Jon Dawson: Olympic gold medalist in dispute with local gym

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If you’re one of the dozens of people across the nation who maintained consciousness during last weekend’s opening Olympic ceremonies, you have my condolences.

It’s the stuff banal movie legend: An athlete devotes his or her life to becoming the best at their chosen sport. After years of sacrifice and hard work, the athlete wins an Olympic medal. Their home country is filled with pride for something most of them had nothing to do with, and the Olympian spends the rest of the decade as a spokesperson for Nike’s overpriced shoes that were manufactured in a Uighurian sweatshop

Hysterically hypocritical virtue-signaling aside, it’s understandable that a successful Olympian would want to parlay his or her gold medal into a cash machine. There is no shame in selling out folks. As Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead once said, “we were willing to sell out but no one was buying, man.”

But as the Bucklesberry Gazette learned recently, winning an Olympic gold medal doesn’t guarantee a smooth ride on the gravy train with biscuit wheels. It certainly hasn’t been the case for Olympic gold medalist Matt Splitz.

“Between an endorsement deal with Monsanto’s salad dressing division and being a TV commentator for the British Lawn Mower Racing Association, I’ve done well over the years,” said Splitz, 57. “My wife and I recently moved to the area, so I figured the best way to meet other athletically-inclined people was to get a part-time job at a local gym.”

Splitz says he responded to a help wanted ad posted by Muscle Gulch Gym on Piles Boulevard in Kinston.

“According to the ad, the gym management was looking for a part-time trainer with a sports background,” Splitz said. “If having won eight gold medals and one bronze in the 1984 Olympics for swimming wasn’t enough, I also worked as a personal assistant/bong loader for Michael Phelps in 2008 and 2012. I never touched the stuff, but that dude really loved his jazz cabbage.”

A large sale is afoot at Bannister’s Fine Gifts, located at 106 West Railroad Street in La Grange.

While most Olympians tend to stay in shape after their glory years, Splitz chose pancakes over squat thrusts.

“I had the most sadistic swim coach on the planet,” Splitz said as he held out a mirror to see if he was wearing pants. “If I even looked at a bowl of ice cream, he’d make me swim an extra five laps. I swore that if I ever got out of the swim game, I’d eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.”

And eat, Matt Splitz has. As of this writing, Splitz is hovering around the 415-pound mark.

“I figure anyone coming into Muscle Gulch looking for a trainer would rather be led by someone who identifies with their struggle,” Splitz said. “Being a tad husky myself, I’d rather work out with someone who’s put a few railroad cars of cookies away in his day. Those skinny little trainers with their perfect abs, shaved backs, and clipped nails don’t know what it’s like to be rolled back into the ocean by a bunch of meddling do-gooders when you’re just trying to soak up some sun.”

“SOME sun? That dude could soak it all up and have room for the moon and a few rings of Saturn too,” said Kevin Morgan, manager of Muscle Gulch Gym. “If Matt Splitz does so much as a jumping jack in here, we’ll have a new fault line within the hour.”

Morgan said he initially thought he was being set up for a prank when Splitz applied for the job.

“I just knew I was on one of those hidden camera shows,” Morgan said. “I kept looking to see if Ryan Seacrest was hiding under one of Splitz’s chins.”

Chris Blizzard of Blizzard Building Supply in Kinston talks about roofing and free delivery,

While researching Kinston, Splitz heard stories of college graduates being turned away by potential employers because having a degree meant they’d want to be paid a living wage. He says he never thought his weight would keep him from getting a job.

“Not only did they not give me the job; they wouldn’t even let me in the building,” Splitz said. “That wiseacre manager said he was afraid one of the moons that was orbiting me might damage their building.”

The Bryan Hanks Show airs on 960-AM in Kinston, and daily at 7 a.m. & 3 p.m. It also airs on the suite of stations in New Bern and Greenville (107.5-FM) at 6 p.m.

Splitz said American society is constructed to keep people overweight.

“From an early age, we’re told to get an education so we can get a good job,” Splitz said. “Once we get that job, the ones of us who are lucky enough not to be laid off will get slammed with work, thus only giving us a few minutes for meals. What’s the solution?”

“Just look at the hundreds of fast food commercials we’re inundated with on a weekly basis. Lots of them feature Olympic medal winners who grin ear-to-ear while chowing down on a cheeseburger the size of Oklahoma. After we’ve ballooned up to the point someone is tying a rope to our ankles outside a Macy’s on Thanksgiving, they shoot a few gym commercials our way.”

When asked who “they” were, Splitz was vague in his response.

“I heard it on a radio talk show,” Splitz said. “The Bilderbergs and Kanye Twitty are tied up in it somehow.”

Nowhere in the Muscle Gulch employee handbook is an employee’s weight, girth, circumference, or ability to clap their hands mentioned. When presented with this information, their corporate office deferred comment to their attorneys, who in turn issued the following statement:

“No comment.”

Jon Dawson’s books available at

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