Living in a country not my 'own' has given me a renewed interest in this four yearly event as the two television channels we get access to feature Brits (yes, push aside the guy who broke the world record and interview the sixth-placed Londoner) and everyone else (freebie Eurosport channel interspersed with adverts for colleges in Qatar and the Russian railway system). Aussie jingoism is non-existent and the only glimpses we get is what we glean online or if they make it into a final.
Still, I'm addicted. Seeing the best in the world get their ten, twenty seconds or three minutes of fame is intoxicating and I'm a sucker for any medal-winner who cries with joy, is related to a zany parent or demonstrates an unusual display of humility.
Apart from an interest in honed bodies and zero percent body fat, I've noticed that, similar to the big label fashionistas, athletes too have their fads and looks they follow. In 2012, it seems to be knee socks for runners and anyone throwing things along with fluoro yellow as the predominant colour of choice for sneakers.
No-one in my 'real' life (ie Love Chunks sitting next to me on the sofa) or any 'expert commentators' on the telly have been able to explain what those elbow glove / sock / warmer thingies are about. An American runner who resembles Beyonce - Sanya Richards-Ross - seems to like wearing them and considering she's won herself a few medallions to pack in her hand luggage on the trip home means that they must help in some way.
Time will tell if these Big Three Athletic Items stand the test of time or be proven to contribute towards an improvement in performance. Cathy Freeman's head-to-toe bodysuit (and head snood) didn't sweep the world, nor did Serena's all white tennis catsuit - but I'm prepared to hazard a guess that Australia's uniforms did nothing to help their performance. Rather, they helped hinder it.
Our flag may be red, white and blue, but so are many other countries' flags. The green and gold of our floral emblem, the beloved wattle, was a fair alternative. Certainly better than Pigface, Dicksonia or Bladderwort but - it must be said - also presenting an enormous challenge to design a uniform featuring those colours that won't result in something eye-zappingly appalling, gaudy or both.
Some Olympic kits have been better than others but this year.... well, from an outsider's perspective (a hemisphere separates us), they're soul suckingly awful. Google images has only shown the tracksuits on the Gold medal-winning ladies' relay team, so you're spared the horror of seeing them worn by individual swimmers as they sauntered out - presumably in embarrassment or shame - to the starting blocks. Baggy and dowdy, they looked as though they'd been reluctantly picked up off the floor of my Dad's squash club, circa 1977. How can an athlete perform in an outfit that is so butt ugly?
And speaking of butts - or the fronts of butts - the cyclists caused me to shudder and change the channel. "Oh Love Chunks - they're four lemons wearing button mushrooms as helmets!" Sun yellow lycra around the penisticular area is so obviously a no-go that the decision to use this - and apparently embrace it by adding a mesh shape to subtlely POINT OUT the jaundiced jatz crackers - was a crime against all things athletic and aesthetic, surely?
Nineteen year old Steven Solomon made it to the final of the men's 400 metres. A stunning achievement by anyone's standards. And what was the poor bugger required to wear? A harry high pants onesie presumably designed by someone picked last for every sports team, coming off a cough syrup and pop rocks bender and still clearly harboring a crush for Craig McLachlan during the Neighbours years. Sapphire was passing by and groaned, "Oh geez - what is he wearing?" Couldn't have put it more eloquently myself.
Solomon came last but is still the eighth fastest in the world. But, for anyone watching who possessed a shred of empathy, he was a winner. He had more guts, determination and bravery than the other seven runners in front of him. He wore the outfit, knew that it would be seen by a billion people and still managed to hold his head up and run. Like crazy.