Listening to this music makes us want to hurl our own discus.

Skeet Happens 

Listening to this music makes us want to hurl our own discus.

I need something to get the blood moving. Something to get me pumped.

Hey, Mr. DJ. Play my favorite song.

You are the dancing queen/Young and sweet/Only 17 ...

Hold up. Not that favorite song. I need to hear something that will make me type like my crotch is on fire. Something that'll inspire me to make this column my naughty little bitch. I need something hard. You know what I'm saying?

Ghostface, catch the blast of a hype verse/My Glock burst, leave in a hearse, I did worse/I come rough, tough like an elephant tusk/Ya head rush, fly like Egyptian musk/Ahhhhhh shit ...

Ahhhhhh yeah. That's what I'm talking about. Wu-Tang, represent! Now let's write a motherfucking column, motherfucker.

Sorry. I can't help myself. I'm a recovering jock. Normally my medication quells those competitive urges, but lately I've been popping pills like they were chocolate-covered orgasms, and to no avail. Blame it on the Olympics. I can't get enough ripped dudes in tiny swimsuits chasing each other across the pool. I crave balance-beam pixies and discus-throwing manimals. I jones for Marion Jones. I freebase Bob Costas.

I can't help but revert to the days when I was a strapping, sporting lad, long before I became the bloated, burnt-out shell of a human being that this job requires. Jocks and musicians aren't supposed to fraternize within the predator-prey dynamic of high school Darwinism. And yet athletes rely on music to inspire, cajole and provoke that intensely focused state of mind that allows them to run faster, jump higher and beat elderly women with hickory reeds -- in short, do whatever they must -- to win.

So who, pray tell, does a world-class gladiator of the games listen to for motivation before laying waste to every other human being on the face of the Earth?

Um ... Ashlee Simpson.

Whatever works. And the junior Simpson is what works for Carly Patterson, the golden girl in the all-around gymnastics competition. And how the hell do I know this?

This is a detail-saturated world, homeboy. With a few casual keystrokes, you can discover (or just guess) what Patterson had for breakfast (a sprig of asparagus and a fifth of Wild Turkey), what numbers she's thinking of right now (3, 745, 982), where she had her last bowel movement (in an alley behind a falafel stand in central Athens) or anything else you want -- but definitely don't need -- to know. Which includes her favorite training tunes, readily available for anyone interested (or bored) enough to venture to the NBC Olympic Web site.

Now I'm privy to know that 100-meter gold medalist Justin Gatlin enjoys himself some Lil Flip and Lil Scrappy. Amy Acuff -- high jumper and (prrrrrrrrr) Playboy cover girl -- listens to the White Stripes' "Little Room." Tennis star Andy Roddick forsakes former flame Mandy Moore in favor of Kanye West, sailor Paul Cayard relishes Tina Turner's "Simply the Best," and merman Michael Phelps appropriately spins Twista's "Overnight Celebrity."

Beach volleyball players such as Stein Metzger mellow with the Marleys. Gymnasts such as Patterson and Courtney Kupets stick their landings with bubblegum from Christina, Britney and Maroon 5. Athletes generally lack much indie cred, but swimmer Gary Hall Jr. cops some Iggy Pop, windsurfer Lanee Butler-Beashel listens to the Cure, and Whitney Ping -- who has the best table-tennis surname ever -- rocks Goldfinger's "99 Red Balloons."

But what about the homegrown talent? Well, gymnasts Terin Humphrey and Courtney McCool profess to be country girls -- KMXV 93.3 played "Achy Breaky Heart" 48 consecutive times to raise money to send McCool's family to Athens -- though the gals' Web bios link to 50 Cent, Eminem, Jennifer Lopez, Good Charlotte and (sigh) the Baha Men. But it's doughy, KC-born skeet shooter Shawn Dulohery (an Army sergeant now based in Georgia) who has the most surprising playlist: AC/DC, Aerosmith and ... John Tesh?

Come on, Shawn. I mean John Tesh will provoke you to fire a shotgun, but usually it's aimed at John Tesh.

Then again, for every "Back in Black" or "Bring da Ruckus" that provides a feverish buildup for intense competition, people need something a little more mellow to help them settle back down. And you know what that means. Now hit it.

Dancing queen, feel the beat from the tambourine ...

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