Friday, October 05, 2007

Disappointment 101

I've always been a sports fan, usually professional sports, but the Olympics have held a magical hold on me since I was a kid. I watched the Winter and the Summer Games with my mom and sisters through Soviet pairs figure-skating domination, USA hockey finally beating the Russians, Dorothy Hamill, Katerina Witt, Nancy Kerrigan (snicker), and Michelle Kwan; through Olga Korbut, Nadia Comenici, Mark Spitz, Dwight Stones, Bruce Jenner, Carl Owens, Michael Johnson, and Marion Jones. We all joined in on the "Wow, those East German women look like guys with all those steroids they take!" jokes, all the "That Ben Jonson's a cheater!" stuff, and everything. I always held American athletes to a higher standard on the banned-substance scale. "We might not win every medal, but we earned the ones we did win fair and square, no steroids!" I'd tell myself.

It seems like you hear tales of steroid usage more and more often these days, but I've always been able to ignore it when it comes to my favorite Olympic athletes. I would just say, "prove it!" FloJo? No way. Not her. She was just that good. She's never tested positive. Marion Jones? Hell of an athlete, and pure talent and muscle. Never tested positive.

FloJo passed away before they could pin anything on her. Marion Jones, however, just had the tail pinned on her ass: steroids. From 1999, through that amazing five-medal performance ("The Drive for Five") in the 2000 Games. Through several comeback attempts and injuries and walk-offs and failures. How did such an amazing athlete fall so fast? I remember watching her drive for five, wanting her to win because she was so cute and so strong. And she seemed so pure, dedicated to her sport and doing it the right way. When the rumors started to swirl, I thought, "No way. Not her."

When I heard the story on NPR, in which she admits now that she was taking steroids--though OF COURSE she thought it was flaxseed oil!--I yelled "NOOOOOO!!!!" in the car (which scared the hell out of Kat, let me tell you). No way! Not her! What next? Lance Armstrong was doing chemo and 'roids at the same time, polishing it all off with a hot-lovin' session with Sheryl Crow and another Tour de France win? Muhammed Ali floatin' like a butterfly and doing "the clear"? Mary Lou Retton on HGH? Kristi Yamaguchi on--what--testosterone, for pete's sake?!

I have NEVER been one to idolize sports figures, pro or amateur, as "heroes." But I have watched them compete, grown to like some of them for their smiles, or their fire, or their amazing talent. And this is hitting me hard, man. Maybe it's just the fact that she's a woman, not some Russian weight-lifter or Barry Asshole Bonds. I don't know. But I still remember watching her win those medals and being proud of her achievement, dazzled by her smile and her speed. "The fastest woman in the world!" It makes me sad to learn that it was all fake, no better than McGwire on Andro, or Bonds on god-knows-what.


Distributorcap said...

i have such mixed feelings on this.....

first -- let's have an olympics where everyone can take steroids and cheat -- and one where everyone is clean. level playing fields

off the ridiculousness

i give Marion Jones some credit ---- it was not easy to admit being a cheat and fraud and it did take courage to own up and hopefully move on. but owning up doesnt take away her lying and dishonesty. maybe she will be a better person in the end, maybe not..... but some points go to admitting you are a cheat --- put many points taken away for feeling you have to do the clear to be something. well maybe that is society's fault

what do i know?

back to this --- what galls me is that baseball -- that american of american sports, where george bush can buy a team and run it into the ground and trade sammy sosa -- for so long buried its steroid problem and still to this day really is in denial about it.

mom apple pie and drug enhanced baseball -- barry bonds the cheat. and we still FUCKING cheer these guys (well i dont) as if they are something special.

marion jones started her road to some semblance of redemption, barry bonds continues to be the smug arrogant asshole (like the prez) who thinks he is better and above it all.

and we wonder why this country is heading downhill?

nuff ranting

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Holy crap I just found you here. What a great post, a great blog, a great adopted actor. I love love love Rachel. I get lost in her eye brows.....

dguzman said...

D-cap, I agree--it took a hell of a lot of guts to get up there and admit her years of lies.

I miss watching baseball, but I'm glad I started boycotting it years ago (after the 94 strike I swore I'd never go back to the game if they ever even came close to striking again--and of course they did), so I can safely say I'm not cheering those a-holes. What killed me was Raffy Palmeiro's years of denials, even in front of Congress, and then he tests positive as well. I had thought he was better than that, but obviously NONE of them are "better than that."

Dr. Monkey--so glad you found me! I love her too!