Olympic Moments, 2/16/10

Very random thoughts from a couple more days of occasional Olympics viewing:

  • NBC wisely showed the CTV story on Alexandre Bilodeau and his older brother. Beautiful. (I can’t find a link. Help?)
  • Favorite moment Monday night? My first viewing of the Sudafed PE Triple Threat commercial. Hilarious.
  • The German bronze medalists in the Pairs Skating competition, Savchenko and Szolkowy, were my favorites. He’s an artist. I really like that guy. That said, the win by China’s Shen and Zhao is a great story. I’m happy for them, especially because he throws a tight spiral.
  • Not such a great story? Chinese skating coach Yao Bin‘s sacrificing his family for the gold. His turning around the Chinese skating program is inspiring, but the interview in which he explained his absence from his family was not a “feel good story.” I guess it makes sense, though, since the athletes he coaches forfeit their families from childhood, as well. Sad.
  • While we’re on figure skating, does anyone else think that Yevgeny Plushenko, the Russian who won the gold in 2006, brings back memories of the Cold War? Dude is a perfect villain, like a skating Ivan Drago. I keep waiting for him to come up to one of the smaller skaters and say, “I must break you.” (If anyone wants to remake Rocky IV with an Olympic theme, Russian gymnast Svetlana Khorkina could totally be Mrs. Drago.) On the bright side, at least Plushenko is, well, masculine.
  • Speaking of masculine skaters, I think the guy in the plaid shirt and overalls should win the gold medal right now, just for not wearing sequins. Bravo!
  • The male skaters from Japan are a blast—especially Kozuka, the kid.
  • Canadian skater Patrick Chan sure seems like a good guy. Hope he does well.
  • We’re sad for Lindsey Jacobellis. Really sad. Esther (age 8) cried for several minutes and would not be consoled.
  • America’s big medal count lead has disappeared. Not a stellar day for the U.S.A.
  • I said in a previous post that I like Bob Costas. He’s bugging me though. He tries to be too witty and comes off a bit like a smart alec. Agree?
  • Not to namedrop or anything, but Bonnie Blair’s older sister was my high school tennis coach. We were pretty good, too. :)
  • Finally, while most of those who commented here liked the Opening Ceremonies, Rick Reilly, one of my favorite sports writers, was less than impressed. (Warning: he insults Canada with abandon. Canadian readers who appreciate disclaimers: Blame him, not me.)

Previous 2010 Olympics posts: here and here.

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16 Responses

  1. My favorite moment from the Olympics was your name-dropping. : )

  2. Hey, I resemble that remark!

    Seriously, though, I liked the column, except for the story at the end.

    – It does rain here, a lot… in the WINTER. It does not snow here very much at all. In fact, we have gone for stretches of three years with ZERO snowfall. What can I say, I’m all for global warming. Bring it on. (BTW, here in Victoria we get half the rain that Vancouver and Seattle get. We think they deserve it.)

    – The ‘Own the Podium’ thing is part of our national insecurity. We have this giant population to our south and we are constantly conscious that they are bigger and often better, so we’re bitter.

    – Women’s hockey is a joke. Only Canadians and Americans play it seriously. Look at the lop-sided scores in the other games. This is an Olympic sport? Please! Get rid of it.

    – Yes, we do say sorry if we even have a hint of brushing against some stranger in the store. And we say excuse me if we think we might. And we say both if we think the situation is particularly confusing and flustering. So???

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  3. I’ve enjoyed your Olympic posts. Curious about your thoughts on curling. I love watching the Olympic curling matches. (Are they called matches?) I completely agree with you about the Alexandre Bilodeau piece, and about Plushenko. Although we didn’t cry about Jacobellis, we felt awful for that young lady. It was also a teaching point for our boys.

    Bob Costas is great, but he always tries to come off as witty and a smart alec. I disagree with one of your previous posts about Collinsworth. He is not snarky, but Rick Reilly is the master of snark. He is still a good writer.

    Looking forward to following your thoughts on the rest of the games.

  4. Don, Your following little blurb was really really funny:

    – The ‘Own the Podium’ thing is part of our national insecurity. We have this giant population to our south and we are constantly conscious that they are bigger and often better, so we’re bitter.

    You weren’t referring to Mexico were you? :-)

  5. Would love to see the link on the Bilodeau story – didn’t see that one. Totally agree about the story on the Chinese coach – really sad. And what was with him when they won? He looked like he couldn’t stand all the hugging. It was almost painful to watch him.

    Also agree about Lindsey Jacobellis – really really sad. But she had a good attitude in the interview – I guess not much else she could say.

    I am totally underwhelmed with the ice skating – the only guy I liked was Evan Lysacek. (except the interview – it doesn’t MATTER if you win gold?? What??) The couples were a total snore! Can’t we have fun and make it upbeat and interesting and not make every pairs skate be about unrequited love?

    I do like Bob Costas, and think it’s really funny how he has to keep reining in Dick Button during their interviews. And thank you, thank you NBC for taking Button off the commentary! Oh and I do like Chris Collinsworth.

  6. * I thought the Opening Ceremonies were a complete snooze-fest. Sorry, but I’m just not into “First Nations” dancing, slam-poetry, or k.d. lang.

    * I do feel kind of sorry for the Canadians with all the criticism that is being piled upon them. Some of the problems are entirely out of their hands (the weather); other problems are inexcusable (how can Canadians not make proper ice for a speed skating track???).

    * If I were Jacque whatever-his-name-is for a day, I’d make new rules for men’s figure skating: tenth of a point deduction per sequin on your outfit; half a point deduction for any flesh-colored spandex; bonus points awarded for actually looking like a dude–you know, with shirt and pants rather than a jumpsuit.

  7. P.S. I love Bob Costas and Cris Collinsworth. My appreciation for Collinsworth is probably a carryover from the fact that I think he is hands-down the best pro football commentator/analyst around.

    In fact, I think all the Olympics announcers do a great job. The only person on the whole NBC crew I don’t care for is…Mary Carillo.

  8. Actually the weather issue is a commentary on the Olympics in Vancouver as a concept at all. February can be cold, but it is very chancy. We are actually supposed to be exceeding 50 F tomorrow and the next few days. Whistler will be cooler, it is higher up, but a lot of events are down near sea level. The mountain they are running the snowboard events on is quite low and close to Vancouver.

    So I am kind of enjoying the criticism. Sort of an “I told you so” for the average citizen who, it seems to me, are against the whole spectacle in general. If they had put it to a referendum, I doubt there would have even been a bid from here.

    Re the sequins… well, figure skating is not really noted as a manly sport (or whatever it is). I ignore the ‘men’s’ side of the event totally.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jerimiah 33.3

  9. I’ve not seen much curling, Travis. But I agree @ Reilly and snark. I just like it more coming from him. :)

    I think NBC is doing well. But Kristen, I’m not crazy @ the way Costas speaks kind of dismissively to Button. He’s passionate about skating, and Costas just asks him stupid questions like “What do we think about the clown outfits, though?”

    On the other hand, Greg, I don’t mind Mary Carillo.

    After my post, Lysacek nailed his short program. He was intense, and it was riveting, IMO. And I was relieved to find out that his feathers were a theme thing and not a “Weir(d)” thing. Yikes. Felt bad for the young American who performed so poorly. He’s obviously an exquisite skater. But dude, try and fall. Don’t just throw a single or double! On the bright side, 2014 will be here before you know it. :)

    Looks like a full line-up tonight. There’s 2 weeks of TV worth watching every 2 years. :)

  10. Here’s the wikipedia description of curling. If you really want to get into it, Amazon lists Curling for Dummies as a resource.

    I have never played the game. It was always associated with lots of drinking in my home town. In fact, I have never seen a curling rink without a bar. It sort of goes with an unofficial nickname some Canadians have adopted: “hosers”. (You can look that up on wikipedia too…) Anyway, because of the culture, our family never got involved, but it has always looked like a fun game. I have a rudimentary understanding of the rules.

    Maranatha!
    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  11. Sequins. Too funny.

  12. ” I have never seen a curling rink without a bar”

    well, you’d have to be drunk, wouldn’t you!! it’s almost as weird as scots hurling tree trunks! no offense to curlers, scots or trunks!

  13. Favorite Olympic moment of the day? The Cavs trading for Antawn Jamison. For big Z. Who will be back in Cleveland in a month.

    Perfect.

  14. A skater wearing plaid and overalls… Red Green?? Pass the duct tape, eh.

    And I, too, enjoy watching curling. Like horseshoes in slooooooow motion.

  15. LOVE the Olympic update – keep them coming. My two cents:

    1. Was glad to see Lysacek defeat Darth Vader last night. Didn’t think it could be done.

    2. Mc Donald’s needs to stop airing these ridiculous commercials where the guy goes in and sees all the Olympians eating there. Yeah, right. We’re all apparently just a few dozen Big Macs away from Olympic history…

    3. My dad would always whine about Costas and his cockiness, and I always defended him, but I concur that someone is just a bit too happy with his pithiness this year.

  16. […] “Olympic Moments” posts: here, here, here, and […]

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