Think of The Olympics as the world’s reality television show. They’re like The Bachelor: only one contestant wins big and everyone knows who the contenders are right away. What’s left for everyone else is to be forgotten by playing by the rules or to gain untold riches and fame from going down as a crazy train wreck. No one remembers the girl who tries hard; everyone remembers the crazy girl who throws drinks at people, cries a lot and does all of her talking behind someone’s back.
That’s the attitude the less prominent countries need to have in these games. The world is watching; what will they do with a shred of attention You don’t need to win to really win anymore. You certainly don’t gain notoriety, endorsement deals and awareness by humbly losing. No one would care if Snooki was a responsible citizen who simply enjoyed the beach. They love her because she’s a hard-partying troll who is either crying, fighting or losing control of her bodily functions. She’s also insanely rich now. Similarly, the seventh-place finisher in canoeing will be forgotten, but the person who releases an Olympic Village sex tape will catapult their nation to glory.
Malaysia gets it. They set the tone before the games have even started by sending a female shooter who is eight months pregnant. She’s a long-shot to medal but has already morphed into a fan favorite. If she wins, she should also demand a second, much tinier medal for the baby.
So, what can other countries do to increase their awareness?
The Cayman Islands
Go political, make uniforms out of money and tell them you’re wearing Mitt Romney. It’s one of those statements that means nothing but will get people on both sides of the fence crazy. And it will get people caring about Cayman athletes, like Cydonie Mothersille, who is a runner or swimmer or some sort of racing person (NASCAR?).
Known for their archery and ethnic cleansing. Boring. Archery is making a comeback, thanks to The Avengers, Brave, The Hunger Games, and…uh, Archer? So Bhutan could capitalize off of that. Have their archery team ride a flaming chariot in the Opening Ceremony and rename every one of their athletes Katniss Everdeen.
That sounds more like a guy’s name than a country. The London Telegraph wrote a six-word history for the Islands: “1950s nuclear testing ground. Thanks America!” Hey, I can write snarky six-word histories too. Here’s mine for the British Empire: “The sun has set on it.”
Anyway, nuclear testing means radiation. Radiation means one thing (usually): superheroes. Superheroes are huge right now, so start the rumor that your athletes have superpowers and that will generate enough curiosity to kill London’s cat (still not over the snarky slam).
Samoa, American Samoa
Two “different” countries. Regular Samoa is big in women’s weightlifting, the least sexy thing to hit TV since Khloe Kardashian. American Samoa is big in judo. Their biggest athletic export is professional wrestlers so these two factions should get into a heated pro wrestling feud. Constant shoving matches in the Olympic Village, hilarious promos whenever a microphone is around, and if American Samoa doesn’t change their anthem to Hulk Hogan’s entrance theme, they don’t have the savvy to demand international fame.
Self-deprecation goes a long way toward rehabilitating a bad reputation. Rwanda could show some self-awareness and name their quarters in the Olympic Village “Hotel Rwanda,” turn it into a party house and tell people the only thing being destroyed in there is sobriety.
Everyone will assume this country came after the movie, sort of how the NHL’s Anaheim Mighty Ducks came from the Disney franchise. Go with what you know, so their two track and field athletes might as well roll with it and get some of that sweet Dreamworks money.
Afghanistan won its first medal in the last Olympics in Taekwondo, which would be cool if this was still 1987. The way for Afghanistan to get fame is to act like everyone’s cool older friend who always has drugs. It’s a lot easier to be a must-have entourage member than the star.
The Tebow recipe, which adds four cups of religion to a teaspoon of talent to create a media sensation. Saint Lucia is the patron saint of the blind so have all athletes compete blindfolded. Track and field will become must-watch TV.
Well, Iran is trying to fight everyone lately, so there are two options. Either embrace it and go full-villain (they can be the team everyone loves to root against) or go the complete opposite direction and be overly friendly, like a friendless high-schooler who is trying to reinvent himself at a summer job.