New Malaise Sweeping the Nation…Olympic Hangover!

by Debra Chappell

View from the back patio: (at mountain cabin for post Olympic recovery):

 

Mood Reading: ZZZZ’s (making up for sleep deprivation suffered during The Games coverage)

I think I may have finally just emerged from the fog and general malaise the London Olympics left in its wake. It’s been a week since the end of the XXX Olympiad and I am only now getting back to some semblance of my “normal” (relative term) routine.

I must admit… after 17 days of seven-to-midnight sleep deprivation, exhilarating competition, emotionally poignant personal triumphs, some devastating disappointments and a closing ceremony with all the pomp, pageantry and lump-in-the-throat international imagery London could produce, I awoke Monday morning feeling a bit like the ugly bridesmaid the morning after the big wedding who indulged in one too many tequila shots, danced on the table with weird uncle Hal – and now faces the inevitable let down that comes once the long-planned, highly anticipated, extravagant celebration is over. And returning this week to the regularly programmed Cable News networks and the caterwauling we now call a Presidential campaign didn’t help!

But alas, things do have a way of settling back into routine. The normal daily distractions and more lascivious internet diversions which had lost some of their appeal when compared with the thrill of victory and agony of defeat, seemed to be back in full seductive force by mid-week. The whole nation was soon captivated by a young celebrity of limited talent cutting her hair off and by Wednesday it seemed that the entire magic and altruistic spirit of the Olympic Games had been reduced to one big fat financial opportunity as the national conversation turned to the commercial worth of variously colored medals and the marketing appeal of the athletes who’d earned them.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of the games, was transfixed for the duration, and think all the athletes who dedicate themselves to their events should receive their just rewards. And London, I think, put on a jolly good show – there were picturesque venues, enthusiastic home crowds, royalty in attendance, plenty of hot tea and fairly decent weather (by English standards anyway.) Patriotic hearts swelled, tears dropped, life-long friends were made and some hopes were dashed, but that is the power of the unique Olympic experience.

It is everything in the stateside aftermath that for me, strips a little of the shiny luster from what should be an experience that is rich enough on its own merit. The stadium floor hadn’t yet even been cleared of the debris and little British flags when I heard one commentator opine that Gabby Douglas, who had 20 some odd thousand twitter followers before her Gold and several million after it, is a more valuable commodity now, worth in the neighborhood of $6 million because she has a pleasant personality, Ultra-Brite smile, and newly expanded “social media platform” on which to capitalize. And let’s not get started on Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, the two formidable (and well built) swimmers in the pool… and commercial cash cows outside of it. Their 401K’s were already brimming by the time the Olympic flame was extinguished Sunday night, and they may well be remembered in years to come as much for their dandruff shampoo and shaving cream as their superior athletic ability.

And now comes the weekly parade of late night talk show appearances, Good Morning America interviews, and “boy/girl-next-door” bio’s featured in People magazine for the next several weeks, with network talk of a Lochte — LoLo Jones rendition on the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise. Aye-yigh yigh!

Give me that unassuming, skinny little 10,000 meter runner anyday – you know, the one with the wide grin, humble demeanor, I think his name is Mo somebody…wait…what’s that you say?  He’s worth HOW MUCH????

Somebody pass the ibuprofen!