1) What if every sport were photographed like beach volleyball? I've really been enjoying the beach volleyball tournament, and I can't deny that the bikinis have something to do with that. Still, it's disappointing that the sport and the athletes are reduced to butts, regardless of how tight said butts are. On a related note, Andrew Sullivan talks about sex appeal at the Olympics. This is one of the hard parts of being progressive; sex is pretty cool, everyone ought to have the right to look and feel sexy. But where does that end and treating someone as a sex object begin? I don't have a good answer here.
2) Poynter has an interesting round-up of the coverage of the Olympics, including some more on NBC's broadcasting shenanigans.
3) Will Leitch points out that NBC's Olympic coverage seems so bad to us die-hard sports fans because it's not for us- it's for the casual fans. I think that's okay; I'd prefer something more for us, but, clearly, we die-hards can figure out other ways to enjoy the games.
4) Science's continued impact on sports continues to blow my mind. Empirical data FTW.
5) Nancy Hogshead-Makar- who has retweeted a previous LFL post for the masses- talks about the end of her Olympic career. I'm constantly astounded at the idea of top tier athletes having to hang it up and rejoin the rest of us.
6) This is stupid, but within our wheelhouse. Listen, there's nothing wrong with loving your country- and frankly, love for your country isn't any dumber than any other reason to root for one sports team over another. This is why they hate us, so I'm calling it out. Here's a couple more- and better- pieces on Olympics and Nationalism.
7) It's easy to forget this because we spend so much time following true celebrities like Michael Phelps, or teenagers like Missy Franklin, but a lot of Olympians, when the Games end, have to work for a living. And our country's abysmal health care system doesn't make that any easier. 2014 can't get here fast enough.
8) On that note, the hit pieces on Lolo Jones are getting pretty obnoxious. Listen, the sport requires hustling to get financial support to pursue the Gold. Jones, being pretty and funny, is good at hustling. I get that it's annoying that she's better at that than she is at hurdling (though with a near miss in Beijing and a fourth-place finish this year, she's clearly not THAT much better), but for the media to now turn around and flame Jones for playing its game (complete with "Lolo Jones? You're talking about Lolo Jones, right? Say more mean things about Lolo Jones!" toadying from Michelle Beadle) is just gross.
9) Given that Pistorius didn't even make the finals, I really find it hard to believe that he's got such a tremendous advantage.
10) I defy anyone to watch the U.S.-Canada women's soccer game from the other day without being riveted. It's a shame that these athletes don't have a home league to return to. I've been fed a line of bullshit about how the free market "proves" that we shouldn't have women's sports, but frankly, if the free market can't sell Hope Solo and Alex Morgan (yes, I picked the conventionally attractive ones on purpose), that's textbook market failure.
11) Athlete defection has consistently been an undercurrent in the Olympics. Looks like this year is no different.
12) Gabby Douglas is already going down as one of the most memorable Olympians in recent history. Dave Zirin talks about her socio-political impact. For my part, I'm astounded by how self-possessed she is. She's completely aware that she's a black woman, and that that means something, but carries it pretty effortlessly.
13) I think I'll talk about this more later, but these Olympics really have been a triumph of Title IX and the Women in Sports movement.
14) Relive some classic London Olympics at Talking Points Memo.
15) Quite a bit has been made about the fact that Jessica Ennis, the undisputed star of Team GB, is multiracial. As with a lot of things, Billy Bragg put it best:
"Tonight, our society was wonderfully represented by a ginger bloke, an immigrant named Mohammed and a mixed race woman.
I'm gonna be sad when the Olympics end. But hey, only four years until Rio!