Employee 1.1 originally had the following quote up as QOD. I loved the quote but wanted to get talk of Bekele up there so I removed it,, but wanted to make sure people saw it.
"Televised Olympic coverage tends to gloss over the inherent masochism of elite athletes, infusing talk of self-sacrifice with nostalgic, frothy prose that hints at a borderline sexual fixation on youth, strength and beauty. While Olympic commentators might inquire about the details of Usain Bolt's diet or Michael Phelps's workout regimen, they do so with a casual levity that attempts to lighten up the somewhat depressing realities of Olympic training, as if eating hundreds of grams of protein and then swimming for five hours a day is just the sort of wacky shenanigans that whippersnappers get up to these days in pursuit of gold."
"... Even as we lean into the brutality of the Olympic spectacle as a means of heightening the stakes and building suspense, we ultimately recognize these athletes as almost a different life-form. While elite athletes once may have represented some ideal embodiment of dedication and tenacity, after decades of higher and higher standards, they now seem more like creatures from a distant galaxy. Of course we can't relate to human beings who have essentially dropped out of life to train around the clock since they were little kids, or to run hundreds of miles straight through the night while eating entire cheesecakes. But that still sounds better than sitting right here, growing steadily older and playing Words With Friends until the 2016 Olympics."
- New York Times writer Heather Havrilesky in an article titled, "The Loneliness of the Person Watching the Long-Distance Runner" about how the general public looks at elite endurance athletes.
"or to run hundreds of miles straight through the night while eating entire cheesecakes"
Did they really just compare Dean Karnazes to Olympic athletes?
It was an interesting read but the couch potato who wrote it compared Dean K and the Born to Run guys to Michael Phelps, Lance Armstrong, and Michael Jordan. There is no mention of any other Olympian.
I guess that's all you need to know about what the general public thinks about Olympic sports.
Yes, the author confused two different phenomena:
The Dominate Athlete - people like winners.
The Masochistic Adventurer - the attractive antidote for parochial hedonists (couch potatoes).
The Dominate Athlete: Yes, MJ worked hard, but that isn't why he was popular. It was because he was the best. When the Bulls started winning championships and when he led the dream team that's when we he really took off.
Lance's tours and Phelps's wins are the same. You can put Tiger and Dale Earnhardt Sr in that category although their athlete-ness could be questioned.
Masochistic Adventurer: ultra runners and the like. They are adventurers pushing boundaries. There goal is to do it. Athletes compete in stylized games with well established boundaries - there goal is to win / do it better then everyone else.
Nevertheless - Phelps's quote was funny - you can't spell couch potato without pot.
The article was good until the mention of Karnazes and the barefoot dude. That totally lost me.