Feb 25, 2010

Is the Internet Ruining the Olympics? [Olympic Mysteries]

Watching the silly drama unfold yesterday about disappointed skier Julia Mancuso's mean Tweets about teammate Lindsey Vonn, I started considering how the internet has played a part in these Hotlympics. And I don't like it!

Obviously Gawker has been giving you the Best Olympics Coverage On the Internet, so the ol' series of tubes has definitely proved good for something these past two weeks. But otherwise? It's mostly doing damage.

Are we surprised that two athletes who have competed with each other since childhood are not always the best of friends? We really shouldn't be. But then Mancuso uses a bad word in a Tweet while discussing yesterday's flagged Giant Slalom run (caused by Vonn crashing) and everyone gets allll posty about how there's Fightz! going on among the ranks of the women skiers. And everyone picks it up, because who doesn't like two pretty girls fighting and splattering sexy mud all over our beautiful, kind global celebration. Frustratingly, the athletes can get all caught up in it too, and the whole gross, dumb thing keeps getting frothier and frothier.

Or attend the tale of poor Scotty Lago, the dudebro snowboarder (is there any other kind?) who became be-scandal'd and was told to go home because of sexxxy photos he took in the Olympic Village. To be fair, it is quite shocking that a 22-year-old kid who just won an Olympic medal in Baggy-Pant Spinning would be gallivanting around Athlete Disneyworld flirting and trying to pull a little tail. And because of The Internet, TMZ can run some candid snaps of such behavior and Vancouver stupid Team USA tells him to go home. Lest we fans start to suspect that the Olympians might be doing bad sex things!

And of course the internet is also giving us those cruel, horrible spoilers. Right on the front pages of the New York Times or, more mind-bogglingly, NBC.com. I am fine with the fact that time is what it is and the work day is too, so I can't really watch everything when it's happening. Say what you will about NBC's Americans First, Questions Never airing practices, but an 8pm block is, I suspect, still the most sensible way for most us to watch the games. Yet the internet doesn't respect our personal wishes and splashes this spoiler shit everywhere they can. "Why are Bode Miller's race results on LARPer.com??," I think desperately to myself when scanning my favorite websites. It's just a shame.

Obviously the internet has done some good things for us during these Olympics (two thumbs), but for the most part I think we'd all be better off without all the peripheral noise it creates. That said, if the web can dig up anything about, oh say, just off the top of my head, some sort of Joubert/Weir hate-sex scandal or something, I think some of us could take an academic interest in that.

As always, pics via Getty

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