The Best Olympics Commentary From My Sports Newbie Girlfriend

Feature image via SportsCenter Twitter

It routinely shocks people how much I love sports. As a highly visible nerd, I don’t exactly radiate athleticism – but you’ll just as often catch me watching “the game” as reading up on the election or cracking that day’s crossword puzzle. It’s actually not a surprise if you’ve known me long enough; I grew up on a steady diet of WNBA games (including the first one ever!) and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, played basketball and baseball in community leagues, and managed the girls’ basketball team in high school. (And yes, I’ll say it before you do: how no one realized I was gay at that point is beyond me.)

My organized sports consumption has shifted toward spectatorship, but with no less enthusiasm. I read the sports section every day to dissect how we talk about sports and their messy collisions with gender, race, class, sexuality, ability, fame, and power. What do sports look like and why? What do they force us to confront about ourselves? Whose stories do they tell? Who gets left out?

It goes without saying that I love the Olympics. I routinely cry watching medal ceremonies because y’know what, you’re witnessing one of the greatest moments of these people’s lives and damn it, that is beautiful. My girlfriend, however, is not of this mind. I doubt multiple nights of wall-to-wall Rio coverage is what she signed up for when we got together. But here we are, with the Games wrapping up, and I daresay she has been a champion (heh) about the sudden influx of athletes and sports she’s never heard of into her life.

Perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation. So in tribute to those couples who have, at best, a 55% collective interest in all things Olympic, here is a selection of her finest feedback. For those of you who are flummoxed by your girlfriend’s sudden obsession with this international jock fest, may you see some of yourself reflected here (because media representation matters). And for my fellow athletics enthusiasts, may it serve as a reminder that sometimes, the uninitiated are the best watching partners of all.


1. “What sports is this?”

2. “He looks like everyone I went to USC with. Peak Jock Face.”

3. “Remember when you started crying when that girl won air rifle? We didn’t even watch air rifle.”

4. “I bet these gymnastics girls’ backs wouldn’t have hurt so much after last night.”

5. “Who decides which sports are in the Olympics?”
“The International Olympic Committee.”
“Who are they? Are they trolling?”

6. “I wish all of my hugs were in slow-mo.”

7. “We lost to SWEDENBORG. SWEDEN. Autocorrect doesn’t know what’s going on but I’m upset even though I didn’t watch because this feels like I should be affronted? Remember when Jessica Alba admonished a reporter on some red carpet issue by telling him to ‘be Sweden’? We lost to Jessica Alba’s bad geography. That’s why I’m insulted.”

8. “What’s his tattoo? I want to go up and touch it without permission and ask him what the significance of it is. That’s so fun, when people do that to me.”

9. “That false start wasn’t on purpose, right? That wasn’t, like, the fire drill of Olympic sports?”
“No… that’s why it’s called a false start.”
“I don’t watch the Olympics! I don’t know if this is normal!”

10. “Okay, so this is the final. Is that the one with the medals?”

11. “Wouldn’t you be embarrassed if your life-altering injury was sustained from table tennis? I don’t care if it’s at the Olympics, that’s still embarrassing.”

12. “There’s something silly about diving being an Olympic sport. I’m never not going to see diving as clowning around at the community pool.”

13. “What is that mascot? Seriously, why is that there? I feel like I’m watching one of those videos where people pass the basketball and you have to look for the guy in the gorilla suit.”

14. “She’s REALLY pretty. That’s, like, a face you would computer generate. It makes me mad.”

15. “I’m rooting for the crying guy.”

16. “Is he gonna do a medal?”

17. “You’re welcome for not knowing about the sports.”

Carrie's body is weird and she's making that work for her. She lives in DC by way of Los Angeles and has a conflicted relationship with social media, but you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram anyway.

Carrie has written 82 articles for us.

11 Comments

  1. Myself and possibly the world thanks you for collecting these quotes and your girlfriend for saying them. This was decidedly the most significant Olympics coverage I have read this year, possibly only second to a photo gallery of Fu Yuanhui’s many excited faces.

    I also had no idea that doubles table tennis or synchronized trampoline were Olympic sports. WHY DO WE ONLY SHOW SWIMMING AND DIVING AND MEN RUNNING IN A CIRCLE OVER HURDLES N THINGS

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