Writing and running in Austin, TX.
I know, I know, the whole open letter style blog post is totally overused and cliched. I also know that I just veered away from running two posts ago, and this is supposed to be a running blog.
Running addicts, don’t despair. We have a two-mile time trial this Wednesday, so I’m sure I’ll have lots of melodramatic introspection to share with you then.
For now though, you all get to share my logic. It goes like this: Olympics are awesome. Running is awesome. Therefore, Olympics = Running.
Sure, any real logic “professor” would tell you that’s a logical fallacy. (True or False: If a = b and c = b, a = c…are you cringing yet?) But my point is this: If you make it to the Olympics in anything, I mean anything, that’s freaking awesome!
Moreover, I will watch you compete, because you are so awesome. (Well, unless you’re a boxer. Don’t get me wrong, you’re still an awesome boxer, I just find boxing really boring.)
These last few days, I’ve had occasion to watch lots and lots of awesome swimmers. In case my Olympics = Running argument didn’t sway you earlier, I have another one for why Swimming = Running. You see, triathlons involve swimming. Lots of runners do triathlons. Therefore, Swimming = Running.
If you’ve also been watching swimming — and live in the United States — you’ve been watching the complete meltdown of Michael Phelps. And by “complete meltdown” I mean “completely fabricated meltdown invented by the US media”.
As you can see, all this swimming watching has compelled me to write Michael a letter. Here goes.
I just want to take a moment to apologize on all our (the American people’s) behalves. Sure, you’ve won 17 Olympic medals. Sure, you’ve swum world records in…everything. Sure, you’ve sold millions of Visa credit cards.
I’m sorry that’s not enough for us.
I’m sorry that every time you win a silver medal, we’ll ask you how disappointed you are that you missed gold. I’m sorry that when your teammate tells a news anchor that you’re all young and the team will be back, said news anchor will respond with, “Well, not Phelps”, like you’re 72 instead of 27.
And while we’re on the media, I’m sorry that we sent Ryan Seacrest to provide commentary on the Olympics. I have no explanation for that, but I’m sorry anyway.
I’m sorry that all we can talk about is Ryan Lochte and his Lochte Nation. I’m sorry that we applaud him for flipping heavy tires as “training” and act like all you’ve done is sit on your butt eating bon bons. I’m sorry that you’re getting upstaged in the media by a guy who brought a diamond grill to bite his gold medal with.
While we’re at it, I’m sorry for things that happened before these Olympics. I’m sorry that people call your records into question because everyone was wearing super-suits in 2008. I’m sorry that your smoking pot caused more of a stir than the entire professional baseball community using steroids. (Okay, not really. But I’m sorry that the only reason they win is because Congress got involved.)
Most of all, I’m sorry that we spent all of 2008 building you up so we could spend all of 2012 tearing you down.
What I hope you’ll remember is this: You can still swim circles around all of us. You’re as much of a “has-been” as Roger Federer, and that guy just won Wimbledon. If you aren’t as excited about this Olympics because you’ve already been to 3 of them and won everything you could possibly win, AND because we’ve put absolutely unrealistic expectations on you to do that all again, I can kind of get that.
Okay, I can’t really get that at all, because I’m not an Olympic World American Super Champion. But I can imagine that all the hype could get really really old.
In summary, you’re still awesome, and I’m sorry that those of us who really are sitting on the couch eating bon bons think we have a right to tear down your accomplishments. Clearly we do not understand what the Olympic spirit is all about. When I watch you cheer on that grill-wearing medal biter, I know you do.
PS – Apologies to Ryan Lochte. You are also awesome. But come on, that grill is ridiculous.