As a dumb swimming fan (I hadn't checked the schedule to see that the swimming events don't start till 9PM Eastern time), I sat through an hour of gymnastics before they started the swimming.
The best thing about watching the Olympics for me is seeing people do things with their bodies that I could never dream of doing; the gymnasts are a good example of that. I envy them their powerful shoulders, arms, and v-shaped torsos. They're wearing the right outfits though: sleeveless athletic tops with long pants. A lot of them seem to have disproportionately skinny little legs. Big legs would be a disadvantage for gymnasts the way huge arms would be for a distance runner: it would be superfluous weight which would prevent them from performing as well on the parallel bars, the pommel horse, and the rings. They do need to use their legs on the floor exercises and vault. But they still end up looking pretty lopsided.
Two things hit me yesterday that had never occurred to me before. The first was that a fair number of gymnasts must use steroids, since strength is obviously a big advantage in the sport. Some of the gymnasts had the telltale veins in the front of their shoulders, and the convex traps which often indicate juicing.
The second was, a fair number of the male gymnasts must be gay. Several of the guys last night seemed to have "gay face." They tended to be very huggy with one other after their routines. The expert commentator had "gay voice." And some of the gymnasts tended to get very emotional after their performances. This was particularly true of the Brazilian team, among whom tears are almost de rigueur, though that seems to be partly a cultural thing. (The top Brazilian swimmer of the past decade, Cesar Cielo, who doesn't appear to be gay, would invariably cry after each winning performance.) And gymnastics is a sport, like diving and figure skating, where you're scored on artistic merit.
I'm not making a moral judgment here, merely an observation. Nor am I saying all gymnasts are gay. Anyway, it's interesting I'd never noticed this before; I guess those big deltoids and triceps and biceps served as an effective disguise.
Swimming is a very formful sport, meaning, the swimmers generally perform as they're expected to. Kosuke Hagino was expected to win the 400 IM, and he did. Sarah Sjostrom in the 100 fly and Adam Peaty in the 100 breast were expected to have the fastest times in the heats and semifinals, and they did. And the Australian women won the 4 x 100 free relay, as expected.
Katinka Hosszu was expected to win the 400 IM, and she did, smashing the old world record. (This post got over 2000 hits in the past 24 hours; a lot of people evidently had the same thought after seeing the muscular Hosszu.) If they want to find out what vitamins she is taking, they ought to test her husband and coach (and Svengali), the volatile Shane Tusup, since he's likely taking the same ones:
Unexpected performances are the exception, not the rule, and so races expected to be close are generally keenly anticipated. One such was the men's 400 free, expected to be a close one between Mack Horton of Australia and Sun Yang of China.
To the delight of most swimming fans, Horton won. Yang had splashed Horton in the warmup pool the day before (not in a playful way), had gotten into a physical altercation with a female Brazilian swimmer at the World Championships last year, has served a suspension for doping, didn't bother to show up for a 1500 final at a world championship once, has been suspended by his national federation of not attending team training camps, and has spent a brief amount of time in jail for driving without a license in China.
In swimming, a relatively bland sport, it's rare to have the good guys and bad guys delineated so clearly.