I can’t predict the future; I’m sometimes able to comment accurately on the present; but I sure as heck know how to remark on the past. In this case, I’m pretty sure that most of you were watching the Olympics last night, and the night before, and the night before, and the night before (and the night before, not to be too redundant)!
What’s great about this four-year spectacle is that the games seem to absorb the nature and nuances of its host nation. This time around, the setting is London, England, and the usually bikini-clad volleyball girls are playing for their medals in what look like Roaring 1920s bathing suits (“Boardwalk Baby,” anyone?) or skin diver wetsuits converted for land use. Sure, the British have had their fair share of stormy, sexy interludes (real: Henry VIII’s merry-go-round of wives, the 1960s Profumo Scandal, Randy Andy’s Koo Stark, Hugh Grant; imaginary: Lady Chatterley and Bond, James Bond). But, by and large, the Brits are known for their decorum, their elegance, and their stoic determination to keep a stiff upper lip and get on with it. (Did you see how stone-faced Queen Elizabeth was during the opening ceremonies? Even watching the playback of her supposed parachuting from a helicopter, she didn’t crack a royal smile.)
It’s been enjoyable to rubberneck and spot Wills and Kate and Harry in the various stands around the sprawling sports complex (a Royal “Where’s Waldo?”), and it’s been delightful to see that the two young scions of the House of Windsor are still far enough away from the throne to hoot and howl whenever England does better than expected and lands a medal. (And then gets unexpected Silver Medal reduced to a Bronze, courtesy of a bureaucratic protest! The British men’s gymnastics team took the news and the demotion with grace under pressure. They didn’t show any scorn or fury. Queen Elizabeth would be proud.)
The Olympics are a chance for all the citizens of the world—the third in line for succession, as well as the 3,000th—to kick back and ogle as godlike specimens shatter records and receive tribute. Only in the Olympics could a six-foot-one teenage girl be considered an underdog!
For doll lovers, the Olympics can continue to play on long after the torch is extinguished. There are so many dolls that can be bought, costumes that can be found, and eBay auctioned sets that key into everything active and athletic.
While the event seems to be produced as a two-way global competition between the United States and China (as far as the medal count goes), the number of young people who have shown up to represent their countries and who have dedicated themselves to discipline and good sportsmanship raises everyone’s spirits during these sometimes soul-sinking times. If you ever wonder if the world is being left in good, future hands, take a look at most of these athletes and you’ll know that personal sacrifice and improvement still go hand-in-hand.
Will the “Fab Five,” the quintet of American girls who snagged a Gold in team gymnastics, be made into dolls? It’s quite possible that some company or customizer is already hard at work sculpting a Gabby Douglas or a Jordyn Wieber likeness. The United States hasn’t sported a Gold in the team event since 1996.
Dolls of these competitors—as well as past headliners—allow collectors to hold a tiny slice of history in their hands. We may never be able to run a 4-minute mile, but we are able to sneak in and swoop up a “Flo Jo” doll with only 40 seconds left on the “buy” ticker. (And 40 seconds is an eternity compared to how swift Flo Jo was on her feet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6KopglZzEE)
Yes, we all have our strengths and our weaknesses. And buying sports hero dolls lets us have a memory of physical prowess that will sparkle and shine, like gold, forever. This year’s celebration is at the midway mark, and the track & field athletes are about to hit the blocks and make their marks. U.S. hopeful Lolo Jones has been racking up pre-Olympics press, and she certainly has the looks and appeal to be this year’s Flo Jo. If she does as well as her agent and manager suggest, we might be looking at world records and a new fashion/sports doll in the making!