Ep. 13 – Rio Olympics

This week, we’re talking about the upcoming Summer Olympic Games taking place in Rio de Janerio, Brazil starting August 4, 2016. I love love love the Olympics, and I’m excited to share my view of them to you our listeners and to my co-co-founder and podcast buddy, Jeff, who would rather the Olympics didn’t exist. Join us as we prepare for the Rio Olympics the best way we know how, with me trying to convince Jeff that some weird sports are worth his time, and reminiscing about mostly terrible movies from the 1990s. pcr_lauren_podcast_olympics_trampoline Rio Olympics

Up top, we address some of the major problems that Olympic Games bring with them, because they are significant issues that deserve attention. There are big time problems with labour practices, corruption, and the debt legacy that these publicly funded construction projects (often with limited benefit to the communities they are built in) leave behind. These are just some of the issues that need to be addressed by the IOC and its corporate partners. The Rio Olympics are more disastrous than usual, and if you want to know more about that, here you go.  

Then, we dive into the fun stuff. Why should intelligent people like ourselves watch any part of the Olympics? I make the best case I can, which starts at the glorious pageantry of the Opening Ceremonies and some of the sports (like Artistic Gymnastics, and the spangly uniforms we love). The Kenneth Branagh under a tree thing I was trying to recall from London 2012 was weirder than I remembered. He was playing a “famous” British engineer named Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and he read Shakespeare under a tree.pcr_lauren_podcast_olympics Poppins Rio Olympics

I make some recommendations for weird sports you should all check out. I can offer no more for you here than to GIF it up:

  1. Race Walkingpcr_lauren_podcast_olympics_racewalking Rio Olympics
  2. Velodrome Sportspcr_lauren_podcast_olympics_velodrome Rio Olympics
  3. Handballpcr_lauren_podcast_olympics_handball Rio Olympics
  4. Rugby Sevens
    The best GIF I found for this is too large to see here, but click on this link.

    Mandatory Credit: Photo by Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock (4905557h) Canada's captain Jen Kish dives over to score in Canada's 55-7 win over USA in the women's rugby sevens gold medal game Pan American Games, Toronto, Canada - 12 Jul 2015
    Credit: Photo by Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock (4905557h)
  5. Rhythmic Gymnasticspcr_lauren_podcast_olympics_rhythmic Rio Olympics

On top of crazy cool athletic feats, there are fascinating narratives and super uplifting stories to watch for. Here is the story of the American fencing athlete, Ibtihaj Muhammad that I spoke about who will be the first American to compete while wearing a hijab. I really do recommend people give the games a try, objections and all.

In our second segment, we share the Olympics movies we love. Jeff has a fondness for the Calgary, Alberta showcase piece/inaccurate historical drama Cool Runnings, and who can blame him? Doug E. Doug is indeed the major star, along with the late John Candy. You should all watch it.

pcr_lauren_podcast_olympics_coolrunnings Rio OlympicsI’m a big fan of the crappy romantic ice skating drama that is The Cutting Edge, and if you would like to see the full Pamchenko sequence, YouTube provides. I wish I was lying about that movie poster tagline, but alas, I was not.

pcr_lauren_podcast_olympics_cuttingedge Rio Olympics

We were generally underwhelmed by the choices of movies about the Olympics that exist, so we decided to pitch our own. Jeff has a very hard-hitting exposé about IOC corruption all lined up (think Spotlight, but with fewer Boston accents), and a rather on brand offering with superheroes taking over the Olympics. My pitch is part of an ongoing campaign I have to help Canadians lower our expectations when it comes to Olympic performance. Let’s all root for our athletes as they strive for “Canadian Gold”!

Kool-aid Picks

Jeff and I are really on the same wavelength this week with San Diego Comic Con fresh on our minds, and a certain trailer for the new Wonder Woman movie that blew both of us away. Just do yourself a favour and watch the whole dang thing.

Jeff also really enjoyed The Doctor Strange trailer, and the announcement of our new Captain Marvel, Ms. Brie Larson. Big moment.

While I was LIVING for the Wonder Woman trailer as well (period piece! humor! Etta Candy (who I just learned about)!), it was also announced that a new favourite actor of mine was cast in a film adaptation of one of my very favourite books, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Plus, they’re rebooting The Rocketeer with a black woman as the main character. Here. For. It.


The Canadian team did wear hats to one of the games, but it was 1998, not 2002, and I embarrassingly called the style of hat a “Kanga” like from Winnie the Pooh, when the brand is Kangol, more commonly known as the Samuel L. Jackson. This is a total mom move, and I am ashamed.


Luckily, embarrassment is on the menu for Jeff as well because he managed to dig up picture of him wearing one of these super cool hats and sent it to me, so I’ve included it here. He is adorable.

pcr_lauren_podcast_olympics_liljeff Rio Olympics

Thanks so much for joining us this week! Don’t want to miss an episode? Go ahead and subscribe on iTunes or on Google Play!  Check back on August 18th for our next episode, all about the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

We’d love to hear from you! If you want to get in touch, Jeff is @jlabryan, and I’m @laurencheal.

You can find more great stuff from The Pop Culture Reference on Twitter @ThePopCultRef, on Facebook, and on Tumblr too.

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