Join 3,519 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Hands On A Hard Body
August 23, 2008 7:58 PM   Subscribe

Sex at the Olympics. "I am often asked if the Olympic village . . . is the sex-fest it is cracked up to be. My answer is always the same: too right it is." Table tennis Olympian Matthew Syed dishes the dirt. (possibly NSFW, TimesOnline).
posted by fourcheesemac (113 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Lots of single young people, crammed together for long periods of time under intense pressure, with a fixed end date and very small likelihood of seeing each other again?

Sounds like college after exams, so no one should be surprised if the results are the same.
posted by djgh at 8:02 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Where the world comes, together."
"World's fastest man indeed."
"Officer I swear, her country said she was 16!"
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:06 PM on August 23, 2008 [28 favorites]


Fencer? I barely know 'er!
posted by danb at 8:09 PM on August 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


Hey nola -- I hate the Olympics almost as much as you do. No offense taken.

That's why I posted this. It's mockery, not hero worship.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:16 PM on August 23, 2008


I remember a study where they found if you put two strangers in a room for a while with the lights out, they tend to start touching each other. And here, with the lights on, are young people in the prime of physical perfection with east access to each other. So this isn't really news, is it?

Of course, I conducted that study, and got slapped a lot.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:16 PM on August 23, 2008 [7 favorites]


I just hate the Olympics.

I don't hate them. I just think that from here on out Michael Phelps should be forced to swim with his medals on.
posted by jonmc at 8:18 PM on August 23, 2008 [14 favorites]


"No I didn't medal in the heptathlon, I couldn't, Monaco only sent five athletes this year."
posted by Science! at 8:19 PM on August 23, 2008


It's mockery, not hero worship

Well, I'll help you by pointing out that the guy who wrote the article looks like an accidented John Turturro.
posted by micayetoca at 8:22 PM on August 23, 2008


young people in the prime of physical perfection with east access to each other.

Call me crazy, but among consenting adults does it really matter which direction they approach from?
posted by jonmc at 8:26 PM on August 23, 2008 [6 favorites]


possibly NSFW

It wasn't NSFW at all! Booooooooooooooo!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:27 PM on August 23, 2008 [6 favorites]


Olympic Sport of 'Hooking up' Gains Popularity as Games in Final Week.

Olympics and Safe Sex ... What's the Harm in That? *
posted by ericb at 8:27 PM on August 23, 2008


I think nola might like the Olympics better if there were gators in the pool.
posted by Liosliath at 8:28 PM on August 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hmmm...I hate to make accusations, but that Fox article came out at the end of the day in which the Globe and Mail first wrote up the Romance and the Rings story (August 14). Was the Globe the first out of the blocks or is there any earlier article (for this Olympics)?
posted by acoutu at 8:33 PM on August 23, 2008


It wasn't NSFW at all!

I was mostly referring to the photo near the top. I'm sure there are bosses who would not appreciate seeing that on an employee's monitor, so I thought I'd give fair warning.

posted by fourcheesemac at 8:33 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


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. Sport, in this respect, is a reflection of wider society, where male success is a universal desirable whereas female success is sexually ambiguous.

Aw geez, there is even a glass ceiling for women when it comes to sex in the Olympic village? This is a crushing blow.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:35 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


From the Bangkok Post article:
"And if there are free condoms going around, people will feel like using them."

If only it were that easy, we'd have HIV on its heels globally. I love how the emphasis is on "free." As if paying 50 cents for a condom were a real obstacle to anyone.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:36 PM on August 23, 2008


A man went over to his girl's place for a little bit of nookie between the sheets. He presented her with three choices of condom -- gold, silver, or bronze.

"Silver," she said.

"Why not gold?" he asked.

"Because I want you to come second for once!"

But seriously, you might enjoy reading about The World's First Summons To A Sexual Olympics by Alexander Gross.
posted by Sailormom at 8:45 PM on August 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


*anyone as well off as an Olympic athlete -- I'm sure there are places where fifty cents for a condom is a bit of a . . . . stretch.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:45 PM on August 23, 2008


Y'know, everytime I turned on the Olympics this year, it was nothing but swimming and beach volleyball. Chicks in bikinis and dudes in grape smugglers, that'd make anybody horny.

(and to return to Phelps, remember the last American swimmer to win a lot of medals? Mark Spitz? He's a damn dentist now. A few years later Bruce Jenner won the decathalon and made a fortune in endorsements. I don't even know if we had anybody in the decathalon this year. It's a weird world. )
posted by jonmc at 8:52 PM on August 23, 2008


Hey if it could do it for Syed, who according to google images is a balding brit ping pong player, it could work for anyone I guess. I do think his little factoid about the medal-winning men being the hawt stuff, but nobody caring where the women placed, was interesting.
posted by jamesonandwater at 8:56 PM on August 23, 2008


I'm excited the Olympics will be over as well. I've had a raging hard-on for almost two weeks.
posted by ofthestrait at 8:56 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


This sex fest was not limited to Barcelona: the same thing happened in Sydney in 2000, my second Olympics as an athlete

This guy's a table tennis player! I'm sure that women, men, and small animals alike swooned at the sight of his toned forearms.
posted by lukemeister at 8:56 PM on August 23, 2008


Ok, dude plays table tennis. I'm surprised he even gets laid there.

Or well, surprised his chances are better there than say the YMCA camp where he learned to play.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:58 PM on August 23, 2008


The Year of the Sex Olympics (1968): the play depicts a world of the future where a small elite control the media, keeping the lower classes docile by serving them an endless diet of lowest common denominator programming and pornography.

Thank God that didn't happen!
posted by lukemeister at 8:59 PM on August 23, 2008 [7 favorites]


The 26-year-old Russian pole-vaulter - “the chick with the stick” - takes the women's silver medal.

I'm totally ordering that calendar when it comes out!
posted by not_on_display at 9:07 PM on August 23, 2008


The diving competition in recent days reminded me of one of my more dubious athletic exploits. When I was a teen, I wasn't a half bad diver, although not half good either. While on family vacation one summer I was fooling around on the three meter springboard, practicing flips and twists. I got a little carried away on one dive though, trying two and a half somersaults in the tuck position. When the back of my head contacted the water first, I was still fully in that tuck, slamming my face directly into both knees. Carried around two black eyes for a couple weeks after that. No sex for me.
posted by netbros at 9:14 PM on August 23, 2008


I don't even know if we had anybody in the decathalon this year.

Yep. The U.S. did. Bryan Clay. He won the gold medal yesterday!
posted by ericb at 9:21 PM on August 23, 2008


I think it's worth noting that the Times Online has a "Post To Fark" button at the bottom of every story...
posted by Pinback at 9:23 PM on August 23, 2008


Hey nola -- I hate the Olympics almost as much as you do. No offense taken.

That's why I posted this. It's mockery, not hero worship.


The Olympic machine itself should be the subject mockery, or, even better, scrutiny. However, no athlete competing at the Olympics should be mocked, because what they are doing is stupendous and terrific, like any Picasso or Georgia O'Keefe or Albert Einstein. Sure, the striving may seem strange to us left-wing hipsters, but a certain portion of the human race is hardwired to be competitive, and to value winning more than anything else. It's just the way it is, and I will always have respect for Olympic athletes and their accomplishments. But the IOC and Juan Antonio Samaranch and Jacques Rogge are autocratic kleptocrats, and it's too bad that, by association, they tarnish the image of Olympic athletes.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:31 PM on August 23, 2008 [15 favorites]


heh heh.. bangkok post.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 9:31 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think it's worth noting that the Times Online has a "Post To Fark" button at the bottom of every story...

Some days, Fark has a "Post To Metafilter" button at the bottom of every story.
posted by stavrogin at 9:34 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Besides, if you were locked up for two weeks with Alenka Bikar or the Finnish long jump squad, wouldn't it positively carbonate your hormones?
posted by KokuRyu at 9:34 PM on August 23, 2008


I remember reading something about this subject years ago. The weird part is that over the past couple of weeks, whenever i've mentioned to somebody that Olympic village is a huge meat market, the usual response has been mostly skeptical.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:40 PM on August 23, 2008


Yeah, I'm pretty sure we've discussed this on MeFi before. This story comes out around the time of every Olympics.
posted by joedan at 9:44 PM on August 23, 2008


i would contribute to this thread, but i'm too busy watching the Russian rhythmic gymnastics team...
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:46 PM on August 23, 2008


What, no comment yet about how American athletes may have had the most sex, but not the most GOLD MEDAL sex?
posted by longsleeves at 10:03 PM on August 23, 2008


I tried out for the Olympic hookup team back in 1976. I was a couple of inches short. Life goes on.
posted by pjern at 10:22 PM on August 23, 2008


Funny how all these Olympic sex articles came out within days of each other. I suspect the Media Office issued a press release with talking points and all.
posted by grounded at 10:35 PM on August 23, 2008


He goes on about the women's "virility"... and then about how they're gushing estrogen... and then at the end about how this is all fuelled by testosterone. Informative.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:43 PM on August 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hell, Lobster, all those athletes are taking so many performance enhancing drugs (and I don't believe they are really tested carefully -- the Olympics depends on drug-enhanced performances for ratings) that those could all be true statements!
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:09 PM on August 23, 2008


heh.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:46 PM on August 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


Now, I have always felt a bit sorry for the jocks. They're in their own narrow social milieu, and they devote so much time to their obsessive pursuit that they have little time to develop friends and get some experience with the opposite sex. So when they go to their "cons" I expect them to get a little wild. Just keep it out of the hotel jacuzzi so the mundanes don't see, OK?
posted by dhartung at 12:22 AM on August 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


The Olympic machine itself should be the subject mockery, or, even better, scrutiny. However, no athlete competing at the Olympics should be mocked, because what they are doing is stupendous and terrific, like any Picasso or Georgia O'Keefe or Albert Einstein.

Quoted for the motherfucking truth.

Hell, Lobster, all those athletes are taking so many performance enhancing drugs

Cite or STFU, n00b. See above.

i would contribute to this thread, but i'm too busy watching the Russian rhythmic gymnastics team

Men's diving. Why does Matthew Matcham have a boyfriend? goddammit.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:53 AM on August 24, 2008


Why does Matthew Matcham have a boyfriend?

I see he's on your 'A' list... [grin]
posted by pernishus at 2:12 AM on August 24, 2008


I find it befittingly appropriate that India's " most eligible bachelor" has effing returned to the country, and is (was) busy meeting VVIP's and such. Clearly, India needs to do some work on improving all aspects of our Olympic participation, not just tripling our medal tally from 2004.
Sigh. 1.1 billion people getting one-third the Olympic medals Phelps has won. Oooh well, we aren't doing so bad in the Nobel Prizes and Booker's.
posted by the cydonian at 2:17 AM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


The ummm, formatting, ummm... it was Opera's fault! I swear it looked alright in Live Preview. :-|
posted by the cydonian at 2:18 AM on August 24, 2008


Men's diving. Why does Matthew Matcham have a boyfriend? goddammit.

You mean this guy?

His boyfriend wasn't all *that* much to look at. I reckon a bait & switch is easily possible. Here's the deal: I'll send Matthew in your direction if you can divert the Belorussian* rhythmic gymnasts this way.

* yeh, take that, Russians.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:52 AM on August 24, 2008


lukemeister wrote: The Year of the Sex Olympics (1968): the play depicts a world of the future where a small elite control the media, keeping the lower classes docile by serving them an endless diet of lowest common denominator programming and pornography.

Thank God that didn't happen!


That teleplay is just unbelievably prophetic. I would've loved to have sat down with the late, great Nigel Kneale and watched a few episodes of Big Brother. (Afterwards, fuelled by righteous anger, we could've taken a trip to the BBC to punch them in the collective dick for wiping the colour master tapes.)
posted by jack_mo at 4:05 AM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I find it befittingly appropriate that India's " most eligible bachelor" has effing returned to the country, and is (was) busy meeting VVIP's and such.

I think he actually left the next day, he didn't stay in China long at all.

The paper today has a photo of some guy giving him a brand new "luxury Volvo," too. Cause the guy with his own private shooting range needs a free car.
posted by paisley henosis at 4:37 AM on August 24, 2008


Citations, so I don't have to "STFU" just because dnab says so:

Ukrainian Blonska stripped of silver medal in heptathlon

"Ukrainian weightlifter Igor Razoronov has become the sixth athlete to be thrown out of the Beijing Olympics after testing positive for the banned substance nandrolone."

NY Times: As Records Fall, Suspicions of Doping Linger

So are you just naive, or does your lust for all those "great artists" blind you to the obvious?
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:46 AM on August 24, 2008


Cause the guy with his own private shooting range needs a free car.

Private shooting range? I assumed he got all his air-rifle practice from taking potshots at pigeons & pariah dogs from the rooftop of his parental home.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:48 AM on August 24, 2008


Oh, and hey, animal abuse too! They dope the horses for the Olympic equestrian events. Does that not matter either>

And more:

"Another disastrous blot on Ireland's copybook"

And here's a good summary of the reasons not to believe Rogge or the Chinese that they have it all under control, move along, nothing to see here.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:49 AM on August 24, 2008


Withnail:
Listen to this. "Curse of the superman. I took drugs to win medals
said top athlete Geoff Woade."

I:
Where's the coffee?

Withnail [reading from the paper]:
"In a world exclusive interview 33 year old shot putter Geoff Woade
who weight 317 pounds, admitted taking massive doses of anabolic
steroids, drugs banned in sport. It used to get him bad tempered and
act down said his wife. He used to pick on me. But now he's stopped
his much better in our sex life and in our general life."

[I pours water from the kettle into a bowl and goes back into the living
room. Withnail follows him.]

Withnail:
My God, this huge, thatched head with its earlobes and cannonball is
now considered sane. "Geoff Woade is feeling better and is now
prepared to step back into society and start tossing his orb about."
Look at him. Look at Geoff Woade. His head must weight fifty pounds on
its own.

[Withnail stands infront of a mirror and brushes his long, greasy hair with
a comb. I sits on the settee and starts drinking the coffee from the bowl
using a spoon.]

Withnail:
Imagine the size of his balls. Imagine getting into a fight with the
fucker!

I:
Please! I don't feel good.

Withnail:
That's what you'd say but that wouldn't wash with Geoff. No! He'd like
a bit of pleading. Add spice to it. In fact, he'd probably tell you
what he was going to do before he did it. "I'm going to pull you head
off". "Oh no, please, don't pull my head off". "I'm going to pull your
head off because I don't like your head!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:55 AM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


1) You said 'all'. A few--even a few dozen--is not 'all'.
2) MeTa.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:07 AM on August 24, 2008


[Please drop it, pronto.]
posted by cortex at 7:42 AM on August 24, 2008


Nope, not when we could be watching the gymnastics instead.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:23 AM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


[Hi! Please read that previous comment! It was pretty clear!]
posted by cortex at 8:33 AM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Working list of doping-banned athletes Pre-Olympics 2008

Name Gender Country Sport Drug World Record?
Nathan Baggaley M Australia Canoeing Anabolic Steroids Silver Medalist
Lisa Huethaler F Austria Triathlon Bribery
Rebecca Gumoa F Brazil Swimming
Donka Mincheva F Bulgaria Weightlifting
Gergana Kirilova F Bulgaria Weightlifting
Milka Maneva F Bulgaria Weightlifting
Alan Tsagaev M Bulgaria Weightlifting
Demir Demirev M Bulgaria Weightlifting
Georgi Markov M Bulgaria Weightlifting
Ivailo Filev M Bulgaria Weightlifting
Ivan Markov M Bulgaria Weightlifting
Ivan Stoitsov M Bulgaria Weightlifting
Mehmed Fikretov M Bulgaria Weightlifting
Velichko Cholako M Bulgaria Weightlifting
Gao Li F China Diving furosemide
Zhang Jun F China Diving furosemide
Song Hongjuan F China Race Walking EPO
Sun Yingjie F China Track and Field Androsterone
Wang Hongni F China Track and Field OOC failed test Asian Games triathlon gold medallist
Shan Yan F China Weightlifting indapamide- masking agent
Ouyang Kunpeng M China Swimming 3 silver medals in the 2006 Doha Asian Games
Xin Jia M China Track and Field Testosterone
Zhang Qi M China Track and Field Under Investigation National Chinese Record Shot put
Luo Meng M China Wrestling
Yi Changming China Swimming Under Investigation
Milan Andreas M Czech Republic Archery THC
Peter Riis Andersen M Denmark Mountain Biking
Ambesse Tolosa F Ethiopia Marathon Morphine Won 4 marathons lifetime including Paris and Tokyo
Dwain Chambers M GB, UK Track and Field THG, Testosterone, EPO, HGH, Insulin,
Costas Kenteris F Greece Track and Field Missed Test
Katerina Thanou F Greece Track and Field Motorcycle Accident/Missed Test Silver Medalist 100m 2004
Aikaterini Roditi F Greece Weightlifting M3
Anna Athanasiadou F Greece Weightlifting M3
Eleni Kourtelidou F Greece Weightlifting M3
Olibia Toka F Greece Weightlifting M3
Vasiliki Kasapi F Greece Weightlifting
Dimitris Regas M Greece Track and Field Methyltrienolone
Tassos Goussis M Greece Track and Field Methyltrienolone
Atrhouros Akritidis M Greece Weightlifting M3
Dimitros Papageridis M Greece Weightlifting M3
Konstantinos Papadopoulos M Greece Weightlifting M3
Vasilis Konstantinidis M Greece Weightlifting M3
Victor Mitrov M Greece Weightlifting M3
Anita Kumari F India Weightlifting Stanozolol
Kavita Devi F India Weightlifting
Monika Devi F India Weightlifting Anabolic Steroids
Saileja Rujari F India Weightlifting
Satish Rai M India Weightlifting Stanozolol
Max Jaben M Israel Swimming Boldenone
Marta Bastianelli F Italy Cycling
Andrea Baldini F Italy Fencing
Laure La Piana F Italy Swimming
Ivan Basso M Italy Cycling Operation Puerto
Riccardo Ricco M Italy Cycling EPO
Julien Dunkley M Jamaica Track and Field Boldenone
Simon Vroeman M Netherlan Track and Field Dianabol Steeplechase World Record Holder
Mohammad Shah M Pakistan Track and Field Winny
Noshee Parveen M Pakistan Track and Field Nandrolone
Cristina Vasiloiu F Romania Track and Field EPO
Elena Antoci F Romania Track and Field EPO
Liliana Popescu F Romania Track and Field
Valery Borchin F Russia Race Walking EPO
Darya Pishchalnikova F Russia Track and Field Tampered Test
Gulfia Khanafeyeva F Russia Track and Field Tampered Test Former Hammer Throw Record
Olga Yegorova F Russia Track and Field Tampered Test Former 5000m Champ
Svetlana Cherkasova F Russia Track and Field Tampered Test
Tatyana Tomashova F Russia Track and Field Tampered Test Twice 1500m Champ
Yelena Soboleva, F Russia Track and Field Tampered Test Indoor 1500m Champ
Yuliya Fomenko F Russia Track and Field Tampered Test
Vladimir Gusev M Russia Cycling Abnormal Blood
Alexei Voevodi M Russia Race Walking EPO
Vladimir Kanaikin M Russia Race Walking EPO
Mikulas Konopka M Slovenia Track and Field Metadienon and Winstrol 2007 Indoor Europeon Championship Shot Put
Süreyya Ayhan F Turkey Track and Field Missed Test European 1500m Champ
Ismayl Sillakh M Ukraine Boxing Unknown
Jessica Hardy F USA Swimming Clen 50m Breaststroke World Record, former 100m Breaststroke WR
Sadam Ali M USA Boxing Cathine
Justin Gatlin M USA Track and Field Testosterone Former 100m World Record
Paul Doherty M USA Weightlifting Testosterone USA olympian
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:44 AM on August 24, 2008


fcm, your last three links have all been empty.
posted by cortex at 8:49 AM on August 24, 2008


cortex,

Can you investigate Katullus? There's no way he's doing all those great posts without a little help, if you know what I mean.
posted by lukemeister at 8:53 AM on August 24, 2008


Can cortex or any other helpful soul explain to me how the doping comments aren't a massive unsexy derail? C'mon, people, back to the wink-wink-nudge-nudge.
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:08 AM on August 24, 2008


cowbellemoo,

Maybe the performances on the field aren't the only ones being enhanced.
posted by lukemeister at 9:13 AM on August 24, 2008


The topic wandering isn't really a problem on the blue; it happens a lot, and it's pretty much par for the course (and even, in its benign form, a good thing) in conversation here. But if it's going to continue, it needs to be done without any further sniping or interpersonal nastiness. That's basically it.
posted by cortex at 9:16 AM on August 24, 2008


I think nola might like the Olympics better if there were gators in the pool.
Who wouldn't?
posted by scrump at 9:27 AM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I would like to see events combined - for instance, throwing the javelin while doing the 3 1/2 reverse somersault from the 10-meter diving board.
posted by lukemeister at 9:29 AM on August 24, 2008


"I'm going to pull your head off because I don't like your head!"

hee hee hee
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:40 AM on August 24, 2008


Hmm, wonder what's up with those links being empty. Sorry about that, cortex. I'm really trying hard to live up to the challenge to "cite or STFU, n00b." I apologize profusely for not citing properly before.

So here are those links again:

"Olympics rocked by first major doping scandal"
http://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/olympics-2008/news/olympics-rocked-by-first-major-doping-scandal-1456439.html


Working list of athletes banned pre-olympics for doping:
http://grg51.typepad.com/steroid_nation/2008/08/nathan-baggaley.html

Doping athletes still an olympic-sized problem:
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/
20080822/dope_athletes_080822/20080824?s_name=beijing2008


I can keep going. There are roughly 2 million hits for "2008 olympics doping" on Google. But I rest my case.

I also apologize for thinking "STFU n00b" was meant as an insult or an abusive comment.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:44 AM on August 24, 2008


We started out with sex and ended up on drugs. I usually try to work it the other way.
posted by ktoad at 10:07 AM on August 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


And somehow, we skipped rock and roll.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:09 AM on August 24, 2008


Maybe the performances on the field aren't the only ones being enhanced.

:O

cortex: Mmmkay. I guess I was just thrown by the drastic change in tenor and it didn't feel right. Happy sexy fun to OMGDOPING.
posted by cowbellemoo at 10:24 AM on August 24, 2008


Found a pretty cool article on Wired that seems worth posting too:

Cheats of Strength: 10 Next-Gen Olympic Doping Methods

posted by fourcheesemac at 10:24 AM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


We started out with sex and ended up on drugs.
And somehow, we skipped rock and roll.

It's very good indeed.
posted by lukemeister at 10:28 AM on August 24, 2008


I just think it's nice to get corroboration on my long-held belief that these athletes are fucking like bunnies when outside the view of 100+ frames per second cameras.
(what a money shot that'd make, though)

I don't follow Olympics much, and when I see people who follow it (them?) compulsively, I take another step away. They've got their viewers, the record books will be updated accordingly, and yet not one of these fuckers is any better prepared for war (which was the whole point of the games, back in the day).

As for scandals, I think the IOC has more skeletons in their closet than the athletes.

Oh, and thank the gods NYC wasn't chosen for 2012...
posted by Busithoth at 10:32 AM on August 24, 2008


... or Paris.
posted by Zambrano at 10:42 AM on August 24, 2008


I can keep going. There are roughly 2 million hits for "2008 olympics doping" on Google. But I rest my case.

Okay, I take it back. According to fcm, all Olympic athletes use performance-enhancing drugs, so Olympic athletes deserve to be mocked. God, I can't stand "jocks", even though high school was twenty years ago.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:43 AM on August 24, 2008


Weary Beijing volunteers verging on mutiny
posted by homunculus at 10:58 AM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


So uh, math:

10500 athletes
~5000 tests
78 positives

= 0.007% of athletes

= "all those athletes are taking so many performance enhancing drugs"

Uh.. right. Yeah, ok.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:20 AM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


For fuck's sake, cut it out. fourcheesemac, that very much includes you. If you cannot drop the fucking petty rivalry thing, do it elsewhere.
posted by cortex at 12:28 PM on August 24, 2008


Yeah, not every Olympic athlete is drugged up. Many of them are simply genetic mutants, like Michael Phelps.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 1:37 PM on August 24, 2008


Many of them are simply genetic mutants

Many of them? I'd say the vast majority. I take it as a given that to reach the Olympics, you first have to be blessed with the required genetic freakdom for your chosen sport, then devote most of your waking hours to training for a decade or more.

Unfortunately, many can put the training in, but not happen to be almost seven feet tall with arms that reach to the knees, taking the swimmers as an example. In that case, you train for the decade, and if lucky might make a quarter-final in your national qualifying rounds.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:51 PM on August 24, 2008


They're totally genetic freaks. Every single one of them. Unfortunately, most of them will pass on those genes. With all the fucking that goes on at the village, I imagine that they occasionally pas on those genes with each other. Creatures with hands the size of walrus flippers and legs like treetrunks, able to shatter steel with one punch and hit the bullseye from 300 yards by throwing the genetic baseline at it.

And, actually, I'm with fcm on this: the incidence of PED use is orders of magnitude higher than what has been caught. Maybe not 100%, but more than 80%.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:51 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Even better, some of the genetic adaptations useful in sports can greatly enhance the sexual experience with a given athlete.

For example: Fencers. Damn, we have some amazing leg strength. When one of my teammates from college was fencing Sada Jacobson, I was mesmerized by the fact that her leading thigh was bigger around than my head.

Or perhaps we can consider the kayakers. Their lower bodies may be atrophied, but damn, they could make up for it with the ability to keep their partner hovering in the air using only one arm.
posted by nursegracer at 4:15 PM on August 24, 2008


And, actually, I'm with fcm on this: the incidence of PED use is orders of magnitude higher than what has been caught. Maybe not 100%, but more than 80%.

And this is based on.. what, exactly?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:34 PM on August 24, 2008


You're too close to the debate; I'm not going to treat with you on the subject.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 4:38 PM on August 24, 2008


nursegracer: they get a terrible rap from the public, but I bet a synchronised swimmer would be able to exhaust an entire college football team.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:46 PM on August 24, 2008


Hmm, I'd wondered why the (quite young) woman's Saber team that swept gold/silver/bronze in the first day or two was 'sent home to enter college' right after their award presentation and miss the closing ceremony...
posted by sammyo at 5:32 PM on August 24, 2008


Back to the important stuff: I had planned that men's gymnastics and greco-roman wrestling would be the hottest matches, but then I came across water polo, and what's cool is that those guys aren't overly skinny like the swimmers (bulky = better), and they don't seem to shave their chests as often (hairy = hot).

Whether or not these guys are hooking up with each other is less important than my fantasy that they are, and that I have been invited.
posted by troybob at 6:04 PM on August 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


So is this a summer only phenomenon ... how about the winter olympics?
Might make it worth my while to stick around Vancouver a bit longer.
posted by mannequito at 6:09 PM on August 24, 2008


Thank you, ten pounds. *Any* reasonable observer of the history of sports doping and PED usage suspects that the numbers are high -- though even I don't think it's really 80 percent, but somewhere pretty far north of .007 percent is a no brainer.

There are literally hundreds of ways athletes can beat the testing system, including using slightly modified versions of many of the PEDs that simply don't show up on current tests. Many doctors and experts think the testing system is a joke -- on purpose. And unless you believe that super high tech swim suits and sneakers have accelerated human evolution, the sheer number of new "world record" scores and times we see every four years is itself dispositive.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:15 PM on August 24, 2008


The Silvester polls (also here) suggest that as recently as 1984, 68% of athletes were doping. In 2008, with the increased availability of different PEDs (many of which can't be caught in testing), the more rigorous cleaning programs and the frankly laughable testing regime, I can't imagine that the number has dropped. Remember, anabolic steroids were prohibited by the IOC in 1976, but eight years later 68% of athletes were still doping.

Note that the people who are getting caught tend to be from non-first-world nations where doping technology isn't what it is in, say, Canada.

If we learned today that the number was 99%, I wouldn't even bat an eye.

To relate this to the topic, I have to assume that the newer PEDs don't interfere with the ability to get it up.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 6:27 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not really sure how performance enhancing drugs can really help the pure beauty and artistry linked to here. She and her peers are as close to superheroes that our species is going to get. But, sneer in her general direction if you like.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:20 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know, I don't actually think that the use of PEDs (or not) obviates the "pure beauty and artistry" of athletic performance. Well, "pure," maybe. But beauty and artistry are in the eye of the beholder. Drug-enhanced performance can be amazing to watch. Ask anyone who's watched Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens play. If the point is simply to enhance the visual spectacle -- which, I argue, is in fact the case -- the use of PEDs is a brilliant strategy.

The question is not whether the athleticism is amazing or not. It's whether the competition is *fair* or not. And whether it's truthfully represented or not. And whether we're watching the results only of hard work and discipline and sacrifice or the results of chemically enhanced bodies. And most of all, whether or not all the athletes have the same advantages and handicaps. Indeed, if 100 percent of the athletes were doped, it would be fair, at least. But if 80 percent, or 40 percent, or for that matter .007 percent of the athletes are using PEDs, then it's not a fair competition.

For example, it used to be a rule that Olympians had to be nominally "amateur." Somewhere, that went away. And instead of collegiate level basketball, now we get to see pro players in the Olympics. It's unquestionably a more exciting game, faster and more aggressive and athletic than collegiate ball. But is it "pure" or is it "enhanced?" And do all the players and all the teams enjoy the same advantages, or does this privilege the US team, since the US has an established and wealthy professional basketball league that dwarfs any other nation's? And do you really feel better about your country when it wins easily, when it's expected to win and does, when it has huge structural advantages that make it a joke when the USA plays Greece or Latvia?

So this is another reason I don't really get what the argument is here. There is little doubt that some significant number -- more than .007 percent, less than 100 percent -- of Olympians are using illegal PEDs along with every legal advantage they can gain. It doesn't detract from the observation that many of the PED users are actually, clearly, amazing athletes anyway. So what? That doesn't excuse cheating. The sad thing is that "winning" has become more important than "competing." Yet the rhetoric continues to assure us we're watching fair competition in which all nations and all athletes are roughly equal to begin with.

If the IOC would just abandon the rules and let everyone use whatever techniques they wished to improve their performances, we'd be onto something. Indeed, John Tierney argued for just this in a NY Times piece a few weeks back. Since we can't seem to beat back the bioengineering of athletic performance, let's open it all up. (See "Let the Games Be Doped.")

Using pre-taped vocal tracks can make a concert better too. The only question is whether what you're hearing is what you think you're hearing. Sure it sounds "better." Does it matter that the star is not really singing all the lines? Is it OK if everyone knows she's lip synching? Does it matter? These are philosophical, not factual, questions.

Me, I assume when I watch Olympic competition that I am seeing doped athletes. It's the consequence of years of doping scandals, across dozens of sports. Whether or not it's true, it's a pretty widespread perception. But saying so gets one shouted down and told to shut up around here. Because those magnificent athletes couldn't possibly put winning above the pure beauty of sportsmanlike competition on a level playing field. Nor could their coaches, or their governments, or their financial backers, or the TV networks, or the advertisers. Nope. Everyone is as pure as the driven snow, positively and truly Olympian, with an unbroken heritage of global harmony and peaceful competition going back to the ancient Greeks. (OK, actually, the early 20th century, but that's another one of those fictions -- that the Olympics are not part of the global order of power and nationalism and colonialism. Pshaw.)

So the real problem is hypocrisy, as usual. I could care less whether athletes use drugs. I just find it surprising that some people are so invested in the pretense that they don't.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:55 PM on August 24, 2008


(PS -- I am, by the way, a supporter of drug-enhanced sex, between athletes or not. )
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:12 PM on August 24, 2008


And do you really feel better about your country when it wins easily, when it's expected to win and does, when it has huge structural advantages that make it a joke when the USA plays Greece or Latvia?

Hey, the Latvian womens' team gave the USA a good run for their money, only going down 84-74. I'd rephrase the question as "do you really feel better about your country when it wins by only ten points over a country around one hundredth its size?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:10 PM on August 24, 2008


Women's basketball. That's another story.

Indeed, the only real competition seems to be in the marginal sports that don't have big TV audiences. I tuned in twice or three times to the Olympics over the past two weeks, only to hear gung ho American announcers rooting for American athletes in a shamelessly partisan way, and almost always predicting the exact outcomes of the later stages of competition based on established rankings and records. There was almost zero suspense, short of someone actually screwing up a dive or falling off a balance beam. They told you who was going to "win," and were usually right.

No truly fair competition is that predictable.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:22 PM on August 24, 2008


And do you really feel better about your country when it wins easily, when it's expected to win and does, when it has huge structural advantages that make it a joke when the USA plays Greece or Latvia?

The Latvians are a BMX powerhouse. Seriously.
posted by mecran01 at 10:52 PM on August 24, 2008


Actually, I watched the BMX. And after I got over laughing at the idea of it being an Olympic sport, I was might impressed with those Latvian riders. So fair enough.

I was strictly talking men's basketball. No insult to Latvia intended.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:58 PM on August 24, 2008


Well, in the men's basketball, our Baltic neighbours, Lithuania, are quite a powerhouse. There are only around 2 million people living there, too.

But overall, it's surprising that the competition was so close against the Dream Team. The Spaniards were right up with them throughout the gold medal game, and even more surprisingly, Argentina are now ranked #1 in the world, USA second, Spain third & Greece fourth.

(presumably, the top NBA players are worth too much to bother competing for the US regularly...?)

I also found BMX to be a silly sport for the Olympics, but hey, a gold's a gold!
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:06 PM on August 24, 2008


(oh, and no insult taken)
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:06 PM on August 24, 2008


It seems to me that athletes who are worth millions of dollars healthy would not play all out in the Olympics when they had an upcoming professional season. Maybe I'm just wrong about that.

Or maybe US professional basketball players aren't all they're cracked up to be. My point, however, is that we already know which countries and which exact athletes "dominate" in which sports. And there were very few major upsets that I could see in the big sports.

Where's the competition in that?
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:39 PM on August 24, 2008


It seems to me that athletes who are worth millions of dollars healthy would not play all out in the Olympics when they had an upcoming professional season. Maybe I'm just wrong about that.

Fair point. They probably never got out of second gear.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:00 AM on August 25, 2008


The story about athletes and free condoms has been recurring since Barcelona 1992,

I think it's funny that they didn't start handing out the condoms until it was assured there would technically be no East German women in the competition.
posted by any major dude at 8:31 AM on August 25, 2008


There was almost zero suspense, short of someone actually screwing up a dive or falling off a balance beam. They told you who was going to "win," and were usually right.

My impression was that a good bit of that commentary was added after the actual events, for the time-delayed stuff. In men's gymnasty, they made this obvious at many points ("here is where he is going to screw up', etc.)
posted by troybob at 9:52 AM on August 25, 2008


Really? How totally lame.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:46 AM on August 25, 2008


Apologies for continuing the derail, but I recently heard an NPR story about a N. Korean Olympic athlete that was stripped of her medal because she was caught for doping. The sport in question? Air pistol. I started to envision some freakish dude with a beefed-up trigger-finger as wide as a kielbasa, but apparently the "dope" in question was a beta-blocker used to control trembling.

If freakin' air pistol competitors are doping, I don't think it's crazy to assume a goodly percentage of the other, more "sporty" sports are filled with dopers as well.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:20 PM on August 25, 2008


Ah, appears it was a male athlete. Apologies once again.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:22 PM on August 25, 2008


Awesome.

I have no idea why shooting is an Olympic sport; or why they don't let military marksmen walk away with it, which they surely would do if they competed. But yeah, if you need to be drugged to control your ITCHY TRIGGER FINGER you should definitely not be around firearms. Or large crowds. Or other athletes.

It's not a derail, anyway. Topics evolve. This one sure did. See what happens when you tell someone to "shut the fuck up"? You get the opposite effect. People don't like being told to shut up; I know I don't. It has the opposite effect on me, and I certainly have not one ounce of respect for people who use such fascist tactics in a debate.

Now this thread is a comprehensive documentation of the doping scandals in Beijing/08 to date, and those of you who insist that you would be shocked, SHOCKED, to find Olympic athletes, those great paragons of virtue and artistry, using PEDs, made it happen by trying to silence ideas you didn't like hearing.

I'll lay down the marker: by four years from now, we'll have learned that there were just as many doping athletes at Beijing 08 as there were in any of the last several Olympics, if not more. Some major names will become the Marion Joneses of Beijing, including some of the big winners being lauded and lusted over in all the Olympo-syncophantic threads elsewhere on MeFi.

Remember Marion Jones? No doubt if someone had said she was doping during the Sydney games here on MeFi, they would have been told to shut the fuck up for saying so. Now she's going to jail.

Because any honest and rational observer knows that a significant number of athletes must be doping for there to be so many new "world records" set every four years.
I'd put money on it, if anyone is interested and has patience to wait four years. Will it be Phelps? Bolt? Liukin? I don't know. But it will be someone who's got a chestful of gold and a huge endorsement deal out of the whole thing.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:52 AM on August 26, 2008


I have no idea why shooting is an Olympic sport; or why they don't let military marksmen walk away with it, which they surely would do if they competed. But yeah, if you need to be drugged to control your ITCHY TRIGGER FINGER you should definitely not be around firearms. Or large crowds. Or other athletes.

Obviously, you don't know about Walton Eller (Gold Men's Double Trap) and Vincent Hancock (Gold Men's Skeet) - both members of the US Army Marksmanship Unit. Or about Lones W. Wigger, Jr.. Many of the top Olympians in marksmanship are military or ex-military - especially for male shooters.
posted by jaimystery at 8:44 AM on August 26, 2008


Reading the last few posts makes me think how interesting it would be if the Olympics were returned to their original, martial focus. Events centered around skills useful to a modern soldier, and athletes culled from active-duty rosters.

You could even have Elite and Service tiers, so that Special Forces types could competes amongst their own, and grunts amongst their own.

Seems like it would give the winning nations even more Big Swinging Dick status, too.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:52 AM on August 26, 2008


But yeah, if you need to be drugged to control your ITCHY TRIGGER FINGER you should definitely not be around firearms.

And if you need to be drugged to control your INABILITY TO STOP LEAPING IN PLACE CONSTANTLY you should probably avoid pole vaulting competitions.

Shooting involves minute, precise control of a small object to fire an even smaller object through space at a small target. Marksmen using drugs aren't going to be compensating for wild tremors, they're trying to edge down that last little bit of involuntary twitch that distance amplifies to a difference of an inch or three in the far distance.

Larger doping arguments notwithstanding, there might very well be a much higher bang-for-buck incentive, so to speak, for a shooter to medicate than for a runner to do so.
posted by cortex at 9:00 AM on August 26, 2008


Very interesting and informative. Thank you very much.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:31 PM on August 26, 2008


how interesting it would be if the Olympics were returned to their original, martial focus. Events centered around skills useful to a modern soldier

They already have these kinds of competitions, but they involve carrying out campaigns from behind a keyboard & monitor.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:43 PM on August 26, 2008


there might very well be a much higher bang-for-buck incentive, so to speak, for a shooter to medicate than for a runner to do so.

I think it's more the idea that at such an elite level, every last percentage point counts - think of Michael Phelps winning a race by 0.01 of a second.

And different kinds of medication are suited to different sports. There was an Aussie modern pentathlete (?) a few games ago (might've been the Commonwealth Games, I can't remember) who earned the nickname "The Cappuccino Kid" when he was found to have extremely high levels of caffeine in his system after competing in the fencing - for the reaction time, right?

He claimed to have had one too many coffees before the event, when in reality that kind of caffeination could only have been achieved by swallowing a few bottles full of student-style anti-sleep pills.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:49 PM on August 26, 2008


« Older NASCAR as little as they like it, has it's roots ...  |  Forbes Magazine has compiled a... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments