The Olympian says ignore the scandal and focus on the true spirit of the Games
Johnny Weir is fabulous. The figure skater, who placed sixth in the 2010 Winter Olympics, has been skating professionally since he was 12 and is no stranger to fierce competition – and fantastic costumes! With winning routines set to hits by Lady Gaga, the sparkle-loving athlete also recently married and now will blog for PEOPLE.com with the same fun energy he brings to the ice.
I love the Olympic Games.
The Olympics are an event that few can fathom but all can enjoy and that’s why athletes work our whole lives to put on the greatest show on earth. My hope from this Olympic Games is that people don’t lose faith in the Olympic movement.
Every day I listen to BBC radio. I watch live translations on Russia’s channel, Russia 2, and I tuck in with my husband and puppy for NBC’s primetime coverage. Olympic fever has hit my household hard! As I try to stay as up to date by watching everything, I hear about new scandals, disqualifications, political positioning, and cultural bias. I know figure skating has a bad rep, but this Games is taking things to a new level.
Throwing matches and cheating in badminton? Automatically assuming a great Chinese teenage swimmer who makes new world records is on drugs simply because she won with a fast time? It’s ridiculous. Nobody dared to ask if Michael Phelps was chemically enhanced when he set a new world record at 15 and won eight out of eight Olympic gold medals in Beijing four years ago.
When I see a Japanese athlete, who is in contention against an American, make the exact same mistake as the American, I don’t need to hear that we like this one or that one better, I just want to know why the winner wins.
I know Jordyn Wieber was supposed to win every gold medal that the Olympics has to offer – including the rowing! – but so much of the telecast was dedicated to watching her cry that we lost the opportunity to really celebrate who took Jordyn’s spot in the all-around final, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas. At the end of the day, Wieber had and has more opportunities to win gold in this Olympics, and she did by helping Team USA win the team event.
Figure skaters on the other hand, get roughly six minutes to win one medal at the Olympics. Just sayin’.
The booing and the drama help make the Olympics interesting, but at what cost? When will people finally get tired of it and start watching the X-Games or competitive tire rolling instead? Now that I’ve thoroughly vented for you, I have to say that I am so enjoying the Olympics and so inspired by these athletes. Michael Phelps is a sporting God among men. It is hard to say if anyone will ever match his accomplishments, but it has been an honor to see him become a legend. He makes me proud of the American sports institution and proud of the sports that get mass attention only every four years. Who wants football and basketball when you have a Michael Phelps in your midst?
The gymnastic events are really what I tune into the Summer Olympics for. The American women claiming gold over Russia was so exciting. They were so evenly matched as teams and the Americans were absolutely stunning, ending with an incredible “Hava Nagila” moment from the lovely Aly Raisman. Gabby Douglas winning the all-around is beyond inspiring. I am a big fan of Viktoria Komova and Aliya Mustafina from Russia and I am happy they kept it together to each win medals! The underdogs really brought it for the women and I am proud of them.
The men were outrageous; flipping over that high bar like it was a go-go pole and contorting their bodies into positions that would make any yogi jealous. Kohei Uchimura, who is one of my favorite athletes, was splendid as he won the all-around gold and the pride of both Cuba and America, Danell Leyva and his towel rocked their way to an Olympic medal.
The diving has been great, too. I particularly enjoy the platform synchronized events. Now I understand why the ladies of Manhattan prance, flip and dance on their sky high Christian Louboutins, it’s because, like the divers, they want the gold. I can’t wait to watch Matthew Mitcham!