August 7, 2012

Gustavo Arellano is the editor of the OC Weekly in Orange County, Calif., author of the syndicated column ¡Ask a Mexican! and the book Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America.

What’s your earliest Olympic memory?

The Uncle Sam logo from the 1984 Olympics. I grew up in Southern California, and he was everywhere during my childhood. Can’t remember actually watching the Olympics that year, though.

How excited do you get about the Summer Games: Eager? Hyperventilating? Meh?

Eager: have watched hours and hours of every Olympics since 1988!

Which events do you particularly enjoy watching? (Or, if you don’t like the Olympics, what do you do instead in August?)

More like, Which Olympics event don’t I enjoy watching? Synchronized swimming (although I can respect the skill there), and, um … hell, I even watch the horse event one, and that’s just dull

Are there any sports you watch only during the Olympics?

Most of them, because ESPN/NBC, et al, thinks track and field, weightlifting, badminton, swimming, and so many more only exist during the Summer Olympics.

If you ran the International Olympic Committee, what sport would you add/get rid of? What rule would you change?

Bring back baseball and softball—drop none of them. And stop the pretense about amateur athletics, already! (If they indeed still keep up that charade.)

What do you think of NBC’s Olympic coverage? Or do you watch the Olympics in Spanish?

Olympics in Spanish only for Andrés Cantor; otherwise, Bob Costas all the way! Does he still keep a baseball card of Stan Musial in his wallet?

What athletes will you be rooting for?

None in particular; whoever is the underdog.

Other than the United States, which countries do you cheer for?

The underdog!

Do you ever root for the Mexican athletes, just because?

As a Mexican, you’re required to by law!

Overall, are the Olympics a good thing, or a waste of time and money? An instrument of peace or of nationalist zeal?

Of course it’s nationalist zeal, and the IOC is a load of crock—but you tend to forget that while cheering in the heat of the competition. Man, I’m a bad Marxist…

If you could have a ticket to one Olympic event in London, what would it be?

Track and field, when they have all the finals. The sprints! The long distance races! The javelin! Awesome!

“Olympic Talk with Gustavo Arellano,” by Bill Vourvoulias.

From “Fear and Gloating,” the August 7, 2012, issue of V as in Victor.

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