In Praise of Traitor Olympians

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Feb. 18 2010 9:57 AM

In Praise of Traitor Olympians


Emily , I too was rooting for Dale Begg-Smith, though less for his looks than his treachery. As everyone knows by now, the man ditched Canada for Australia, and came back for a bit to be booed during his medal ceremony.


Like all Americans, I fear the dark wrath of Canadian nationalism and am thus eager to see able-bodied men flee the True North. But above and beyond the Canuck threat, there is something wonderful about carpetbagging Olympians. By refusing to play for the team God gave him, Begg-Smith makes delicious mockery of all the flags, all the anthems, and all the medal counts. He wipes away the artifice of politics, of the absurd spectacle in which massive nation states "compete" against tiny ones, and cuts to the core of the sport: man, snow, skis.

In a better world, you’d be able to ski under any flag you like. You could make up a flag and compete under that. You could declare yourself a representative of Herland , Narnia, or Ethniklashistan . Barring a new dawn of Olympic liberalism, I’ll take this guy.

Kerry Howley's work has appeared in the Paris Review, Bookforum, and the New York Times Magazine. She is currently finishing a book about consensual violence, ecstatic experience, and the body.



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?


Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.