The Hunger Games vs. The Olympics

Oh, the Olympics! When several countries from across the globe come together to settle who’s better once and for all. At least as far as certain bouts of athleticism go!

And this year, things seem very Hunger Games-y. With a fine sprinkling of Rocky IV in the margins, because who can resist a good Ivan Drago reference? Seriously, though!

Exhibit A: The Tribute Olympic Parade Escorts

Who knew Effie had so many co-workers?!


Between the giant decorative headpieces and the torso accessories, these women are clearly straight out of the Capitol. Not to mention how smiley they are as they escort most of these athletes toward likely defeat!

Exhibit B: The Stylist Waz Here


Yes, the Olympic games always involved countries entering in their own unique outfits. But every time, they seem to get more and more outrageous. Some countries were normal, but the USA went for that kitsch “panel sweater knitted by Great Grandma” look while Russia looked like one of those Santa Claus themed charity runs people do around the holidays. Also, Bermuda showed up on blazers and Bermuda shorts because DUH! THE NAME HAS BERMUDA IN IT and we just… can’t even… WHY? *facepalm*

Exhibit C: The Welcome

Let’s face it, Vladimir Putin didn’t look particularly happy to be hosting this shindig.


Exhibit D: Sponsorship

There are A LOT of people who have a lot of money invested in the Olympic games. While some governments do produce financial backing to help their athletes attend the games and the competitions leading up to them, many countries including the United States leave their athletes dependent on corporate sponsorship (unless they come from very wealthy families). If they want to compete, they have to win over the sponsors by emulating their perfect little competitor. Someone fierce yet lovable with an excellent shot at winning.

So you know how you get really, really sick of seeing athletes in ridiculous amounts of commercials surrounding the Olympics? They’re sick of it too! We all have something in common!

Exhibit E: The Careers

While it’s not true of all athletes, it seems quite a few were born into their sport. Why do you think so many siblings compete together? Their parents had this life planned out for them since they were in the womb. They trained relentlessly, starting at a very young age. It was a full time job even then. They were raised believing that Olympic gold was the major goal of their lifetime. These aren’t just people who want to win, these are people who have kind of been trained to believe they’ve failed their country if they don’t win. (Here’s a great article by former luge competitor Samantha Retrosi on this.)

On The Upside, There’s No Murder!
The Girl With The Pearl



  1. “you know how you get really, really sick of seeing athletes in ridiculous amounts of commercials surrounding the Olympics?” No. No I do not. I love those commercials, especially the heart-tuggy ones (especially those P&G “Mom” ads. They don’t use actual Olympic athletes, but they do make me weepy).

    One comparison I noticed during the Opening Ceremony: The host nation enters last; in THG, on the Victory Tour, the victor’s district is visited last (although this is mostly for the practical reason of the victor returning home at the end of the tour).

  2. “DUH! THE NAME HAS BERMUDA IN IT and we just can’t even… WHY? *facepalm*”
    Er… because it’s actually what they wear in Bermuda. Same way that aloha shirts (not the garish ones) are used in Hawaii as business attire.
    So ironically, Bermuda’s outfit probably had very little “stylist” influence. It’d be like Peeta and Katniss wearing quality versions of their reaping outfits on the chariot rides.
    But yeah, I don’t even know what Team USA was thinking…

    Putin… *shudders and avoids eye-contact*

    The East Asian and Eastern European nations are indeed very close to the Careers, from seriously starting at an absurdly young age to the honor mentality (in Asia) that goes with it; pray you don’t get second place if you’re from an Asian team.
    Your “Dream Teams” are also equivalent to the Careers. And yes there are overzealous families here and there.

    For American viewers, NBC should be the biggest analogue. Be it the fact that they’ll show you what they want you to see (Paralympics? “Low-profile” sports? What’s that?), or the absurdly vapid commentary by the hosts during the opening ceremony.

    Frankly, I like to think that Panem does adopt something like the Olympics after Paylor comes to power, with fourteen teams that compete annually in various non-lethal athletic events.
    Call it “Panem et Circenses” or whatever; it’s clear that stuff like the Olympics (as well as the World Cup) are a nice morale boost for certain regions and a way for them to go against each other that doesn’t involve dying (barring some tragic historical incidents). And in general, it’s way for people from different regions to interact with each other; sure there are some ****s who have chips on their shoulder (be it the competition itself or regional/cultural grudges), but the good chunk involves positive inter-regional interaction (including the horizontal type).
    IMHO, it’s what Panem needs in its reconstruction period. And this time, the spectators won’t be watching in fear.

    Just the random weighing-in of my thoughts.

    1. We know that Bermuda shorts are common attire in Bermuda, but much like the mullet.. That business up top, party on the bottom look just wasn’t doing it for us on the whole haha!

      I think you’re right that Panem would eventually hold something similar, but I’m not sure if it would be with Paylor in the reconstruction period. She was a former Victor, after all, and would probably be against any “celebration” that touted young people around as pressure-filled vessels of District glory once again. Especially when they undoubtedly want people to forget the thrill they got from The Hunger Games and realize how bad it was.

      1. Oh, I’d agree that the whole ensemble isn’t doing it for me either.
        Just mentioning that there’s an actual reason behind it.
        Also maybe not with a blazer/jacket, but one could probably easily rock some shorts with a button-up/waistcoat combo and look good in the process. 😀

        I don’t think Paylor’s a victor; you sure you’re not mistaking her with Lyme?

        I see it the other way around. Having athletes voluntarily compete in such sporting events would serve as a way to have “young people actually be young” and bring true representation to their homes. And after probably seeing too many young people mature too quickly in war, Paylor would appreciate such a change in gears.
        Of course, the ceremonial part and coverage of it would probably be much more subdued and professional.

        On a more pragmatic note, I think that there’s would still be tons of pent-up resentment between many districts (the most obvious ones would be between the districts and the Capitol, high-number districts and Two, etc) that will have to be addressed.
        Competing in this manner not only serves as a release valve (the Capitol’s athletes probably are not going to fare that well, which would be harmlessly cathartic to everybody else) but also has representative athletes serving as “ambassadors” to each other. And this time, they actually come back home.

      2. Paylor is definitely not a Victor. We know that there were seven surviving Victors after the war: Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, Annie, Johanna, Enobaria and Beetee.

        You’re probably confusing her with Lyme (who presumably died at some point during the war)

        1. I knew Lyme was a victor, but for some reason thought they both were. Oh well. As a commander during wartime who fought alongside some of the victors, I doubt her perspective is all that different.

          1. To be fair, as a vet of as nasty of a war as the Rebellion was, one could say that Paylor is a victor for all rights and purposes.

            In the end, it’s obvious we have different opinions on how things would go, and let’s just chalk it up to that.

  3. Thank you for he thoughtful commentary and for that link to Samantha Retrosi’s op ed. This is why I no longer watch professional sports. From figure skating to pro football, from hockey to gymnastics, sports have become a way for all sorts of wealthy organizations to profit the popularity of young, largely powerless athletes. The athletes’ rewards: too often a lifetime of pain and disability.

    It shocks me that the NFL is a US tax protected ‘not-for-profit’ organization whose executives boast six and seven figure salaries, while most of the ex-players live out the remainder of their after-football lives with no career preparation, no training in money management and no medical coverage. The vast majority of successful pro players end their careers in bankruptcy courts.

    College football is just as bad — a sap for wealthy alumni and other donors that in actuality is a money losing drain on resources that might have gone to student aid. The ‘college’ players rarely emerge from their years playing without pay with anything like a real education.

    I would far rather watch a game of pick-up basketball or sandlot baseball than support in in way this appalling system.

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