The problem with so many Olympic sports--the 400-m run, the pole vault, skeet shooting--is that they lack narrative. This accusation cannot be leveled at synchronized swimming. Each routine has a theme, which swimmers take very seriously--even if their intentions aren't always clear. Below, a primer.
RUSSIA GOLD MEDAL Theme: Witches Swimmers sported green fingernails and bathing suits with cobwebs
JAPAN SILVER MEDAL Theme: The Bird of Wonder In a setting normally reserved for fish, the team evoked fowl but still came up short
FRANCE FOURTH PLACE Theme: Carmen Inspired by Rodion Shchedrin's ballet Carmen Suite, the routine mimicked flamenco dancing...