Olympic Notes

Thursday during a training run, a Georgian luger was killed in a crash.  I remember the first time I saw luge.  I thought to myself, “Man, that’s crazy.”  It turns out I was right. 

The TV talking heads are talking about who knew the track was unsafe, who’s to blame for this young man’s death.  The track is known as the fastest in the world.  It drops 152 meters, allowing the competitors to routinelyh reach speeds of 140km/hr (that’s around 95 miles/hr).  The competitors know this.  The coaches know this.  They still compete.  It’s the risk one takes in the pursuit of speed. 

My wife and sons are digging out of a snow storm.  It looked like they got about 4 inches of snow.  In Vancouver, they are trucking in snow to the Olympic venues.  What’s going on here?  The deep south has snow, but frosty Vancouver’s temp today was almost fifty degrees. 

I can honestly say that I haven’t watched any of the Olympic coverage.  I rarely do.  I remember as a kid the Olympics being what we watched on TV.  Of course we only had three channels, so no reruns of Little House on the Prarie on US TV.  Now, you can catch a House rerun on USA almost any time.  But that’s not why my interest is so low.  I could give a rat’s ass about skiing or curling.  I used to be interested in the competition by US athletes, even if it was figure skating or hockey.  I was proud when our guys did well, and disappointed when they failed.  It was a good feeling to see the American hockey team as the National Anthem was played after their defeat of the Soviets.  Now, it’s not so important.  Maybe it’s because every wacko sport that is done in the snow now has Olympic status.  Half-pipe snowboarding, mogul skiing, whatever.  How long will it be before snowmobile jumping will be an Olympic sport?  The IOC has to do something to generate interest.  I’ll tell you how to generate interest.  Naked figure skating.  Those chicks are in great shape!  I’ll pass on the men’s events, if you don’t mind. 

I find the summer games a little more interesting, mainly because the results aren’t up to judges in most of the sports.  The clock and the scoreboard don’t lie.  A French figure skating judge who hates George Bush can screw up an athletes one chance to represent their country.  The sacrifice these kids have to make, the money they spend, the time they train, shouldn’t be wasted because of politics.  I don’t like subjectiveness in sports.  If you can run faster than the other guys, you should win.  Imagine if the 100m dash had a judge who decided if the winner really won.  “He was fast, but I didn’t like the way he strode on step 22, so I counted off a half second.  Therefore, the sprinter from Lithuania wins!”  Of course, the summer games do have judges.  In gymnastics and diving.  The Chinese seem to do well in these sports, but they don’t win the basketball tournament.  I guess NBA star-stacked teams are a clear advantage. 

That’s something else I don’t particularly like.  The Olympics should be for amateurs.  I understand that countries like China and North Korea would then have professional athletes who are allowed to compete.  That’s okay by me.  They can have all the diving and gymnastics medals they want.  And, since they start training their athletes at age 2, they have two or three chances to compete.  We can keep kicking the crap out of them on the basketball court. 

One thing that sticks in my craw is that we don’t win the gold in baseball.  WE INVENTED BASEBALL!!  Of course, that’s because our amateurs aren’t as good as everybody else’s amateurs.  Since our MLB players won’t take time off to play in the Olympics, I’ll have to stomach watching Japan and Puerto Rico get the medals.  Hey, MLB, hows about during Olympic years, you start the season one week earlier and end it one week later so we can get some of that bling?  Oh, that’s right.  Millions of dollars.  I forgot.  I guess that’s the price of national pride. 

So, I recommend you all watch the Olympics.  I won’t be, but we should still be proud.  I am, I just can’t watch curling.  I will play it on the Wii, though.  It’s fun.


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