When my 5th grade teacher took a straw poll for the 1980 Presidential election, it was 23 to 1, the movie star over the peanut farmer.  It was almost 24-0.  I liked President Carter’s big teeth and the fact that, as an officer in the U.S. Navy, a nuclear reactor melted down and he had to disassemble it with his bare hands.  This Reagan fellow, what had he done?  But Carter had also boycotted the Moscow Olympics, and this was nearly unforgivable.  The grime of politics, my ten year old self thought, should not be allowed to sully the purity of the Olympics.

Sixteen Olympics games later, with the Soviet Union dissolved and the United States now in the role of the invaders of Afghanistan, who knows if President Carter’s boycott in protest of the Soviet’s invasion of Afghanistan was the right move politically. Either way, I’m not mad at him anymore – the Olympics, like all sports, is as political as a presidential election.

Case in point, Mitt Romney found himself catching hell this week for the bazooka powered lobbying he’d done to pull in $1.3 billion in taxpayer money to underwrite the Salt Lake City Olympics.

Better case in point, the greatest of all sportswriters David Zirin has this piece out this week about sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos taking off their shoes to walk up the medal stand in the 1968 Olympics, to protest black poverty, and then bowing their heads and raising a black gloved fist, in a salute to black power.

And here in Atlanta, the political ripples from the 1996 Olympics are all around us.   When construction of the Olympic stadium fell hopelessly behind schedule, government officials let Mexican Consulate Teodora Maus know that any Mexican national ready to work construction would be most welcome, regardless of immigration status. Maus passed the word along, and thousands responded.  Most of those who settled in Atlanta have found all pathways to citizenship or legal status blocked, and must now worry about being deported.  Another ripple: the speculative rental market that developed in anticipation of the Olympics almost doubled rents overnight, blowing up a real estate bubble which, popped, has Atlanta in the deepest of the foreclosure trough.  (Was that a triply mixed metaphor? Ripple, bubble, trough.  Sorry.)

Queerfit isn’t quite the Olympics (yet), but it’s just as political. Together, we’re figuring out how to get fabulously fit on our own terms, trying out what it means to be queer-strong, and working out how to love our bodies without conforming to racist, patriarchal, ableist notions of what’s good and beautiful.

Be ready for something tomorrow just a little bit longer than our usual 16 minutes.  Just a hint: pay attention tonight to the Parade of Nations.   As always, 10:00 sharp at the little green space on Euclid Ave., just north of the Inman Park/Reyonldstown MARTA station.