Olympics All Over: Exhibits, exhibits!

It’s that time–where Olympics seem to surround us and make us anticipate the games even more as fans. This part of the blog documents what we see around us in the upcoming months. ENJOY!

I’ve notices a few museum exhibits that reference sports and the Olympics:

1) National Museum of American Indian has an exhibit called “Best in the World: Native Athletes in the Olympics” highlighting greats like Jim Thorpe and Duke Kahanamoku.

2) The Newseum has “Photo Finish: The Sports Photography of Neil Leifer“… the collection has some great sports moments, not just ones from the Olympics.

Both of these museums are in Washington, D.C. Comment back to the post if you’ve seen any in your area! I think it’s really cool how the Olympics is getting tied into so many things. 🙂

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Are You In Love With Ryan Lochte Yet?

Are you sure?

How about now?

Ryan Lochte is an Olympic swimmer, winner of several World championships in swimming, and holds a couple records in swimming times as well. He’s posed to possibly beat Michael Phelps (and several other swimmers from around the world, but let’s be honest, Michael Phelps) at the London Olympics.

To add to the tension, Ryan recently beat Michael Phelps (with whom he is friends) in two recent championships. He’s a contender.

Okay, this is pretty adorable.

Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte

But more importantly, he’s posed to be a sex symbol and thus extremely marketable in a way that Michael Phelps couldn’t be:

“We’re a little Phelps’d out,” said Bob Dorfman, the executive creative director of Baker Street Advertising and author of the Sports Marketers’ Scouting Report. As a brand, Mr. Lochte’s appeal is “through the roof,” he added. “He has potential for winning golds, and then just the fact that he’s so damn good-looking. If he can’t beat Michael Phelps in anything else, he can beat him in that category.”

In addition, he already has a catchphrase, a large Twitter following, and a Vogue cover shoot.

With Serena Williams and Hope Solo

“I’m the only one [Vogue cover boy] who had two girls.”

Not to mention a signature shoe covered in rhinestones from one of his sponsors, Speedo, who also sell a $25 flip-flop version of it.

can't wait until Forever 21 knocks the rhinestone versions off...

via explore.speedousa.com

But Ryan Lochte is different from the usual Olympic athlete: he’s not very interested in his own sport.

“I don’t want to be stuck in the swimming world,” he said. “I don’t just eat, swim, sleep — I don’t do that. There’s so much more to me than swimming.” Away from the pool deck, he added, “I hate talking about swimming.” He prefers playing basketball, or practicing his terrible golf game, or drawing surreal nature images.

Finally, there’s Ryan Lochte’s constant presence in social media, where he retweets fans who wear his sunglasses and posts pictures of his grill. Meanwhile, all Michael Phelps talks about is swimming.

Check out his grill.

Just one more.

Female Olympians: A Strange Phenomenon, Apparently

In recent Olympic news, there’s been a lot of stories on female athletes in the Olympics, partly because of the IOC’s policy that puts in place sex verification made to ban women with naturally high testosterone levels from women’s competitions, because of an apparent advantage.

American hurdler and all around awesome person Lolo Jones

Of course, THIS IS TOTAL CRAP. Having more testosterone does not equal higher athletic ability. And suggesting that’s so is insulting to everyone, especially to the athletes that work so hard. Caster Semenya’s situation comes to mind especially, where the IAAF decided to test her “womanness” in a way that invaded Semenya’s privacy and turned her into a political statement.

via The Guardian

What’s next, testing male athletes on teams for higher estrogen levels because of a correlation between estrogen and a cooperative nature? Or preventing older athletes from competing unless they have progesterone levels on par with younger athletes? Or preventing Michael Phelps from competing because he has a body made to win?

Michael Phelps swimming

Oh, no, wait, according to Scientific American, that means nothing — and is usually an excuse made by people because of the association fallacy that something inherently “special” about Michael got him the win — not hard work, a devotion to improving his form, or anything like that:

So do you think there is anything to these “natural physical gift” arguments?

H. Richard Weiner (an internist and a former acclaimed All-American swimmer): I’m sure if we could measure Phelps as much as we would like, we would find attributes better than average for swimming, but I don’t think we would find any glaring abnormalities. I suspected if we could comprehensively measure all Olympians in finals, we would see significant differences [when compared to non-Olympians], but we would not see them having freakish things like 200 percent more lung capacity, or muscles that can contract at twice the [maximum] force of a normal human muscle. I mean, come on.

This is particularly disturbing because when the IOC, a huge international non-state actor, is policing gender, it suggests there is a standard for being a “woman, for being a “good” athlete, and that everyone should fit a very scientific heteronormative narrative. For an event supposed to be about inclusion and international unity, they have a very odd way of showing it. Not to mention the fact that wealth has more to influence athletic ability than near anything else.

Coca Cola Is The Most Fun Corporate Sponsor

Coca Cola is the oldest continuous sponsor of the Olympic Games, and their unique advertising in connection to the Games definitely highlights that. While there are definitely a lot of problems with the corporate sponsorship of the Games, thanks to the rules of the IOC, it’s hard not to be fascinated by the “Move the Beat” campaign. Coca Cola obviously knows what it’s doing, which is probably aided by the fact that they are sold in every single country except for North Korea and Cuba. Not to mention their very visible and earwormy approach to the 2010 World Cup with K’Naan’s “Wave Your Flag.”

The fascination with Coca Cola is visible with fan photos (most of which are Instagram, which is a mystery I’ll never solve) of the colorful packaging and the cars following the Olympic Torch:

via jordanforinstance.tumblr.com/

image via mylastwordsbeforeitsallover.tumblr.com/

image via mylastwordsbeforeitsallover.tumblr.com/

Then there’s also the specific outreach to fans, such as the music video and song from Mark Ronson and Katy B, called “Anywhere In the World,” the beat of which was created through Tae Kwon Doe athlete María Espinoza of Mexico, archer Dayyan Jaffar of Singapore, table tennis player Darius Knight of Britain, hurdler David Oliver of the United States, and sprinter Kseniya Vdovina of Russia.

The song has a great beat, though I can’t get over the fact that the lyrics are pretty terrible (“river” doesn’t rhyme with “silver”!).

And then there’s the “Create the Beat” game they have online, where you can combine a certain sport (like “Tae Kwon Doe”) with a specific music style (like, um, “dubstep”) and create a pretty music video highlighting that sport against the beat you chose. My favorite was actually “Track & Field” with “R&B.”

via AdAge Global

Finally, they’re going to have a TV show to capture the social atmosphere of London! All targeted to teens so they can enjoy sugary drinks to become athletes! Wait….

NBC v. BBC: American and British Olympic Ideals

Both the British broadcaster BBC and the official American broadcaster NBC released their trailers for Olympics Coverage this past week.

The BBC went with the sweet electric voice of Ellie Goulding and a girl in gold going to a rooftop party for the Olympics Opening Ceremony:

I can understand them wanting to fit with the LOCOG’s idea of branding London and the UK in a new light. But I also love the fact that the girl gets dressed up to watch the opening ceremonies in real life as opposed to a TV. I mean…this is a TV commercial for primarily a sports event. But because the BBC is a public service broadcaster, the commercial is about getting the public excited that the Olympics are in their town.

NBC went with cheering, yelling, and Michael Phelps (also Ryan Lochte as a possible usurper!):

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The History of the Torch

Olympic Torch Nail Art!

via sweetlyfez.tumblr.com

(Note: All links lead to the Tumblrs and images of fans.)

One element of the Olympics most prominent on the minds of fans has been the passage of the Olympic Torch. The Torch passing through one’s town can be a point of personal pride, or even just a reason to party, or make commemorative nail art. There are also several people who have held the torch  in their towns — and so have acted as momentary local ambassadors to the world because of this.

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Are You A Fan of the Olympics?

Chris Savage's Alternative Logo

via BBC’s alternative logo contest in 2007

Why?

Oh, sure, the sports. Surely that’s not it. You can go to local game. Or join a team and play yourself — or if you used to play, I bet you have some old tapes of you doing so. Maybe you can switch to digital and get nostalgic for an afternoon.

But no, it’s important to you to watch the OLYMPICS. IN LONDON. IN 2012 (only half a year left till the end of the world, everyone!).

Well, of course! It’s the most prominent, public international event ever — and definitely the most fun. In this case, a fan can be anyone who watches the Olympics for the sports, the athletes, or perhaps something else: the idea that playing games together brings the international community together. It’s an amazing display of diplomacy as associated with one of the top five things that makes us happy: sports.

Well, that’s supposed to be the point, but then McDonald’s is the official Olympic restaurant (?), NBC is going crazy over it being Michael Phelps’s last Olympics (!), and Saudi Arabia apparently has No Female Athletes — wait no now they do — wait, nevermind (?!). And then the LOCOG is telling fans they can’t make free commemorative pillows for the athletes, while Ryan Lochte is going to dazzle us all with his…swimming. Then there’s the IOC, who are like the Dumbledore of the Olympics (but only if you read the last book).

But what are the “medal-heads” in it for? Why are you a fan of the Olympics?