Feb 23, 2010

Are Olympic Families the Weirdest Families Ever? [Olympic Mysteries]

Last night we saw at least two sets of sibling Olympians, leading us to wonder (as we've been wondering things all Olympics long): Musn't families of multiple Olympic competitors be, like, really really intense?

OK, well in the case of bronze medalist in moguls Shannon Bahrke and her aerialist brother Scotty (why so many dudes named Scotty in these games?), they're just ski bums from Tahoe, which isn't uncommon in families from that neck of the woods. But while the parents Bahrke watched most of their friends' kids put down the poles and move on to other things, lil' Shannon and Scotty just kept bounding up those slopes, over and over and over again. Years of competition and then the crazy-pot pressure of the Olympics. You're spending a lot of time standing wearing a jester hat and ringing a cowbell while one of your kids, who can remember which one at this point, comes plummeting and flipping down a mountain. The whole family talks, eats, and poops snow. All snow, all day long. (And coffee.)

And what about these much ewwwwed-at brother/sister ice dancing pairs? How about being their parents? "Oy, where are Sinead and John?" (above) "Oh, you know, off doing their ice twirling." Over and over and over again they are out there doing their strange simulated ice-sex. I'd imagine with one Olympian in the family, the other, non-athlete kids would be a somewhat refreshing break. "And how's being a normal person treating you, Andy?," etc. But when multiple offspring are pursuing an Olympics-focused sport, especially one as inscrutable as ice dancing, your family must get pretty weird, pretty fast, peaking in weirdness every four years. All that talk of wild costumery and groping mingling with familial and, sure, national reputations to uphold.

OK, maybe this post is just an excuse to put up that creepy groping picture, but whatever. For some reason non-Olympic athlete families, the Mannings of American futbol let's say, seem like they had an intense upbringing, sure, but they've also now got the comfort of millions upon millions of dollars to help deem it all worth it. The great gliding Kerrs who moved across an ocean to train together? They've got 8th place and a wealth of really peculiar moments on a skating rink.

"You and Uncle John used to do what?"

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