Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Fever (Spoiler)

Who has two thumbs and is a huge nerd for the Olympics? This gurl.
You hear about people having "Olympic Fever" and what-not, and while I don't go super crazy during the season, I do get excited and have been known to occasionally act like I'm an expert on a sport when I am clearly not -I call this Olympic-douche-itis. We have all been guilty of exhibiting symptoms of this at one time or another. (Don't try to deny it!) I have always loved the Olympics. I get so excited about the games months before they happen, they are one of the few sporting events I get really into. My poor DVR has had trouble keeping up with the 12+ hours of events I record at a time. There are something like 67 hours of events on TV per day on 4 or 5 different channels. It's almost too overwhelming, my brain can't take it. It's like an addiction.  I totally overdid it yesterday, though. I spent at least 12 hours trying to cram 48 hours worth of Olympics into my day. I think it fried my brain a little bit because I felt exhausted when I got up this morning to go to work.  I wish I could program the DVR to only record those events I must watch, but since NBC has it listed as a single block of time on the TV guide, I end up having to record all of it, which is fine, I will watch it all. But, if the DVR runs out of room before I get to watch the events I love the most, I will Hulk out a little. Technology, I demand that you catch up to my needs! The events I get the most excited about are gymnastics and swimming. I was a pretty good swimmer as a kid considering I grew up in Colorado, a land-locked state. But, my hands-down favorite summer Olympic event to watch is gymnastics because that's what I really wanted to do as a kid, especially after my Olympic Fever outbreak of 1992.

Not this Olympic Fever.
The first Olympics I remember avidly watching on TV was the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. I'm sure I watched them with my parents in the years before then, but that was the first time I remember being aware of what the Olympic games were, and their importance. That was the year they really stuck with me. I, like many an impressionable young American girl, looked up to Shannon Miller, one of the U.S gymnasts. My mom indulged my sister and I by enrolling us in dance and gymnastics classes. We went to classes off-and-on for several years, not quite understanding that we were probably too old and not trained enough to actually come close to becoming Olympians, but we didn't care. Whenever I got on the balance beam or practiced my cartwheels and bridges on the floor, I imagined myself in a stadium full of people, and the podium with my medals waiting for me in the corner. But, sadly, our Olympic dreams were not meant to be. My sister lost interest eventually and pursued cheerleading instead. I tried to get serious about gymnastics and dance again after the 1996 games, but we discovered I had Scoliosis, and gymnastics just became too painful and difficult. After healing completely from spinal surgery years later, it was all but impossible to seriously pursue gymnastics again, but by then theatre had become my new obsession.  I won't kid myself, I was never going to be an Olympian.  Had I been able to stick with gymnastics, I probably never would have advanced further than local/friendly competitions; I was too old, too tall, and had not trained nearly enough. The important thing now is I am relatively healthy, and I can live vicariously through our American Olympians every four years.

This was almost too much awesome for my wee brain.
So, last night when (SPOILER) Jordyn Wieber didn't make the cut for the Women's Gymnastics All-Around competition, I teared up a little bit for her. To watch her realization that a major piece of her life-long dream had fallen apart in front of an international audience was heartbreaking. Unfortunately, though by the nature of the games, for some to win, many have to lose. That is part of what draws us to the games.  To watch the end result of a person or a team's years of grueling work to see if their dreams come true or if they are dashed at the last moment. The drama, and the fight, and the test of the human body and spirit are why we are so riveted with these events.

All that being said, has anyone played Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games for the 3DS? Wow. I played a demo of it recently in trying to get my Pre-Olympic Fever fix. What an awful game. Now, I'm a fan of both Mario and Sonic and if you had told 10-year-old-me that the two beloved icons would appear in a game together one day, I would have peed myself with glee. The unfortunate reality is, this game is so anticlimactic, I don't even have the desire to write a decent review of it. So, here is my antiquated and very abbreviated first impression:
-It's neat to have the Mario and Sonic universes together again, but that's about the only positive thing I have to say about this game.
-The mini games are too similar to each other and are often confusing.
-The touch pad doesn't always respond how you want it to.
-The overall game play/concept really falls short of expectations for the two franchises.
-As a whole, the game was lackluster and disappointing.


There are plenty of reviews out there from people who played more than just the demo, but I find most of them in agreement. I understand the initial appeal of video games based on the Olympics. The Olympics themselves are such exciting events, and I think it's natural to want to relive or prolong that excitement by playing a video game where you control the action.  But in reality, even playing a video can't compare to the excitement that comes along with the actual events, I ran into this letdown after the 2010 Winter Olympics and the unimpressive video game that came out that year. That's what makes the Olympics so special: it's a feeling, an event, an atmosphere that cannot be duplicated.  But what can I say? Olympic Fever can make people do some crazy things.

Really, London? Really?

What's your favorite can't-miss Olympic event?
What's the most disappointing video game you've played?


  1. I don't know if you saw it but when they were interviewing Aly Raisman about making the cut for the Women's Gymnastic All Around competition, you could see Jordyn Weiber just over her shoulder still tearing up after not making the cut. It was a bit heart breaking.

    1. I know! I felt so bad for her, but I was also really happy for Aly and Gabby. It's a stupid rule that each country can only send 2 members into the All-Around.


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