There are only a few more days of Olympic competition left and, though this would have sounded like sacrilege last week, we are ready for the end. The Olympics are great, don't get us wrong. But they're also long, and by this point, it starts to feel like it would be nice to have our lives back again. Indeed, Olympic fatigue has set in.
Though last night was definitely a triumphant one, there was also a sense of winding down. Women's beach volleyball — an exciting event that got started way early last week — came to a close, with a satisfying May-Treanor/Walsh-Jennings first-place victory. Track and field finished up a lot of events. Sure we saw the start of BMX in late-night and diving's still got a few more rounds to go, and we might be watching rhythmic gymnastics live on the TV as we write this, but really what else is there? That crazy velodrome they used for track cycling? It's reached the end of its Olympics usefulness they told us last night. Now it will just be there for, uh... all that, y'know, velodroming that Londoners do in their regular lives.
That feeling of things being shuttered and closed up, a once exciting and thriving thing going quiet, is a melancholy one that only adds to the general sense of fatigue. Let's be done with all these Olympics emotions, be they happy or sad. We've had a good run with them and now it is time to return to the regular range of feeling. If you're as into the Olympics as some of us are, things are always running at a curious high — heightened anxiety over spoilers, visceral excitement at victories, wounded disappointment at losses — that doesn't really match the rhythms and levels of everyday living. And while that's fun for a while, eventually it proves taxing. And distracting! Some of us, ahem, were supposed to be finding a new apartment this month but kinda sorta decided to spend as many hours as possible glued to the television instead of hunting for places. So uh, we're gonna stay where we are. Oops! And thanks a lot, Olympics.
The beginning of Olympics fatigue is, we think, when swimming ends. Swimming always front-loads the games and throws us into the experience with all that wonderful thrashing and splashing. Of course in the past three Olympics we've had the added excitement of the Phelps phactor, so it was fitting that the last event in swimming this year was also Phelps' final race ever. That cast a nostalgic, weary spell over what came after, and then gymnastics ended, sputtering along with a few scattered events and then finally going quiet. Track and field puts on a nice show in the second week, but it's so speedy, and so single-event for many of the athletes, that it's a little harder to get invested in a narrative. It's fascinating and thrilling, but it doesn't quite have the same emotional pull as some other, earlier events.
So, yes, we're ready for the winding down to be done. For everyone to pack up their Village dorm rooms and head on back home. NBC seems eager too, last night ending its broadcast an hour earlier than usual to tease us with a sneak peek episode of Matthew Perry's new show Go On. Summer is almost over, and here comes fall, they seemed to say. And man, if that episode is any indication, it is going to be one dreary autumn. There's always a bit of post-Olympics blues — everything was once so exciting and promising and hopeful and grand! — but knowing that this is what awaits us in a couple of weeks turns those blues navy. Sigh.
Still, though. Still it's OK, and even a welcome fact, that the big London 2012 affair will soon be over. We had our fun, saw lots of great things, looked at lots of GIFs. But it's time. Last night our DVR messed up and we missed several events and while that would have provoked hair-pulling and screeching not but a few days ago, it was OK last night. It was fine. These things happen. You can't see everything. And maybe we've even seen enough.
That said, who's excited for Matthew Mitcham tomorrow???
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.