YMMV / Olympic Games

  • Acceptable Targets: Any Olympic "superpower", including the United States, Russia, China and especially the United States. Did I mention especially the United States?
    • Norway, Germany, Canada, and Austria are considered "superpowers" in the Winter Games but they are not as ridiculed since they aren't as huge in the summer games as well in comparison to the countries mentioned above.
    • The host city and country of the present Olympics or the upcoming Olympics, as the host will always receive scrutiny about how they prepare for and host the games, alongside the fact that any political controversies the country has tend to be magnified during this period. This goes double for former and future "Olympic Superpowers", triple for current "Olympic Superpowers", quadruple if the United States is hosting.
    • Canadians, as deemed by...Canadians in the 2010 closing ceremonies.
    • The US Basketball team since the Dream Team era. If they didn't win big, then they're bashed for underperforming. If they win very big, then they're accused of running up the score.
    • NBC, for, among other things, its tape-delaying.
    • And, of course, Berlin 1936 featured the most acceptable target of all. (To be fair to the IOC, the Weimar Republic was still in power when the 1936 Games were awarded to Germany.)
    • Russia has become this primarily due to the horror stories that came out from the journalists.
    • The IOC itself has become an acceptable target, due to its reputation of being comprised of rich snobs that would rather have countries go broke making new venues rather than reusing existing stadiums, which amped up when the only choices for the 2022 Olympics were eventual winner Beijing, China (not known for winter events and well known for questionable human rights) or Almaty, Kazakhstan (ditto, plus they never hosted before) as all the other potential bidders backed down due to costs. A leaked list of their demands doesn't help. (Exactly 68 degree rooms? Olympic themed furniture?!)
    • Russia again during the Rio 2016 games, due to a major state-sponosored doping scandal that broke shortly before, which led to the World Anti-Doping Agency (unsuccessfully) recommending that Russia be banned entirely from the games. Anytime a Russian athlete appeared, expect many people, both in the stadium and on the web, to boo them and root against them.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: In the otherwise music-dominated 2012 closing ceremony, there was a short skit where Del and Rodney from the British sitcom Only Fools and Horses dressed up as Batman and Robin crashing into a door then saying "You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!"
  • Double Standard: Subverted. Any time a male Olympian is sexualized in the media, online commenters are bound to complain that if a female athlete were put in a similar position, it'd be objectifying. One small problem: many male athletes are deliberately invoking a sexy image. For example, the US men's gymnastics team aren't above taking shirtless photos because their side of the sport gets much less attention than the ladies. Being remembered, even as a sex symbol, means getting those sweet endorsement deals. Even if they're not doing it on purpose, men are much less likely to object to having throngs of women and/or other men lusting after them.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Curling.
    • And Canada's skips for that sport, Kevin Martin and Cheryl Bernard.
    • The Vancouver Olympics gave us the Norwegian men's curling team pants. By the time the games ended, those pants had their own Facebook page and Hatedom.
    • Eric "the Eel" Moussambani in the Sydney 2000 games was a swimmer who didn't even make it into the semi-finals. Nonetheless, he became more remembered than the eventual gold medalist in the event.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Gymnast Vera Caslavska, competing for Czechoslovakia in 1968, was beloved by Mexican fans after she a) set her gold medal-winning routine to the Mexican Hat Dance, and b) married her husband at Mexico City Cathedral in a highly publicized ceremony. Years later, after Caslavska had run afoul of the authorities in her home country, she was offered the chance to coach in Mexico. The Mexican authorities actually threatened to stop exporting oil to Czechoslovakia if the government did not permit her to go. They did.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Doomed luger Nodar Kumaritashvili's last phone call to his father included the phrase "I'll win or die trying".
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Australia's speedskating outfits looks a lot like Kick-Ass's costume.
    • Octuple-gold medalist Michael Phelps' rather large game-week diet, which was later "explained" as just a major case of the munchies.
    • For some reason, having Ireland as a "buffer" between Iran and Israel's flags/delegations.
      • For once, Ireland made something better.
      • While this does make sense ("Ireland" comes right between "Iran" and "Israel" in the list of IOC member countries), it remains particularly amusing to people who remember how things were in The '70s and The '80s (Iran fighting a war with Iraq, Ireland undergoing The Troubles, and of course Israel and Jordan, who didn't recognize each other at the time, are separated only by Italy, Jamaica, and Japan—thank God that those delegations tend to be quite large).
    • Japan will host the 2020 Olympics. Just like AKIRA predicted.
    • After the 2008 Summer Olympics, the Bird's Nest stadium was temporarily converted into a snow-laden theme park in 2010. Five years later, they became the first city to win the hosting rights to both the Summer and Winter Olympics, and more of the original venues will be renovated to accomodate for frigid sports.
    • In 2008, Michael Phelps took a photo with a Singaporean boy. That boy turned out to be Joseph Schooling, who in Rio 2016 defeated Phelps (plus Chad Le Clo and Laszlo Cseh) in the 100 butterfly swimming competition.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: Some of the opening ceremonies have scenes that rank quite high on the HSQ scale, examples include the massive Tai Chi circle in Beijing 2008 and the entire the Pandemonium section of London 2012.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Besides a number of events, viewers watch the Olympic Games just for the opening and closing ceremonies.
  • Internet Backdraft: Rooting for your country (specially if you're from the USA). And let's not even get started about bids for or even hosting the Olympics for a city.
    • Like the logo or mascots for London 2012? Don't bother voicing that over on the BBC Sport website.
    • After racist criticism of the opening ceremony from London 2012 by the Daily Mail and the undesirable remarks from the odd Tory MP (who said that there should have been more of the Rolling Stones and less "multicultural crap"- ignoring the fact that the Stones were influenced by African-American jazz and the blues), the internet was quick to flood the mail with comments of well deserved abuse. The tabloid edited the online article, but later pulled the article in question after posters began to comment "this is what the article read BEFORE it was tampered with...".
    • Mention the 2010 hockey gold medal game on a hockey forum. Make sure to have the fire department on speed dial.
      • What, hockey gold medal? Mention the men's artistic skating one, aka Evgeni Plushenko vs. Evan Lycasek. Was Plushenko just throwing a tantrum over Lycasek winning his gold fair and square? Was Lycasek unfairly favored by xenophobic judges who hated Plushenko for being Russian? Say your prayers and call your local mortuary.
      • And to add to that nice roast flavor of USA v. Canada to any meal, mention the 2012 Women's Soccer semifinal. For extra crispy dishes, comment on the length of time the Canadian keeper held onto the ball or the penalty given on the handball.
      • Do not talk about the 2014 ladies figure skating results to figure skating fans. For added fun, tell a Yuna Kim fan that Adelina Sotnikova's win was totally deserved! Retorts of the "urgh she STOLE poor little Yuna Kim's gold, THAT RUSSIAN BITCH! CONSPIRATION!!!111" will immediately come forth.
      • Sochi's figure skating couldn't seem to avoid controversy: Did American ice dancers Charlie White and Meryl Davis actually earn their gold, or did a conspiracy allow them to take gold over 2010's winners, Canadians Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue? Taking sides either way will probably earn a few nasty comments.
      • And from a generation back, break out the fire extinguishers for the 1972 Men's Basketball Final.
    • In fact, there have been many conspiracy theories about the USA and Russia having secet agreements about which country would get which medals in Sochi. Mention them? There goes your life.
  • Memetic Badass: Usain Bolt of Jamaica, who broke the sprinting record in 2008.
    • Katie Taylor of Ireland, who won the gold medal in boxing in London 2012.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Misty May puts it away!"
  • Narm Charm: The opening and especially the closing ceremonies.
    • After the Beijing (2008) Olympics, this might end, considering their massive and very impressive opening ceremony.
    • Vancouver embraced the Narm; besides, not many countries have thousands of soldiers they can spare for performances.
    • London 2012 featured a giant Lord Voldemort being defeated by an army of Mary Poppinses.
    • Sochi 2014 had the return of mascot Mischa the Bear (and his closing theme song "Farewell Moscow" by Alexandra Pakhmutova) from Moscow 1980, accompanied by Hare and Snow Leopard. He blew out the Olympic Flame and (as before) shed a single tear. Only in Russia...
    • The logo for London 2012 looking suspiciously like Lisa Simpson giving head.
  • Never Live It Down: McKayla Maroney's "Not Impressed" meme has completely eclipsed her gymnastic accomplishments. Fortunately, she's actually quite proud of her memetic status.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: The rivalry between US figure skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan during the 1994 Winter Olympics. Before the Games, Tonya allegedly had her then-husband hire an attacker to assault Nancy with a leadpipe to the knee (the "Whack Heard 'Round the World"), in hopes that Nancy would drop out of the competition. (Tonya has always claimed that it was her ex's idea and that he also was a Domestic Abuser who profited from her until-then good fame.) Nonetheless, Nancy recovered in time to compete in Norway, and the ladies' showdown is one of the most watched tv moments in history. Not just for the Olympics or sporting events, but period.
  • Once Acceptable Targets: Any Olympic "superpower" that has since dissolved or is not as a superpower in the Olympics as they used to. While they can still be ridiculed from time to time, they aren't as ridiculed as much as current Acceptable Targets are. The Soviet Union, France, Germany, and Great Britain are such notable examples.
  • The Slacker: India has garnered this reputation over the years. Despite being the second-most populous country in the world, it almost always does poorly in the Olympics, with many of its athletes being criticized as only being in it for the glory and not to seriously compete. This may be because, with the exception of football and cricket, Indian culture doesn't place as high a value on professional sports and doesn't spend nearly as much on athletic programs as China, the US, or Russia.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Many have noticed that the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics theme sounds a lot like "Let It Go" from Frozen.
  • The Scrappy:
    • NBC's coverage is generally this due to its tape delay. When you tape delay Olympic events that take place in the Pacific Time Zone, for people who live in the Pacific Time Zone, your Scrappy title is earned. The 2016 Games were one time zone to the east of Eastern Time Zone and they still had it Live but Delayed!!
    • With modern media (Twitter, Tumblr, etc.) providing instant updates and coverage, it's nearly impossible to not be spoiled for events short of becoming a Luddite for two weeks. That NBC did provide live streams of the events as they occurred during Sochi did help mitigate their Scrappy status somewhat but not enough to make them lose the Scrappy status. (And that the Opening Ceremony was the only event not live streamed didn't help.)
    • Their coverage of the 2012 opening ceremony was another big reason for their scrappy status. In addition to a widely criticized commentary by Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer, they deleted the part of the opening ceremony that was intended to be a tribute to people who died in the July 7, 2005 terrorist attack. Their response as to why they didn't air it? "Our programming is tailored for the U.S. audience."
    • Sure enough, they announced that the opening ceremony would be tape delayed so it aired during primetime. Even the stream was delayed. Gotta get those commercials in after all. They also managed to convince the IOC to move certain events popular in the US, such as swimming and beach volleyball, to later times so it'd air in primetime in the US (with the result that some of the beach volleyball matches are played at midnight Rio time).
      • Rumor has it that NBC even asked the IOC to do the Parade of Nations in English instead of Brazilian Portuguese note  so the United States would be toward the back instead of near the beginning (as Estados Unidos) and maximize their viewing figures. NBC denies it made that request.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Both Canada and Britain worried about how their opening ceremonies would compare to the spectacular ones in Beijing 2008 - but both are generally agreed to have done a good job, showcasing things about their country that are unique and displaying a little more levity and individualism than China did. Danny Boyle's London ceremonies mixed impressive spectacle (opening acts on the British landscape and the Industrial Revolution) with moments like James Bond meeting the Queen, Rowan Atkinson inserting himself into a performance of (and scenes from) Chariots of Fire, and a giant dance party featuring about 50 years of the best of British music. And, of course, the famed "Mary Poppinses vs. Voldemort" scene, in a sequence that also saluted the NHS. So on the whole, it matched up pretty well.
    • The daunting task that any future Olympic swimmer will have to face if they try to defeat Michael Phelps' record in Beijing 2008 of winning 8 gold medals in a single Olympics. And as of Rio 2016, with 28 medals (23 gold, 3 silver, and 2 bronze) to his name, Phelps is the most decorated Olympian EVER in any event. To top it off, by surpassing the 12 individual titles won by Leonidas of Rhodes in 152 BC, he also broke a 2168-year-old record set during the Ancient Olympic Games themselves.
    • Any and every team or athlete from a country following a particularly successful era in a given sport or taking over from a very successful retiring athlete will potentially be subjected to the strain of living in the shadow of those past gold medalists in the national consciousness. The Australian swimming team suffered from this terribly in 2012, being pressured with very high expectations to live up to the very dominant period of Australians in the sport that had preceded them, to the point where it caused a huge media controversy.
    • Leading up to the women's vault final, American gymnast McKayla Maroney was under tremendous pressure to repeat her astonishing, gold-medal winning vault from the team final. She was considered a lock for the individual gold, but fell on her second vault and had to settle for silver.
    • This Huffington Post article saw the Sochi 2014 games as lacking in comparison to the Vancouver 2010 games. Granted this was just before the games began.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Olympic achievement can vary from different countries. In North America, you are considered great if you are able to reach the podium. But achievement-heavy cultures in East Asia can be disappointed with anything less than gold.
      • There is also a kind of Moral Dissonance or Double Standard that can occur within a country between different sports. If it is a sport that your country is traditionally expected to do well at because they have a history of gold medals, then anything less than first may be regarded as a failure; whereas a competitor in a sport that has no national hype is likely to be lauded as a hero if he or she unexpectedly wins a medal for that sport, or even if he or she just wins a place in the top ten/finals for that sport. (From 2012, for instance, Beth Tweddle (women's gymnastics) won bronze on the uneven bars, to the ear-shattering screams of her countrymen; it was the first Olympic medal in women's gymnastics for Great Britain ever.)
    • This was evident in the American coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. The Russian opening ceremony showed the Soviet era as a Golden Age, but the American commentators kept pointing out all of the political repression that went on during the time.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit: Two sports being introduced for the 2020 Olympics? Skateboarding and surfing.
  • What an Idiot: Nancy Kerrigan being a Sore Loser after losing the gold to Oksana Baiul in 1994. Since the ceremony was taking more time than expected and there were rumors about the rather tearful Baiul applying more make-up (truth is, the organizators didn't have an Ukranian flag or a tape of the Ukranian anthem handy!), Kerrigan started whining off-stage about Baiul being a crybaby... and was caught on tape. DUH, "America's Sweetheart".
  • What the Hell, Player?: The IOC to any Olympian who is caught cheating or admits to cheating. If drugs are involved, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), too.
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