The Olympics have finally begun in Sochi (Geshundheit!) after a build up that has set a new world record for hype. If over-hyping were an Olympic event, the Putin Games would get the gold medal, with the Super Bowl getting the silver and Kate and William’s baby, winning the bronze.
I have to concur with my neighbour, Cam, who describes the Olympics as “Two weeks of bad TV”. It is something I disagree with Cupcake about, however, as she loves the Olympics more than any other TV show, other than those featuring crazed murderers terrorizing screaming, crying females or B-list celebrities dancing the cha-cha. (It should come as no surprise to most that we would disagree about the Olympics as the only thing we really agree on is the other person’s lack of agreeability.)
It’s not just that I like TV as much as I like, say, fibreglass pink underpants, but also that I am irritated to have my tax dollars go toward having a bunch of good looking, fit youngsters party on my penny. When I hear about the cases and cases of condoms used at the Canadian athlete's village, I am not only outraged, I am as jealous as all get out.
I swear my dislike for the games has nothing to do with the fact the Olympics cause me to have flashbacks of traumatizing “Track and Field Day” events in grade school. Being weakest, slowest and shortest was never so obvious, nor so painfully rubbed in, like wasabi on a flesh wound, as when striving in public to be strongest, fastest and farthest. Where were the cheering throngs when I was destroying all challengers in the Chess Club? Luckily I am not bitter. Much.
There are some good things about the Olympics, of course, particularly the winter ones. Canada doesn’t suck nearly as bad at those as we do the Summer Olympics. Mind you, in Canada where we live, Summer has about the same lifespan as a mosquito some years; last year in particular. It is hard to beat the world in Summer sports when Summer falls on a Tuesday in June, a Friday in July and a Sunday and half of a Monday in August.
Another good thing about the Winter Olympics is that it gives our pundits lots to write about for ages leading up to the games, during the games and follow up stories afterward. They fill pages with stories on each athlete and why they're going to win, with insightful, poignant background pieces later, on why they didn't. It is a news story factory which doesn’t involve war, death or politicians gone wild, so there is that.
Another positive feature of the games is the tight outfits worn by the speed skaters. Mind you, when you see the thighs on those women that could crack open a coconut, it can be a bit scary. I do, however, think some of the events have become almost as silly as Monty Python’s suggestion of cross-country wrestling. A good case in point is those suicidal nut-bars doing the “aerials” where they launch themselves upside-down at warp speeds on mogul strewn hills. It is sheer lunacy only rivalled by projectile sports such as the bobsled. Events like the aerials have nothing to do with fastest, strongest or farthest. It is more about being the prettiest, sort of like those gymnasts with the lovely ribbons or The Miss Teen Canada Pageant.
To me if you need a judge, it shouldn’t be considered an Olympic event. The only judges that should be required for the Olympics should be for trying cases of graft-taking IOC officials. These judges should be able to use creative sentencing, too, such as making the guilty go down the luge course without a helmet while onlookers get to pelt them with produce... maybe they could use coconuts before the speed skaters have had a chance to crack them.
Not all Olympic events are stupid, admittedly; just ones that don’t involve hockey or curling. Ones involving speed, snow and gravity all seem like exercises in insanity. Plunging downward at a shocking rate is for ladies necklines not people standing or sitting on things with slippery bottoms. You may as well give out medals for going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
The value of Ice dance and other skating events as an entertainment form is something else Cupcake and I disagree on, (go figure). I don't doubt one needs athleticism for figure skating, but to me, it is just another of those judged events that is more art than sport, much like The Lingerie Football League.
Now as far as figure skating goes, I am as much a fan of some fella whipping a woman around up over his head while sailing around a hockey arena as much as the next guy, which means not at all. Cupcake, however, eats this stuff up. If they could get Horatio Caine to do a figure skating number with Celine Dion to a live Josh Groban song, Cupcake would think she'd died and gone to heaven.
Will the Sochi Olympics live up to the hype that preceded it? By the time this column comes out, we will have a fair idea already. As far as I am concerned, the best outcome Canada can expect from the Olympics is much the same as for taking two-step lessons with my missus. I just hope we don't embarrass ourselves.
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