Even though National Olympic Committees don't keep track of how many of the 10,000 athletes in London are married, according to the Wall Street Journal, there are at least six couples at this year's Olympics that are currently engaged in an unofficial "who's more in love" competition. Married Olympic couples would seem, at first, to offer really good kindling for warming your heart, but it turns out that people who compete at an insanely high level are actually insanely competitive. Just take Australia's Clayton and Lucinda Fredericks, who, as equestrians, had the opportunity to compete against each other at the Beijing games back in 2008. In the heat of competition, explains Clayton, marriage vows fade to but an inaudible murmur under the clippity-clop of hooves:
For the week of the Olympics, it's more important for me to have a good relationship with your horse than your wife. That's the one that's going to win you the medals.
Anything for medals, I guess? No worries — even though Clayton finished seventh and Lucinda finished twenty-sixth, the couple took home silver medals in the team event and so didn't have to arm wrestle to determine ultimate number-one champion before they parted ways at Olympic Village before lights-out (Australia, unlike some other countries, maintains a strictly-segregated dorm).
Hyper-competitive couples aren't a new phenomenon, though. At Helsinki in 1952, everyone's favorite married Olympians were track and fielders Emil Zatopek and Dana Zatopkova. They gave press conferences together and everything, but when Zatopek tried to siphon a little credit for his wife's gold medal by explaining that his own win had no doubt "inspired" her, Zatopkova took a moment to make her husband look like an asshole in front of everyone by responding, "Oh you inspired me, did you? OK, go inspire some other girl and see if she throws a javelin 50 meters."
Marriage must be a little tougher when everything — making pancakes, watching TV, showering — has the potential to rapidly devolve into a bloodthirsty competition. Especially considering the fact that everyone wins in a pancake contest anyway, so trying to determine a single winner is an absurd exercise.