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Awful Advice: Explaining The Summer Olympic Games, Part 2

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You didn't live in Atlanta during the 1996 Games, but Jon did, so he knows a lot more about the Olympics than you do. Here's Part 2 of his unassailably accurate introduction to the London Olympics.

June 29, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Alicia Sacramone warms up on the balance beam during the 2012 USA Gymnastics Olympic Team Trials at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
June 29, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Alicia Sacramone warms up on the balance beam during the 2012 USA Gymnastics Olympic Team Trials at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Hello again, everybody. It's me, Jon, the person who lived in Atlanta during the 1996 and thereby knows a lot more about the Olympics than you do. Perhaps you're unfamiliar with all these crazy Summer Olympic events. Well, I'm here to help. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here. Part 3 will come Thursday.

So! Let's continue to work our way down the 29-sport list of Olympic events:

Field hockey

Field hockey was invented by all of us, collectively, at some point in the 1980s or '90s. We were in the car with our mom, who said she had to stop by our friend's house to talk to her mom for a minute. "A minute" might mean a minute, or it might mean an hour. For this indeterminate amount of time, you and your friend had to figure out something to do.

So we grabbed a couple umbrellas, ripped off the ribs and stretchers, and played hockey with the crook handles. This has been a runaway hit in the Summer Olympics, so the IOC is considering adding the following events in the 2016 Games:

  • Trying to ride a bicycle with the wheels sitting on skateboards
  • Street luging, via skateboard
  • Wearing upside-down sleeping bags and seeing how far you can run without running into something/each other
  • Trying to convince your friend's little brother that all the babies from Baby Geniuses are dead
  • Half-watching Camp Nowhere


Football at the 2012 Summer Olympics

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Football at the 2012 Summer Olympics is scheduled to be held in London and several other cities in the United Kingdom, from 25 July to 11 August.


The finals will be played at Wembley Stadium.


Associations affiliated with FIFA are invited to

ah dammit


Gymnastics is Latin for "a whole bunch of screwin' around." It is made up of many individual competitions, some of which we'll delve into here:

Double-handled lunchbox


Opening a lunchbox is not hard. This is the most frustrating part of every Summer Olympics for me. I know the two handles are probably throwing you off, but still! You don't push it or twist it or anything! You pull it!

Gymnasts rarely figure out how to open the lunchbox, which is just as well, as it contains a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, string cheese, two Hydrox cookies, and a tenderly-composed note from Mom written on the napkin. It's got a smiley face, and a heart, and this note about how she's so proud of you and that she packed an extra Hydrox cookie "just for my lil' monster!" In 1996, Dominique Dawes opened the lunchbox and just burst into tears in front of everyone.

Floor competition

"OK, folks, this here thing is called a floor, often colloquially referred to as "failed wall" and "ceiling, Jr." It's useful for many things, such as keeping you from falling into the basement and lending true purpose to your vacuuming. But today, we're gonna execute the greatest use of floors -- walking around on them.

"For this event, though, you're simply going to walk around on this floor. Seriously. One foot in front of the other. I've got like a dozen gold medals saved up from all the previous floor competitions that nobody won. All of you could win one. Just, for the love of God, walk across it without doing any weird shit.



Balance beam

The balance beam competition is, no doubt, one of the most insane and impressive sights of the Summer Olympics. I mean, look at this.

That was Shawn Johnson winning the gold. This was what the judges' scorecards looked like (harsh profanities censored):



As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, sports in which the ball is thrown are explicitly forbidden in England and England, Jr. (Those of you who would dispute this by pointing out the popularity of cricket, please note that the balls are not thrown, but rather gripped by the inside of the knee and propelled forward, or "porridged.")

As such, the handball event posed significant logistical challenges. Eventually, the decision was made to play in the Principality of Sealand -- which, conveniently enough, features a helipad that could easily double as a handball court.


If you aren't familiar: Sealand, population 28, was originally an offshore base constructed by the British military during World War II. Since its abandonment in the 1960s, it's been claimed by various groups of eccentrics as a sovereign nation, complete with its own currency, flag and system of government.

This still has the British populace in a panic. "What if they throw the ball at us?" they say. Sealand is 13 kilometers off the coast. "But it's only going to pick up speed over the course of 13 kilometers! It's going to take the form of a fiery phoenix and kill us all!" At some point, someone needs to sit these people down and explain to them how throwing things actually works.


Judo is a highly sophisticated discipline. Like most other martial arts and combat sports, it's a sport of subtleties. At any given time, one competitor may well have a positional advantage that's a) enormous, and b) completely un-noticed by the untrained observer.

Unlike similar sports, competitive judo does not involve striking. Couple this with the patience required to appreciate the sport and the absence of a ball, and we have the recipe for "sport Americans will hate."

EA Sports learned this the hard way when they produced Olympic Judo Championship 2012 for American video gaming audiences. This was the explanation of the game's controls from the instruction manual:


Consumer feedback in the States was overwhelmingly negative:

They're is a glitch in the game. There are no sowrds. Get a sword and now were cookING WITH GREASE

Why can't youre do a Judo Chorp. The best move in Judo is Judochorp. I took out the disc and got a knive and try'd to change the code in the game by writing "JUDO CHORP" in tiny letter's on the bottom of the disc and now it will not work. Please open source you're game's in the future.

horribel gmae. However,

The game was never released.

Modern pentathlon

In the ancient Olympics, the modern pentathlon consisted of a bunch of ancient-people shit, such as throwing rocks off mountains and throwing rocks at each other. In 1912, the pentathlon was updated with new events meant to reflect a soldier's skill set:

  • Pistol shooting
  • Fencing
  • Freestyle swimming
  • Show jumping (AKA horsey shit)
  • Cross-country running

Thankfully, a "modern for real this time" pentathlon has been instituted for the London Games to more accurately reflect challenges of the contemporary lifestyle:

  • Getting the video thing to play
  • Finding a signal so it'll download the app that plays horn noises when you push a button
  • Finding the podcast where Adam Carolla talks about the unhelpful guy at the hardware store
  • Figuring out what day it is
  • Waiting until your friend is online so you can tell him about how you've been eating quinoa, then realizing you aren't as jazzed up about quinoa as you were two hours ago and deciding not to bring it up after all
  • Looking up how many "penta" means


Canoeing for grownups.


"Sailing" is actually a bit of a misnomer, as sailing is only one component of this event. Competitors are to:

  1. steal a national heirloom, heralded piece of artwork, or other nationally-renowned property
  2. travel across the world to evade capture, often via sailboat
  3. manage to stay on the run for an entire week

It's a thrilling event, but unfortunately, it doesn't tend to attract our best and brightest. Staggeringly ill-advised mistakes are often made.


I swear to God, this happens at least once every four years. Yes, dipshit, go out of your way to mount a flag of your destination country to your boat. Even more surprisingly, the detectives sometimes miss out on this because they inexplicably and randomly elect to sleep in until 11:00.

Seriously, what the Hell? Are the Games fixed for comedic purposes? Why are all these Olympians so horrible at being Olympians?


You said it, pal.