Fair warning. Post with a lot of Olympic and Euro2020 content ahead.
Let’s dive into the thick of it, with team Russia, or wait a minute, they’re not called Russia these days, they’re ROC. Yes I have succumbed to the temptation of cheering their men’s gymnastics team with Roc on. Russia are ROC because while Russia resorts to widespread doping, ROC…doesn’t. Swimming is an area where ROC particularly doesn’t resort to widespread doping. Which is a relief, because for me the greatest swimmer of all times will forever remain the statuesque, speedo clad wonder of Aleksandr Popov, seen here in a brilliant final against two other all time greats, Thorpe and Van den Hoogenband, an impressive 11 years after he freestyled his way into my heart in Barcelona. Mind you, he did that as the member of the Unified Team, the umbrella term for the competitors of the Soviet Union, which was politely falling apart, so Russians do have a track record of mystifying names. They also have a lovely kit, as opposed to the unforgivable Armani designed horror of Italy, which will forever be burned into my retina as the unexpected abomination of the most stylish nation on Earth. I will spare you the shock, do have some Soviet design gems instead.
Italy get a free pass for the exquisite joy they brought me by winning the Euros. (Here’s the perfect soundtrack for yet another estate italiana.) While I do have a track record of supporting them through thick and thin (trying to explain away dire 0-0 results and heaps of shithousery does sharpen your intellect in unexpected ways), the whole of Europe breathed a sigh of relief, as after one month of constant, mind and soul numbing talk of ‘it’s coming home’, it bloody didn’t. (Or perhaps, it did.) Kasper Schmeichel masterfully summed up our feelings, so when it was over and the good guys won, we all felt like a drink or three. Luckily, most of us didn’t have to show up at a reception with the Italian president, but Nicolò Barella did, and he did it in style.
He deserves a paragraph. He deserves a crown. He deserves the best bromance in football. He deserves to be the lord of memes. He deserves to be tattooed on arms. He deserves to serve the greater good. He deserves a German word for the human condition: when you are a little ray of sunshine, but also just a little bit dark and roguish, that’s called Chiellinigkeit.
Before the Olympics, 3×3 basketball was completely off my radar (just like dressage). Now I know that I like it much more than the ‘normal’ thing, Serbs are of course very good at it, they already have a GOAT and it’s Dušan Bulut, he knows a trick or two, but they only got bronze and my heart is broken. (I still don’t like dressage, but now I know that the Germans are very good at it and that the plane that took the US horses to Tokyo is called Air Horse One.) While I do admire Simone Biles greatly, I am not sold on the idea that she would be the GOAT, because that’s Nadia and intriguingly people from very different parts of the globe agree. And in further GOAT related news, the month of July also brought Lionel Messi that long coveted national team title.
It seems all my favourite football players miss critical penalties, but only Viviane Miedema is an ice cream eating absolute badass.
To wrap up, a sort of self care corner (I hate the term, actually), so basically even randomer random things: the monthly playlist and pictures below, advice to sleep a lot, take it easy because even the best get twisties and have absolutely rotten days, taking part is more important than winning (remember Eric, the eel?) and comparing yourself to others makes no sense at all, as James Blake comes to testify. The song is as brilliant as the video, just sayin’.