger than everyone. And I think that's what the Olympics are really about, n'est-ce pas?
Also, China really should have invested in a better wind machine. Everyone's flag looks like shit when they turn it on. Hell, they could have borrowed one from Beyonce. She's got plenty.