Annie Barrett
August 03, 2012 AT 04:00 PM EDT

Welcome to ‘What Is Your Damage,’ Annie Barrett’s summer shop of all the melodrama and self-absorption she misses from springtime reality TV. Every Tuesday and Friday, she’ll rant about a current offense to her humanity, then assess readers’ damages via video replies. Don’t be shy about admitting what annoys or intrigues you. We’re all in this pop cult together!

What’s your damage, Olympics? This week I’ve already railed against poolside interviewer Andrea Kremer and NBC’s hideously disjointed men’s all-around gymnastics telecast, so it’s time to lighten up. Today’s all about wedgies, towelies, and a lovely temper tantrum from a “challenging character” in women’s gymnastics. But first and foremost: Can these gross-outs please stop spitting in and around the pool?

I get that this is an established swimming thing. I mean, they all do it.

The men tend to be more show-offy about their range, rate of stream, and target.

Mattel Inc.

While the women prefer to curate their projectile DNA into a light and airy mist.

The gene pool should feel honored that such esteemed creatures want to “give back” so generously!

Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage

I used to swim and remember getting pissed when people would do this. Which was weird, because pools are also filled with piss, so why even bother caring about saliva? Everyone’s gaping mouths were all up in that pisswater anyway. We’re all going down together — might as well mark out our own territory!

The water-spitting seems to occur especially often among heat or final winners like Michael Phelps, but that could just be because the camera’s on that person. Is everyone performing an elaborate spit ‘n’ spray routine as a reward/ritual after the race? And are we sure Lane 8 deserves to indulge? I wonder.

Day 6 development: Phelps has just started spitting giant swigs from his water bottle right onto the bullpen floor!

Mattel Inc.

I guess the more decorative medals you have, the more terrain within the Olympic Village you can consider yours to germinate. You can’t really tell in this pic, but on TV it totally looked like he was ralphing. “If you have to spew, spew into this,” said ALL OF LONDON.

The only people safe anymore might be these damn weirdos:

Better watch out for those guys, too.

Anyway. The spitting seems gross to me in my bone-dry apartment where tragically no one has thought to throw me an Olympics Pee Party yet. But obviously it’s normal for the swimmers. What do you think?

// Take Our Poll


Brazilian Larissa Franca’s constant wedgie

Peace, but that’s not how you pick it. (Hidden gem: That really is a bra!) On the Damages scale: 6 out of 10

Pre-swim self-flagellation

The first step towards winning is to beat yourself. (3)

Danell Leyva’s lucky towel

Enough. (10)

Douglas Gorenstein/NBC

Might as well just throw that thing in the pool along with all the other contaminants. (10)

Release-landings on the parallel bars

Because if I did this my arms would snap off (15.033)

Team U.S.A.’s “gunmedal” gray jackets


For suggesting pit stains when none exist (7)

British handballers

Sonja Flemming/CBS

Watch the boobs! (2)

Sabine Lisicki of Germany

Sonja Flemming/CBS

For pausing to shrug (5/”eh”)

The New Normal promo‘s knock against “bulked-up Eastern European man-women” swimmers

Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Really? During swimming? Classy.

NEXT PAGE: What’s your damage, Ryan Lochte’s parents?

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