My Olympics Diary, Part I


The Canadian Winter Olympics have been on for a week now, and as always, our collective bosoms swell with patriotic pride as we once again must ask the question: “They preempted ‘The Price is Right’ for this?”  Or, as they say in French Canada, “Quel fromage?”

As always, the Olympics started off with a Busby-Berkeley-like opening ceremony featuring singing and dancing and poetry and special effects and floating children and, as an apology for centuries of abuse, a dignified procession of indigenous native people who would probably much rather have been given a casino. Since this was Canada, we were subjected to less nationalistic bloviating than might have occurred in Russia or the US, but on the other hand we were under constant threat of being forced to listen to Celine Dion singing “My Heart Will Go On.”

Johnny Weir

American figure skater Johnny Weir. (Ladies - he's still single!)

NBC’s coverage of the Olympics has been fairly okay, it must be said. Showing rare sensitivity, NBC chose to stop showing footage of the Georgian Luger’s tragic pre-game death after a mere 657 broadcasts.  And when the sports are immensely tedious – cross-country skiing, anybody? – one can always amuse oneself by speculating how much of Bob Costa’s face he can still move after that many Botox injections.

As for the sports themselves, well, as usual they consist of lycra-clad lunatics in spaceman helmets going at desperately dangerous speeds down icy concrete chutes or frozen hills or flying through the air with sharp metal implements strapped to their feet, on purpose. This remains both terrifying and highly entertaining, with the ever-present chance of seeing somebody wipe out in a spectacular fashion to add a certain ghoulish zing to the contests. To be fair to my fellow billion or so fellow viewers, most of us really don’t want to see anybody die –  but like NASCAR fans we very much enjoy seeing people walk away from spectacularly bad wipeouts. (Especially if they’re foreigners.)

American half-piper Shaun White wins the Gold Medal despite being being forced by his enemies to wear plaid clothing three sizes too big for him.

Meanwhile the figure skaters zoom around the rink, jumping up and down in time to recorded music, their victory or defeat determined by a bogus scoring system designed to limit the amount of damage that the corrupt French judges can do, but unfortunately at the cost of sucking pretty much all of the artistry out of the performances.  I think lovable and curmudgeonly commentator Dick Buttons spoke for all of us when he said, “What the hell is Johnny Weir wearing, anyway? Is that a bustier, for Chrissakes?” (Weir is a brilliant and flamboyant American skater who singlehandedly sets the US gay rights movement back five to ten years every time he performs.)

There’s plenty more to talk about at this wonderful happening. For example, all of the Canadians’ soul-searching about actually wanting to win a lot of medals, which apparently goes against their national character. Or why somebody dressed the US mogul team in fat man pajamas and the hip and happening half-pipers in plaid, for heaven’s sake. And why the US men’s curling team is dead to me. (They know what they’ve done!) But it will have to wait. Ice dancing is just starting and I’m out of liquor.

I’ll keep you posted.

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5 Responses to “My Olympics Diary, Part I”

  1. Sue Says:

    I’ll take the baggy plaid over the pink glittery spandex and fur any day!

  2. Oh, Canada Says:

    It turns out that the nation of Canada won’t have to worry if it is becoming too full of itself by winning too many medals. On the other hand, I looked on the website of Simon Fraser University, which is in distant Vancouver (i.e., not near downtown), and it said that the university was closed for two weeks due to “Olympic holiday.”

    • Paul Murphy Says:

      But aren’t we ALL Olympics winners? Particularly the students at Simon Fraser U, of course, but really, the whole wide world!

  3. Oh, Canada Says:

    OK, the Canadians pulled themselves up by their socks, though not enough to win the total medal count. But I think what the real fan of the Olympics is concerned about is the “Part I” in the title of this blog. It’s a little like hearing the fifth shot from a revolver and wondering when the sixth shot is going to come. Or, possibly it’s like not having the hammer in curling and leaving two stones in the house with a distant guard and no draw. Or perhaps not.

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