Jilly: Hooked by the Olympics

Hooked by the OlympicsWhat have you been up to this week?

I got back from Scotland on Tuesday evening to a mountain of laundry and a couple of real life annoyances. Dealing with those took me until Thursday morning, and then the decks were clear for me to get back to my romantic fantasy WIP.

At least, that was the idea.

Elizabeth reported earlier this week that her Girls in the Basement had absconded and were presumed drinking Margaritas on a beach somewhere, leaving her to stare at a blank page. My Girls are here, but I can’t seem to get them under control. They spent ten days in Scotland spinning off idea after idea for my contemporary Gilded Lily series, which is exciting but doesn’t help with my long list of current story questions. Now they’re busy sparking off the Olympics, which is even less productive. Still, it’s a fascinating, once-every-four-years spectacle, so I’ve decided to go with the flow for one more day, until the end of the weekend.

The great thing about the Olympics is that it’s more than a showcase of world-class sports from the familiar to the mind-bogglingly esoteric. The event is built on human endeavor, triumph and disaster, which makes it a story masterclass. I’ve been thinking a lot about that.

For me, the exciting sports are those that put individuals directly in opposition. Head-to-head battles are best, and even better if the sport gives the contestants the opportunity to raise their game in adversity. I like one-on-one challenges, but I also love to watch great teamwork. So tennis, badminton, track cycling, fencing, judo… all good 🙂 .

I’m not interested in races unless they’re long enough to become tactical battles – so sailing, yes; sprinting, no (I know I’m in a minority, but I don’t understand the fascination).

I don’t engage with one-at-a-time sports – so no diving or gymnastics or equestrianism for me.

I think that means I get a kick out of the same key elements I find in a good book – it’s all about conflict, character, and community. I’m not wowed by human achievement in the abstract, and I don’t delight in the physical beauty of the more esoteric disciplines.

How about you?

Have you been hooked by the Olympics? What captures your imagination, and why?

5 thoughts on “Jilly: Hooked by the Olympics

  1. There have been years when I’ve been entranced by the Olympics, unable to tear my eyes away from any of the events. The precision, the grace, the training, the effort—all mesmerizing, in all the sports. This year, though, not so much. I still respect and am astonished by how hard the athletes work to prepare for it, so I don’t know what’s different this year for me. The expense for a 10-day event? The American TV coverage? I can’t figure it out. I’ve watched some, but I’m not caught up in it. (But Braindead? I LOVE Braindead. Why isn’t there more of THAT??)

    • As they say in all the best cops n robbers movies, you got me bang to rights 😉

      It’s past my bedtime, but I decided the weekend doesn’t end until the umpire announces “Game, set and match.”

  2. I used to adore watching the Olympics, but that ship sailed a while ago. I have watched a little bit these last week or so, mostly swimming events, as there were a number of swimmers from my college and I was also interested to see just how many medals Michael Phelps would wind up with. I’m not a big fan of most of the summer sports events, but if there is an athlete with an engaging story, I’m there.

  3. I really like watching bodies in motion, so things like swimming are pretty good, and I adore men’s and women’s gymnastics. But it seems that since my childhood, all of these “amateur” sports have gone to an extreme, and I am likely to see an accident, which I don’t like at all. I caught two accidents out of the corner of my eye (doing something else while the Olympics were providing the background music to my life), and I was very unhappy about it. In some ways, it would have been better if I’d seen it, because then I wouldn’t imagine it.

    One thing, though. My family (who was gathered for my grandmother’s Celebration of Life) seems to adore the Olympics. It was just fascinating to watch them watching the Olympics! We must have had 30 people in our living room, and at least half of them gathered around the TV. One said, “We’re watching history being made here,” which probably was true. Many of them had swum as kids, so they had informed opinions about the atheletes’ performances. Just really interesting!

    It was a lot more fun than watching the Olympics by myself, or even just in my little family circle. I think the Olympics really shine as a community event.

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