These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
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.
Whatever country that is hosting the Olympics or the upcoming Olympics, as said country 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.
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 has been amped up now that Oslo has dropped out of the 2022 bidding, leaving only Beijing (whose nearest ski resorts are 120 miles away) and Almaty, Kazakhstan as potential hosts. A leaked list of their demands doesn't help. (Exactly 68 degree rooms? Olympic themed furniture?!)
Again, from London, the absolutely EPIC"And I Will Kiss", written and arranged by Rick Smith and Underworld and featuring hundreds of amateur drummers led by deaf musician Dame Evelyn Glennie, which played during the "Industrial Revolution" part of the opening ceremony. The title also comes from The Tempest.
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 Seventies and The Eighties (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 won the 2020 Olympics. Just like AKIRA predicted.
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.
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.
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...
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 Scrappy: NBC's coverage of the 2012 games, due to, among other things, its tape delay.
NBC's hold on being The Scrappy has gone on for years before 2012. 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 are one time zone to the east of Eastern Time Zone, somehow NBC will find a way to tape-delay that too.
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.)
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 London 2012, with 22 medals (18 gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze) to his name, Phelps is the most decorated Olympian EVER in any event.
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.
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 they unexpectedly medal, or sometimes even if they just place in the top ten/finals. (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.
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.