Dear United States Summer Olympic team,
Hi! This is Kory. Big fan. I just wanted to drop you a line in encouragement for the big games coming up this next week. I know you’re all doing your best running up stairwells and eating those vitamin-fortified wheat nuggets or whatever it is you skinny athletic people do to get ready for things like this. It probably involves listening to Linkin Park to get amped and visualizing a victory or whatever. I wouldn’t know.
Anyway, you have to know that we back home in the grand ol’ USA expect you to win everything. Every time you lose a race, short a shot put, or only octa- a decathlon, piddling little places like Ghana and Belgium get to laugh at us, and then they’ll stop importing Hershey™ bars and opening Taco Bell™ franchises, and we don’t want that now, do we?
I know it’s been difficult for you to get really pumped up for the competition ever since the Cold War ended. It made a difference in the preparation of our athletes when they knew there was an entire country out there filled with evil, gray-bearded, furry-hat-wearing Communists with furrowed brows and nuclear submarines (and that was just the women’s hockey team!). According to men like Tom Clancy and Richard Nixon, these Olymp-niks wanted nothing more than to rob freedom-loving Americans of their gold medals, so they could melt them down and use them to gild Gorbachev’s vodka flasks.
Those were the days. American fans of the Olympics were fueled not by their support for the American athletes, but rather their rooting against the dreaded Soviets. Alas, Russo-American relations have never been better, and you Olympians find yourselves without a clear enemy in these games.
This is why I’m writing you. I think it’s time for us to pick a new enemy.
It’s a sticky procedure, building a rivalry. It would be easy to just pick some country we knew we could always beat, like Zambia or Paraguay, but then we look like a bully, and nobody wants that. Although if any of you lose to somebody like Suriname (which, according to Wikipedia, is a country), you’d better find an apartment in London, because you aren’t welcome back.
So to pick a real enemy, we need a true contender. Let’s run down the list of top Summer Games medal-winners. No. 1, of course, would be us, with 2,296 Summer Olympic medals. Choosing ourselves as our own new enemy would lead to an intriguing matchup, but we already tried that once back in the 1860s, and all we got out of that contest was a ton of names like Spotsylvania and Gen. William Buford Howardsmith Sheridanman, which we all forgot on tests in our 11th -grade American history classes.
No. 2, with 1,010 medals, is the Soviet Union. That’s a big nyet. Third is Germany with 851, but we’ve already had two wars with them in the last 100 years, and things seem to have cooled down substantially. Great Britain, the No. 4 (715 medals), is intriguing, especially since we’d be taking the fight to their soil this time, but I think this would significantly harm the chances of us getting the third season of Downton Abbey broadcast here in the states, and my wife would kill me.
No. 5 is France (636 medals). It feels a little bit 2002 to make this pick, so we’ll move on to No. 6 (Italy, with 522) and 7 (Sweden, with 475). Here’s where I think we’ll find our best adversary. The Italians are always one-upping us in sports-car manufacturing, interesting political scandals and high fashion (example: Versace vs. Old Navy). And the Swedes? Well, they know what they did.
So, athletes, as you’re competing and representing our country, keep a sharp eye out for those dastardly Scandinavians and immoral Italians. Trip them on the hurdles. Spike their respective meatballs. Divert their tour buses to Wales.
And remember, comrades, we’re all back here, rooting for you!