Deep End | Rings True: Olympic Spirit plays the misfit again at Beijing Games | Deep End | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Deep End | Rings True: Olympic Spirit plays the misfit again at Beijing Games


Now that the Olympics are upon us, I thought it would be instructive and edifying to talk to someone who has been around the games pretty much from the beginning. Accordingly, I Googled “the Olympic Spirit,” and got the e-mail address and cell phone number of the being who goes by that name. The Olympic Spirit, (who also answers to “the Spirit of the Olympics”) did not return my e-mails or cell phone messages, but I was able finally to track down the elusive spirit to a squalid shack on the outskirts of Beijing.

Deep End: I don’t want to insult you, but you’re not quite what I expected.

Olympic Spirit: A little worse for the wear, am I? Not the strapping naked wrestler you see on posters, eh? Well, what you see is what you get, and even in the old days I was not a great physical specimen.

DE: Weren’t you ever an athlete? Maybe a discus thrower or pole-vaulter or marathoner?

OS: Are you kidding me? The Olympics have never been about athletics, even in the old days. It’s all spectacle, politics, greed and corruption. I’ll tell you something, though. I really like the synchronized swimmers. Them I like to watch. I volunteered once to help them with their routines, but they ran screaming from the room.

DE: So you won’t be heading into town to the Bird’s Nest, or any of the other venues, to watch the various competitions?

OS: Hey! Look at me! Do you really think they’re going to let me in? NBC called me a few weeks ago and said they wanted a prime time interview with me. I put on my best clothes, but when they got a look at me, they still ran screaming from the room.

DE: What do you think it is, exactly? The festering sores? The greedy way you smack your lips? The odor of corruption?

OS: For some reason, these things flare up every couple of years. You should have seen me back in 2002 when the Olympics were in Salt Lake City. Good thing you had that good-looking Mitt Romney fella to put a phony face on things. By the way, the International Olympic Committee is putting pressure on the North Koreans to make a lot of clones of Mitt for future Olympics.

DE: I want you to know that Mitt is a personal friend of mine, and everyone in the world thought the Utah Olympics were the very best in history. The Olympics in Utah were not just inspiring, but they lit the fires within the bosom of every last child, woman and man.

OS: Yeah, well. I guess I was the only one who just got heartburn.

DE: Aren’t you inspired by the Beijing Olympics and filled with hope for the future of humankind?

OS: Gag me with a spoon. I see some similarities between the China Olympics and the Utah Olympics. Both cultures are repressive and tyrannical, and at the same time have inferiority complexes and are pretty touchy, seeing themselves as victims of persecution and deserving somehow to be applauded for going all out to put on a good show.

DE: Wait a minute. I can’t speak for China, but we here in Utah take pride in how good we are, and the proof was that His Highness Juan Pablo Samaranch declared the Utah Olympics the best ever.

OS: And I guarantee you that what’s-his-name, that French guy, Jacques something-or-other will stand up there at the final ceremonies and declare the China Olympics the best ever.

DE: You are insulting the Olympic Movement, the Chinese people, the Chinese dictatorship, and most of all those cute little genetically engineered underage female Chinese gymnasts.

OS: No one cares what I say, even though I am the Spirit of the Olympics. The city is now filled with media types filing feel-good stories because they fear for their lives. I’m out here with all the misfits the authorities sent packing because they would spoil the Olympic story.

DE: What about those protest zones for angry Tibetans?

OS: You have a point. And you have to give the government credit for allowing Tibetans to be used as hurdles in the 110-meter race. I just hope they don’t stand up when the hurdlers are jumping over them.

DE: I don’t care what you say, I can’t wait for the Dalai Lama toss.

D.P. Sorensen writes satire for City Weekly.