Hodge headshot

Brian Hodge

Given that this is the least interesting Olympic Games I can recall, I’m unsurprised that for the last week the topic that sucks all of the oxygen out of conversations about the games is whether or not Simone Biles has let down America by removing herself from a few of the team events in gymnastics.

    Biles removed herself after feeling she was not mentally prepared enough to compete without hurting herself physically and hurting her team’s chances at winning. If anything there are some driver’s out there that should follow Biles' example and forego getting behind the wheel of a car when they don’t feel mentally up to it. I had to contend with just such a person on my drive into work today. This week Biles returned to competition.

   Internet trolls taunted many pundits into a ridiculous dialogue about whether or not Simone Biles was a hero or a disgrace. Well she is neither. She is an athlete; and in my view any athlete who is not playing to win is not approaching the competition in good faith. If Biles felt her condition would hurt her chance of winning she probably should have stepped down, just as she did, and return when she is ready to compete. That is, after all, why we bring backup athletes to the games. Simone Biles no more let down the United States than did Michael Phelps, the U.S.’s most decorated gold medalist, when he was caught smoking marijuana in a bong, which is to say not at all.

   It is instructive to everyone, but especially young athletes, to realize that every sport, just like most human endeavors, has mental and physical components to it. Simone was not as good as she had been previously. Later she got better. As almost every Olympic athlete will tell you the games are not about who is the best athlete, but rather who was the best athlete on the day of competition.

    I don’t normally watch the Olympics.  I don’t even watch college football even though I live in a place where the consumption of college football for all intents and purposes is a form of religious worship. However I do recall that in the 2008 Summer Olympics I watched a match of women’s beach volleyball between Russia and Georgia. The game featured sweaty and sandy attractive women playing a game on the beach. This was surreal because on the channel I had just come from I watched reporting about these same two country’s armies, sweaty and sandy men, battling  it out with real weapons.  I came away from this with a profound sense of irony and a new found appreciation of ogling bikini clad athletes from the comfort of my own home.

Governor Handsy

   New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo was unofficially announced Creep of the Week on Tuesday when New York’s Attorney General, the politically ambitious Letitia James, released the findings of an independent investigation into Allegations that Cuomo tried on numerous occasions to get to second base with a bevy of women who wanted nothing to do with him sexually.

    The investigation concluded that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women. That could mean any number higher than two.  In any given population, especially a large one like in the State of New York, a man with money and power will encounter many promiscuous women with an interest in cash. So one has to wonder how many women encountered Cuomo’s ungovernable charm as he “violated federal and state law.”

   When Trump was El Hefe, Cuomo lashed out in a hissy fit around the time of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation saying, “There is a disrespect for women that this administration chronically exemplifies.” Cuomo can now truthfully say that about himself and his own Attorney General has the so-to-be-issued indictment to prove it.

 While Cuomo lashed out at Trump’s administration saying it had “done nothing when it came to sexual harassment,” Cuomo was doing his part for sexual harassment. Unfortunately his part was to perpetuate it.

   Say what you will about political polarization. Watching politicians throw hypocrisy bombs back and forth is, for me, far more entertaining than watching gymnastics or pole vaulting. But it has got nothing on beach volleyball.