Watching the games? Hold on to your butts.

Olympics for a non-sports fan? Butts. Great butts everywhere.

Taking advantage of my second screen at work (because I’m “that guy”), I decided to check out the women’s rugby sevens. As someone with no patience when it comes to sport, I tend to gravitate towards the music video versions. Cricket? Who has days to waste? Give me a Twenty20 match every time. Baseball can fuck right off. Rugby? I don’t even know if I can handle league, but sevens? Seven people a side, seven minutes per half. I can spare under 20 minutes to watch a sports thing while I’m sitting at my desk. So I did. By the time I tuned it, it was semifinal time already. Australia vs Canada. Also butts. I finally get why gals back home always mentioned their love of rugby short shorts. Butts indeed. Butts aside, the game was quick and vicious. Australia streaked ahead from the start and dominated. I think Canada scored once in the second half, but just the once. Aussie was too fast. There were some short, sharp tackles, but it was obvious who held possession for most of the game. Almost effortlessly, Australia ended up with a 17-5 victory.

I noticed that the New Zealand vs Great Britain game was straight afterwards, so I stuck around. More butts, utter domination. There were a few dodgy tackles (including a brutal mid air tackle that more closely resembled a suplex) from Britain that left them two players down. New Zealand took the lead and ran with it, ending the game 27-7. The skill disparity was pretty apparent. The kiwi team was too fluid and rabid to regain possession. Most fumbles ended up turning over the ball to NZ, allowing for a ton of breakaway tries.

I checked out what else was going on. I’ve found recently, since trying my hand at both sports, gymnastics and weightlifting hold a certain appeal. Having learned a bit about the mechanics and technical skills of each sport has increased my interest in watching pros show how it should be done. Also, butts as always. After a quick look into beach volleyball and volleyball (they’re different events, apparently. Different butts too), to see how technically accurate Air Bud Spikes Back was (spoiler: about as accurate as Seventh Inning Fetch), I checked out the women’s and men’s artistic gymnastic qualifiers.

Gymnastics is a sport that breaks my brain. There’s some kind of Schrodinger scenario going on where technically I understand how they’re doing what they’re doing, but simultaneously I can’t conceive of the level of fitness/strength it’d take to perform such maneuvers. Uneven bars and rings in particular are incredible. Watching the dudes in iron cross, maltese, front and back levers is astounding. Muscles bunching up atop other muscles. Having tried progressions towards iron cross myself (and just scratching the surface), seeing how easily they manage to hold themselves prone is unbelievable. The alacrity with which women on uneven bars move, let alone hold handstand press and twirl into complex movements is almost beyond comprehension. Balance beam, for the potential of smacking one’s head or pubic region, also freaks me the fuck out.

Lastly in my Olympic streaming excursion was weightlifting. Weightlifting in particular is fascinating. I see these tiny compact women composed entirely of muscle lifting doubleplus their bodyweight. I’m no stranger to picking up bars, but I think my personal best on a clean/jerk was around 70kg. These 58kg women are getting between 120kg-140kg above their head. Not only that, but they have to play mind games at the same time. They’re so in tune with their body’s capabilities that they know what they can lift. The sport involves not only the physical need to hurl these heavy bars upwards, but to understand what your opponents are capable of and use that against them. Then if that’s above their limit, sometimes they need to go for it anyway, breaking records. Ay ay ay, it’s a hell of a nerve wracking thing to see play out. I’m not much of a call and response watcher, but even I find myself yelling at the screen, cheering these women on.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, butts. Definitely butts. That’s where the lifting comes from.


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