You’re a Winner: The True Story of “Space Olympics”

We know the SNL Digital Short “Space Olympics” is nearly three years old now, but here in the offices of Tor.com, we can’t stop singing it out loud. And because we’ve watched the video way more times than any of you, we’ve discovered the secret history of what we think actually happens in the video. We’re pretty sure we’ve interpreted all of these clues correctly; so read on to discover the real story of the Space Olympics.

First, watch the “Space Olympics” video. We will explain everything afterwards:

Other than galactic athletes, and the Alien Hordes, “Space Olympics” only focuses on one character; a white-haired caped individual who we can only assume is the master of ceremonies (though we discover he has several other duties later.) Though we don’t have any direct evidence, we’ll got ahead and infer his name is Deke Valtron. Deke begins the video triumphantly, announcing the start of the Space Olympics and welcoming “us” (the participating athletes) as our voices “echo in the halls of the universe.”

The first clue that all is not well comes from Deke’s costume changes. Initially, when he implores us to “reach for the stars” Deke is wearing a gold and silver outfit with a silver cape featuring royal blue lining. (As pictured at the top of the post.) However, quickly we glimpse another Deke clad all in black with a red sash, perched ominously on an alien cliff.

The Second Black/Red Deke (but third in the timestream)

The Second Black/Red Deke (but third in the timestream)

Is this simply costume theatrics for the purposes of promoting the Space Olympics? We think not. We think there are several versions of Deke throughout the video, four to be precise. And these Dekes are not clones, but rather Dekes from different points in time. You’ll see why in a moment.

The Third Gold/Blue Deke (though temporally second to Red/Black Deke)

The Third Gold/Blue Deke (though temporally second to Red/Black Deke)

The third Deke is wearing a royal blue tunic similar to Silver Deke, but this time with an all-gold cape. This is the Deke that tells us “every galactic athlete needs a coded ID badge” and also warns the athletes to keep “their ass off the mini-bar.” For the most part, Gold/Blue Deke seems to be very much involved in the logistics of accommodations of the athlete’s village on Zargon, with some assistance from the Black/Red Deke, who seems to be patrolling the outer perimeter of the village armed with a laser cat. Black/Red Deke represents a slightly darker aspect of Deke’s personality which is because this version of Deke is from a point in time in the future ahead of Gold/Blue Deke, but behind Silver Deke.

The 4th Blue/Silver/Black Deke, furthest along in the timeline, save for Silver Deke

The 4th Blue/Silver/Black Deke, furthest along in the timeline, save for Silver Deke

Though it’s not revealed initially by Silver Deke, we quickly learn of a”budget snafu” which results in athletes only receiving “one meal a day” because “food funding is insufficient.” Now, the Deke we see here with the calculator is a fourth version, dressed in blue silver and black. This Blue/Silver/Black Deke is even further along in the timeline than Black/Red Deke, but again, not beyond the future of original Silver Deke. Here’s what happened:

Silver Deke creates cracks in time

Silver Deke creates cracks in time

At some point before the video begins, Deke Valtron decides to resurrect the long-dead Space Olympics. However, he’s only one man, and can’t do it on his own. The lighting bolts he shoots at the beginning of the video actually create cracks in the universe, giving Deke the power to shift through time itself. He decides to use different versions of himself at different times to create the logistical structure of the Space Olympics. Indeed, if the video were longer, we’d see hundreds of Dekes running the entire infrastructure of the Space Olympics. However, all of the multiple versions of Deke cause a famine on Zargon and the orbiting spacecraft, because not only does time-shifting make one hungry, but also there are suddenly more Dekes than Zargon could feed. Hence, food funding becomes insufficient.

Blue/Gold Deke warns his love

Blue/Gold Deke warns his love

Blue/Silver/Black Deke realizes this and travels back in time to warn Gold/Blue Deke. Blue/Silver/Black Deke tells Gold/Blue Deke to create new rules about what the athletes can and can’t do in an effort to retroactively fix the financial woes of the Space Olympics. This doesn’t work at all and some of the athletes start rioting, leading Deke to run for the hills in exile, at which point he begins wearing black and red. However, Black/Red Deke then travels back in time to a point just before he was exiled in an attempt to save Gold/Blue Deke (himself) from getting exiled at all. This is why he is armed with a laser cat. With the help of Blue/Silver/Black Deke(his future self) and Gold/Blue Deke (his past self) Black/Red Deke brainstorms for new ways to solve the problem. This results in all three Dekes deciding to cancel most ALL of the events, which leads to more rioting.

A desperate measure

A desperate measure

Back in the hills, broken and depressed, Black/Red Deke uses his flying powers to escape to the orbiting spaceship where he starts wearing the Blue/Siler/Black get-up. It is from this point in the future that Blue/Silver/Black Deke had traveled back in time and attempted to retroactively solve the budget crisis with Black/Red Deke and Gold/Blue Deke.

Blue/Silver/Black Deke hits the self destruct, with guilt and shame

Blue/Silver/Black Deke hits the self destruct, with guilt and shame

After that fails, Blue/Silver/Black Deke returns to the quasi-present and does the unthinkable: he rolls a member of the Alien Hordes, who all constantly carry millions of quatloos in space credits around as pocket change. Though this robbery and its subsequent events are not depicted, we can infer that the wrath of the Alien Hordes is relatively swift as they descend upon Zargon and the orbiting spaceship containing Deke in a flash. At this point, Blue/Silver/Black Deke presses the self destruct, which his past selves are keenly aware of through telepathic temporal connections. Deke knows that the Alien Hordes want him, and if he in turn destroys all of them, the athletes on Zargon might be saved.

And yet here Deke speaks of his “sins that will take him to hell.” What sins are these? Well, Deke also fell in love with one of the athletes on Zargon (in fact the athlete who he warns to keep her “ass off the mini-bar.”) But she was killed when “all the oxygen ran out.” His guilt for her death, and the failure of the Space Olympics, and the possible genocide about to be committed by the Alien Hordes are almost too much for him to take.

Deke Valtron, just before traveling back in time again

Deke Valtron, just before traveling back in time again

However, just before the spacecraft explodes, Deke manages to time-shift one last time. We see him in the final scene now dressed in silver as in the introduction. At this point Silver Deke travels back in time and documents the entire experience in video form as a kind of confession for his sins. Sins committed against the galactic athletes, his “love,” his past selves, and the Alien Hordes. In this way, the “Space Olympics” video serves as a kind of apology. I suppose we’ll have to wait until the year 3022 to properly forgive Deke, but for now our hearts go out to him. It was a noble attempt, and like him, here at Tor.com, we too “do it for the love.”

Now, with the truth in mind, watch Deke’s whole account once more:


Ryan Britt is a staff writer for Tor.com. His writing has appeared with Nerve.com, Opium Magazine and elsewhere. He braces himself because there’s no gravity.

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