I get that basketball is your thing, and that it's exciting that the US is great at it. But come on--we get amazing basketball for like 7 months out of every year here. You're no better than NBC, cramming basketball, gymnastics and swimming down our throats.
So what did he do next? Wrote a 3,000 word breakdown of swimming and gymnastics. I am a brilliant genius.
You never think of swimming and gymnastics as Summer Olympics rivals in the Magic-Bird sense,
Because they aren't individual athletes with a cool backstory competing against one another at two different levels of their profession for an extended period of time
much less the Tupac-Biggie sense,
And because they aren't artistic non-rivals who happened to peak at roughly the same time and die tragically within 9 months of each other
but that's exactly what they are.
They definitely aren't. Then again, Simmons's cultural knowledge runs about as deep as my knowledge of how to interact with women, so why shouldn't he choose Bird/Magic and Tupac/Biggie for this analogy?
They peak in the splashiest way possible for just two weeks every four years.
Just like two basketball players who wrote a new chapter for their rivalry pretty much every year for a decade, or two musicians who were really only in the public eye for a few years each!
During that precious window, they battle for worldwide attention, television ratings, prime-time real estate,
Pretty sure NBC finds time to show us each and every second of everything that happens in both of them. At the expense of anything else happening during the Olympics.
In order to remain podcast buddies with Seth Meyers, Bill is contractually obligated to pretend that SNL is still relevant.
If you can find me a Sportscenter commercial featuring a swimmer besides Phelps or any gymnast, please drop a link in the comments.
the affection of horny teenage boys,
You already tried to say that in other ways, and still, no.
and tens of millions of dollars in endorsements.
If swimming and gymnastics were people, they would absolutely despise each other while pretending publicly that everything was totally fine — you know, kind of like Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.
JUST LIKE LARRY LEGEND AND MAGIC, EXCEPT THAT THOSE TWO ACTUALLY LIKE EACH OTHER, OR TUPAC AND BIGGIE, EXCEPT THAT THOSE TWO NEVER PRETENDED TO LIKE EACH OTHER!
Look, I know most of my posts these days pick on Simmons, and that most of the time I just mock him for constantly recycling material and being unfunny, and you feel like you've read this all before blah blah blah. But let me take a step back and riff on the bigger topic here. This is unfathomably shitty writing. It really is. He wants to compare gymnastics and swimming, which is dumb, but whatever, it's better than a lot of other garbage he's written about, so I'll allow it. But he can't just say "I'm going to break down these two sports for you." No. He's got to try to (poorly) analogize them to two recent rivalries (one of which isn't really a rivalry), then provide no support for the analogies, then try to change the analogies midstream, all the while cracking pathetically terrible jokes. Look, sportswriters aren't necessarily supposed to be good writers. They don't have to be master essayists, they don't have to wow me with their prose. But holy dogshit on a stick: this man sucks asshole at writing. It's astonishing just how bad he is.
Just know that I have no dog in this race. I don't care who captures the imaginary Summer Olympics title.
How convenient! Neither do we.
But after seeing swimming and gymnastics in London, I feel qualified to answer a question that you always secretly wanted to know:
I feel qualified to answer a question Klosterman has always kind of secretly wanted to know, just because each sport is so overunderrated:
"What's more fun to watch in person … Olympic swimming or Olympic gymnastics?"
I hate to be a party pooper but I'm going to guess that it depends on whether you find swimming or gymnastics more interesting. Sorry.
Yep, he's still using that device.
Wait, this sounds like the perfect topic for one of my favorite old-school gimmicks … that's right, it's the Dr. Jack Breakdown!!!
They're holding swimming in a 17,500-seat venue with seating on just two sides, so for many fans, they could have called this Noseblood Arena. When IOC members, sponsors and heavy hitters with quality seats started no-showing events, they earned the collective ire of everyone in London. (We never totally knew who to blame, but one thing's for sure — the Olympics should definitely consider using seat fillers à la the Oscars.) Even if you dropped some coin for a night of swimming, there's a good chance you ended up watching tiny dots thrash in the pool from the 137th row. There's definitely a "haves vs. have-nots" vibe for swimming.