We are in an unprecedented era of globalization, a time when we can theoretically contact anyone anywhere in the world with a click. And so the idea that we are all still rooting for our home countries across the board in the Olympics is absolutely idiotic. The Olympics are about winning—which is just about the most American value one can subscribe to—and so if you want to not be a dumbass, you should just root for whomever is fucking winning, dumbass!
Think about gambling actual money (which of course you would never do within the context of the Olympic Games because that would be unethical). You don’t put money on the sucky horse or try to bluff against known poker champs, unless you’re a reckless gambler—which may point to a larger issue, and I don’t trust your judgment. (This is why hedge fund fuckers are so loathesome.) So if you see your country trailing behind or even coming in second, as Katie Ledecky did last night to Swedish Gold Medalist and Champion I Want on My Team Sarah Sjöström, why are you still rooting for your country? Because of principles, or some weird misguided notion of national superiority when the lack of it is staring you right in the face? It’s called Darwinism, and you’re doing it wrong. Country loyalty on the Olympic stage is a nice thought, but it’s only gonna get you killed.
Think about it; when you were in high school, if you so happened to be one of the nerds or outcasts like I was, at some point you maybe tried to align yourself with the big jocky types to avoid getting your ass kicked by their meaner friends. (Well, I don’t know if that’s true, but there’s an entire genre of teen movie about it.) You’re probably not an Olympic-level athlete, and I sure as fuck am not, so the best option here is to plant your flag in the winning yard, so to speak. What, you wanted to hear your country’s national anthem? Guess what, every national anthem sucks.
Who you’re rooting for can change even in the course of a race, obviously, depending on who has the lead. (Some exceptions: people like Simone Biles or Serena Williams, who are already so gifted at their sport and craft you’d be stupid not to side with them, even if they lose just this once. It’s playing the long game.) When the Russian doping lady went up against Lilly King in the pool, I was all like “Yeah man, I’m voting for the Russian doping lady.” Who cares about it! But then Lilly King was beating her and I was like fuckit, I am voting for Lilly King. And then she won! USA! USA! USA! Until it’s not. Lazslo Cseh did his thing later, and I was all in for Hungary. Go Hungary. Lotta swimming pools in Hungary. Waterways. Danube.
You say it’s fickle? I say it’s smart. This isn’t a game, people. This is about world domination, and being on the right side of winners. Go ahead and root by your country, if you want to die.