Let’s be honest. Every four years, we all have to force ourselves to show a fake sense of enthusiasm about this sporting event called Olympics. Not that it doesn’t fascinate us. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies sure are fascinating. Because during those ceremonies, you are completely lost in the myriad colors and the many abstract dance forms set to strange music with shiny objects in shapeless shapes floating around, as you patiently wait to cheer for the contingent from your home country parade through the stadium alongside 200 other countries, of which you are likely to forget the names of at least 175 of them till the next Olympics.
Then you start asking yourself..
“Who is the flag-bearer of my home country?..Oh, who is it right behind her? And who is that tall bearded guy ? And who…etc.etc.”, before concluding that you really have no clue who anyone in that contingent is and the only thing you recognize in that contingent is just the national flag. Sigh!
That’s when it strikes you. Rio 2016 is here. And what are you going to do when you run into someone at a party or at your child’s soccer game or at work the next day and the water cooler conversation slowly drifts towards Olympics? You can’t just walk out of the conversation by simply saying, “Sorry. I don’t follow Olympics”. Can you?
Use this pocket guide and you can sound like a complete Olympics aficionado for the next two weeks, after which no one really cares about any of what happened in the past two weeks anyways. Depending on the topic or event being discussed, you can carefully pick any of the quotes (in any order) listed under that specific topic and spew them out with a swag, that only Olympics aficionados can understand.
[Note: It’s important to remember that no one really knows everything about the Olympics and specifically no one really knows anything in detail about any of the events. So, a bit of imagination goes a long way. And don’t forget that swag.]
“With everything that’s wrong politically in Brazil right now, come on, the country is not fully ready. I will keep my fingers crossed till Aug 21..”
“..Corruption. The place has so much corruption that even the water tests conducted on Olympic waters were done by a corrupt agency. I hope the rowing teams are provided with air-fresheners. Am I right or wrong? Ha ha…”
“Zika virus problem may be exaggerated. But I think in this Olympics they should label ‘antibiotics’ as performance enhancing drugs..Ha ha…”
“Do you know that there are five sports that have been contested at every Olympics since the inaugural Games in 1896, and one of them is Fencing..? Do you know the other four?”
[Pro-tip: If someone confidently lists four other events, agree with him/her on the first three but say he/she is wrong on the fourth one. Before anyone could say anything, just leave. If no one gives a response, then you blurt out 4 random events..that you remember. No harm done. And leave.]
“Team USA’s men’s fencing team looks the strongest since 1904..They haven’t won a single medal since then. But Alexander Massialas, the No. 1-ranked foil in the world, will be the best hope for gold..”
“Hope Italy and France don’t win as many medals this year as they normally do. Go Team USA!”
“You talking about Mountain Bike or BMX or Road to Track..?”
“The Great Britain Men’s team was amazing in Men’s Team Sprint in London. Can they pull it off again?”
“I still don’t know how BMX became an Olympic event. Seriously hope they make them do BMX inside the Rainforest..That would be something..”
“Whoever came up with Pentathlon must have been smoking something. I mean who would have thought of an event that consists of Fencing, Swimming, Running, Pistol Shooting and ..and..out of all show jumping..? But in olden times i.e. the not so modern Pentathlon had some other 5 events..do you know?”
“Show jumping – I can never stop watching this. So beautiful..Those horses. They arebjust majestic and beautiful. So well trained..”
“May be the host country has a chance here. But I think Great Britain is the favorite..”
[Pro-Tip: Feel free to add your own imagination when you are talking about Modern Pentathlon. Very few people follow this and even out of those who follow, very very few know anything about anyone in this sport.]
“Seriously. Who can forget Gabby Douglas from 2012 and be not “impressed” with McKayla Maroney or the Fierce Five? I have my bet on them..”
[Remember to use your hands to make the quote gesture and stress on impressed..]
“Between the beam and uneven bars, I dig uneven bars..What’s your favorite?”
[Pro-Tip: This normally throws people off in a spin. You will always come out a winner in this. Just keep cool. Swagalicious.]
“Floor exercise is so stressful to watch. Team USA or Brazil or China..? Team USA will clinch gold for the team event for sure. Do you remember the spin she took what’s her name..the ..never mind, the one from Brazil in 2004?”
[Pro-Tip: Again, you have a winner on hand. No one will remember. You just move on to saying something profound about Gymnastics in general. Swagalicious.]
Note: This topic is a bit complicated and you need to practice this quite a bit before you can pull it off because Athletics is such a vast category that there are so many different events. A bit of an ear into what specifically is being discussed could go a long way.
“Team USA is going to come home with quite a few here. This is one area where China hasn’t broken the ceiling yet..”
“Usain Bolt. Usain Bolt. Usain Bolt.” <Mic drop gesture>
“800m is a bit much for him..You are talking about LeShawn right? No?”
“He needs to have a better lift. That’s one thing that would kill you at the 15th km. Remember the Australian who was in the lead till the last 500 m and then lost the gold.? Think it was 2012..May be 2008..”
[Pro-Tip: Enough to send the group on a dizzying search because Walking is the last sporting event anyone pays attention to.]
Discus, Hammer Throw, Shot Put, Javelin
“I always say that the technique is the most important thing here. Not your strength. Of course it matters..But to be able to spin like that..Amber has a chance I think. Hope it’s not the Polish again..”
“What? you are not talking about Hammer Throw? Right. Shot put is equally hard. I used to be in my high school shot put team..Barely cleared 50 m..”
Long Jump, High Jump, Pole Vault, Triple Jump
“Triple jump is my favorite. Looks very easy on TV but it’s really hard. Christian Taylor and Will Claye. Although Germans could nail this..Don’t you agree?”
“Love keeping tabs on this..Do you remember who finished at the bottom in the last Olympics? It was Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia and Morocco I think. May be Kuwait as well. Always love to see those surprises. Remember Togo? No? Let me explain..”
[Pro-Tip: It’s your opportunity to make up a great story. From the 1984 Olympics or 2000 or even 2008. Don’t think anyone cares at this point.]
“If Opening Ceremony is about optimism, I have to admit Closing Ceremony makes me cry. Well sort of. There is always someone crying in the stadium. Especially the citizens of the host nation. Although in Brazil, they could be celebrating that it’s finally over and they can get back to their real lives.. Oh, wait that should make them cry. Anyway….The opening ceremony was a blast this year. Gisele stole the show I think…What did you think of that music they played..? By the way, do you know where the Olympics flame is burning in Rio right now? It’s in a top secret place..Very unusual..”