Today, Thursday, July 29, 2021, a week into the Tokyo 2020 (2021) Olympics, I am proud to announce that Shrimp Chips will be providing non-comprehensive, delayed, subjective coverage of The Games, in the form of an almost-but-not-quite-daily column called…THE OSHRIMPICS (thanks to Catherine Charles Hammond for the portmanteau; check out their music at https://catherinecharles.bandcamp.com/).
Obviously, the Olympics are deeply problematic. They cause environmental strain, wreak havoc on local communities and poor folks, always leave host countries in debt, should not be happening during a pandemic, etc etc. That said, I have, since young, been obsessed with them.
It has always been a thrill to watch the opening ceremony with my family (except for the London 2012 ceremonies, which were, sorry to say, weak farts in the wind, especially after the 2008 Beijing Olympics) and to see athletes from all over the world do The Impossible™. And then me, a Chinese kid in the Midwest, being able to root on my home country and feel proud of where I came from. (This was before Xi JinPing, though I still root for the Chinese athletes, because even though the Chinese state apparatus is inseparable from the country’s Olympic quest, it is still important to recognize the humanity of these athletes who put their bodies and minds through Hell for their craft vs. shitty government leaders using them for the glory of the nation. Not that athletes don’t want glory either, but they aren’t the ones responsible for the actions of greedy politicians.) I remember idolizing the Magnificent Seven at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, when I would draw an imaginary balance beam in our living room carpet and delay joining my mom and dad for dinner, because I was busy “practicing my skills.” I remember the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, which was the year we were about to move to Salt Lake, from which my sister and I still probably have a couple of mascot keychains lying around in my parents’ house. Sydney 2000, when Michael Phelps mania started. Athens 2004, a financial disaster for Greece, but a landmark moment for Liu Xiang who won the men’s 110m hurdles, earning China its first ever gold in a track event. PyeongChang 2018, with Chloe Kim’s casual-yet-hardly-casual medal snatch and Nathan Chen’s triumphant comeback after a painful short program. And wow, so much more!!
As such, it is with great pomp & circumstance, technicality & style, experience & inexperience, that I announce the first ever, potentially biannual OSHRIMPICS. Let the coverage begin.