In 1980s high school comedies, nerds were shoved into lockers by jocks. This was a reflection of a supposedly natural ecosystem where interest in, say, science fiction or fantasy could not ever coexist with athleticism. Much has been said about the breakdown of these roles over the decades, old, prototypically nerdy interests leaving the dank caves of subculture status and emerging into the mainstream. But nothing shows the extent of our changing times quite as well as a fascinating new trend: dorky Olympians.
The most recent example is a pair of incredibly skilled poindexters from China, Yu Xiaoyu and Zhang Hao, who performed a Star Wars-themed routine at the Winter Games. Though the iron grip of Olympic broadcasting rights means it’s hard to find video of it that won’t disappear within a few hours, footage of the two dweeby demigods from last year shows an earlier version that may have to do.
Lest you think Xiaoyu and Hao are alone, China’s Jin Boyangis is also bringing Star Wars to the Games with another upcoming routine. And, if the popular sci-fi film series is still too mainstream for you, other athletes are digging even deeper.
Consider Japan’s Miu Suzaki and Ryuichi Kihara, who probably had a hard time keeping their glasses up while performing a routine inspired by figure skating anime Yuri on Ice or Russia’s Evgenia Medvedeva who went so far as to dress up as Sailor goddamned Moon herself for an event in Tokyo last year.
The nerds have fully arrived, friends, and they’re actually awesome at sports.
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