I haven't said much about the Olympics, but this week's New Yorker had a great article by Anthony Lane from Beijing. It may be the funniest thing I've read all year. Here's a link.
A few favorites...
Incredible description of the Opening Ceremonies...
The apotheosis of this effort was the opening ceremony at the National Stadium, on the evening of August 8th. I arrived well in time for the crash course in audience participation. "The world has given its love and trust to China, and today China will give the world a big warm hug," one of the masters of ceremonies said. While admiring their faultless English, you had to wonder why they had chosen to learn it by watching "Barney's Great Adventure."
On how London is planning to match Beijing's pageantry when it plays host in 2012.
Formerly Sebastian Coe, part of the shining generation of British middle-distance runners in the nineteen-eighties, he now heads the team that will bring the Olympics to London in 2012. I tried to pick him out among the V.I.P.s on that first Friday, but without success. He may have been hiding in the men's room, calling home to order more light bulbs. You can imagine the rising panic in his voice: "They had two thousand and eight drummers, all lit up. Yes, two thousand and eight. And what have we got so far? Elton John on a trampoline."
On water polo:
The rules and infringements of this ancient sport are of a solemn complexity, but all are founded on the fundamental desire of one person to treat another as a tea bag. You find your opposite number, grab him (or her), and dunk, regardless of whether the ball is anywhere in the vicinity; neck-holding is especially popular, involving, as it does, much frantic splashing on the part of the drowner, and the whole exercise looks weirdly like a lifesaving class, except that the motive is reversed.
Go read it.
-- Ben (firstname.lastname@example.org)