The Summer Olympics are more than just the twice-a-decade gathering of the world's elite athletes to determine athletic superiority while also demonstrating worldwide commonality and brotherhood. They're also about developing accidental, overwhelming crushes on the attractive people who grace our screens in HD night after night. Unfortunately, part of the reason we love the Olympics so much is that they're so ephemeral: These ones are almost over already! So that means our various athlete crushes will be as temporary as they were powerful. Now that we've experienced most of their triumphs and agonies, let's take a minute to remember the objects most deserving of our collective crushes. Which athletes caught YOUR eye most often?
Without being specific, SOME of my picks MIGHT BE listed below. Just getting the ball rolling, you know?
Allyson Felix, Track and Field, Team USA
Allyson Felix took home the gold in the women's 200-meter sprint this week, but she ALSO ran away with our hearts! Hey come back here with our hearts, lady dreamboat!
Nathan Adrian, Swimming, Team USA
This 23-year-old, Berkeley-educated dreamy behemoth cleaned up in London winning two golds and a silver! Annnnnd he wore the best uniform doing it.
Aliya Mustafina, Gymnastics, Team Russia
While the various front-and-center USA sweethearts (on NBC at least) were out gallivanting around the mats, this Russian femme fatale consistently stole their spotlights with little else than a well-timed glare. Forgive us, Ms. Mustafina! We weren't worthy. (Oh and she won FOUR medals, including a gold in women's uneven bars.)
Oscar Pistorius, Track and Field, Team South Africa
Who even CARES what he's running on? Look at the rest of him! Oscar Pistorius may have only reached the semifinals of the men's 400-meter race, but as the world's first double-amputee Olympian (Non-Special Edition), he definitely won the gold for being an inspiration. And maybe a second gold for being HECKA ATTRACTIVE.
Kellie Wells, Track and Field, Team USA
I don't know if it was that coy shock of blue in her 'do, or her effervescent joy at winning the bronze in the women's 100-meter hurdles, but it was hard not to be captivated by this lady. Just before her race the commentator totally overshared about the hardships in Wells' past and I was like, "MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, COMMENTATOR." We got your back, Kellie!
Epke Zonderland, Gymnastics, Team Netherlands
From his fantastic name, to his seemingly out-of-nowhere domination of the men's horizontal bar event, to, well EVERYTHING ELSE... (Sigh.)
Missy Franklin, Swimming, Team USA
Okay, this is inappropriate. You guys are crushing on a 17-year-old! Missy Franklin hasn't even started her senior year of high school yet, ya creeps! But darn if she wasn't one of the coolest-seeming, funniest, and most put-together athletes at the games. Plus she won FIVE medals, four of them GOLD. What did YOU do the summer before senior year? I was wearing a clip-on bow-tie at my job at a movie theater concessions booth. (P.S. Don't ever eat movie theater hot dogs, you guys.)
Tom Daley, Diving, Team Great Britain
If gold medals were awarded to athletes who most looked like they were members of One Direction, British diver Tom Daley probably wouldn't have come up quite so empty-handed these games. Oh well, hopefully he'll console himself with the fact that he LOOKS LIKE TOM DALEY.
Gabby Douglas, Gymnastics, Team USA
Hey girl. You into TVD recaps?
Usain Bolt, Track and Field, Team Jamaica
This guy not only has his own Tebow-esque trademark pose, but his Twitter bio humbly states that he is "the most naturally gifted athlete the world has ever seen." Sometimes that kind of confidence just WORKS for people, you know? Especially when you can back it up with TWO gold medals (so far).
The Entire U.S. Women's Water Polo Team
The thing I keep noticing about watching the women's (and men's) water polo games is how much better the Americans' tans are. Like, sorry Eastern Europe. You are really good at water polo, but WE LOOK GOOD. Aside from that, though, dang, the U.S. ladies really killed it this year in bringing home the gold. They were just so good at a sport that looks really hard. If you or I tried to play this sport, each game would last five minutes and the primary goal would be to not drown or swallow too much pool water. You know? And let's not even talk about how brutal this sport is below the surface. (Y'all nasty!) Let's just focus on how adorable these ladies are out of the pool.
Marcel Nguyen, Gymnastics, Team Germany
Germany's half-Vietnamese heartthrob may have only brought home a pair of silvers this year, but he was definitely one of the more memorable participants out there. Whether it was his throwback haircut or the charmingly half-hearted attempt to cover up his tattoos, Nguyen basically commanded viewers to fantasize about WHAT HIS DEAL WAS. Danke.
Jake Dalton, Gymnastics, Team USA
All right, yeah there are three different male gymnasts on here. If we're being real, it's because television is basically the only place where male gymnasts seem attractive. If you saw any of these tiny hunks in real life you'd be like, "Children be weightliftin'!" before realizing they were actually full-grown adults. But on TV, someone like Jake Dalton—with his animé eyes and insane physique—just seems like a larger-than-life idol, you know? Call it the Tom Cruise effect: Some real-life tinyfolk just happen to look PERFECT on camera. Anyway, also, the unitards.
Lolo Jones, Track and Field, Team USA
Lolo Jones was like the lady Tom Daley of these games: Both were already famous pre-Olympics for their levels of attractiveness and then under-delivered come game time. It's cool, though. She is still insanely talented, seems like a good person inside, and also LOOK AT HER.
ALL OF THEM
Let's be real, we would marry any of these people. Olympians are the best! It's just too bad that in a couple of days we'll forget all about them for FOUR FULL YEARS. But at least for a brief, two-week period in the summer of 2012, our hearts all collectively fluttered for the world's most deserving crush objects. Thanks for your hard work, everyone. It has not gone unappreciated!