26 August 2008

the other side of olympic discipline

forget the medal count, matthew syed has a far more interesting story regarding what goes on inside the olympic village:

I am often asked if the Olympic village - the vast restaurant and housing conglomeration that hosts the world's top athletes for the duration of the Games - is the sex-fest it is cracked up to be. My answer is always the same: too right it is. I played my first Games in Barcelona in 1992 and got laid more often in those two and a half weeks than in the rest of my life up to that point…

I spoke to an Aussie table tennis player this week to check out the village vibe [in Beijing] and he launched into the breathless patter common to any Olympic debutant: “It is unbelievable in there; everyone is totally crazy once they are out of their competitions. God knows what it is going to be like this weekend. It is like a world within a world.” A British runner (anonymous again: athletes are not supposed to talk to journalists unaccompanied by a PR type, least of all about sex) said: “The swimmers finished earlier in the week and it was like there was an eruption.”

…it is worth noting an intriguing dichotomy between the sexes in respect of all this coupling. The chaps who win gold medals - even those as geeky as Michael Phelps - are the principal objects of desire for many female athletes… But - and this is the thing - success does not work both ways. Gold-medal winning female athletes are not looked upon by male athletes with any more desire than those who flunked out in the first round. It is sometimes even considered a defect, as if there is something downright unfeminine about all that striving, fist pumping and incontinent sweating.

the reactions to his article were just as entertaining:

Why on earth didn’t anyone let me know about this earlier? I might have tried to be a volunteer in the village . . . Wang, Beijing, China

Surely this is all the motivation those 14-to-18-year-old athletes on GB’s various Olympic development programs should need to inspire them to get to London 2012. It should be pinned to the notice board of every school and sports centre in the country. Tim, Manchester

That was the most awesome Olympics-related article I’ve read since Beijing 2008 started. Drake, Alabama, US

if you’re still interested in the medal count though, i came across this widget, which apparently calculates the medals according to population and GDP, with jamaica leading.

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