The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
I like the Olympics. I think winning an Olympic medal is probably better than winning any sort of championship in any other sport, if only because how world wide the recognition is. With the 2002 Winter Olympics just ending, I guess now is a good time to look back, before the memories fade away, replaced by March Madness and Sammy Sosa. There are a lot of things that stood out about these games, which were the most successful in United States history. The large number of medals by the U.S. is great, but come on, we loaded up the games with some X Game sports and just flat out swept those. If snowboarding is in the Winter Olympics, I see no reason skateboarding cannot be in the Summer Games. There were some great hockey games, and I enjoyed Johnny Mosely and the "dinner roll," but there were a few things that stood out more than the others.
I guess it's better to get the bad news out of the way first. The decision to award an extra set of gold medals to the Canadian figure skating team of David Pelletier and Jamie Sale was just plain wrong and goes against everything in the world of sports.
OK, I admit I did not watch this event, but it was the biggest news story of the past two weeks.
Did the Canadians get the screw job? Yes, it appears they did. Does that mean you should go back and declare them a winner after the event is over? NO! Absolutely, positively no. Getting hosed by the officials is just part of sport. Every person that has ever played on a team or even just rooted a team on has a story about being screwed over. That's life; sometimes it just does not work out for you.
This story, flash-fueled by NBC, desperate for some sort of huge news story, forced the IOC to reconsider how they judge figure skating. That's fine; that is probably something that should be looked into. The pressure by outside forces, and I hate to sound like some sort of nut on Fox News, but the media really are to blame for a lot of this, forced the IOC to give them gold medals.
That is just plain wrong, and if the two skaters were any sort of competitors at all, they would have refused. All this did was open the floodgates for every other losing country to protest every decision they did not agree with, and you know what, they were right. They handle these things better in the WWF. At least Vince McMahon would have forced a no holds barred skate off or something. Whatever logic was used to come up with this action, could probably be applied to almost every protest that was filed afterward, but it didn't matter.
NBC had their story, the cycle was over, and it was time to move on to the next big thing. This was the single most terrible decision in sports since they decided to install Astroturf.
The highlight of the games had to be the short track speed skating. I know there are some people out there who love curling, but if you did not get to watch any of the short track speed skating, you really missed out. This has got to be the coolest sport in the Winter Olympics. Five guys skating on this short track, making tight turns, and there's always a pretty good chance they will all wipe out and the dude in last place will win.
The only thing better was when they had the relays. Mass confusion. There would be almost ten guys on the ice at a time. If someone out there is not looking into starting up some sort of short track league, they need to start right now. If those figure skaters can tour the country doing that Ice Capade crap, then these guys can do some sort of short track tour. This event is everything the movie Rollerball wanted to be, and with better acting. Yes, I am looking at you Chris Klein. The star of our show was American Apolo Anton Ohno. This guy comes out and gets totally screwed out of a gold medal, by some dude triggering a big wipeout, and he didn't bitch and moan about it like two Canadian people I could name. He showed some class, and was happy to win a silver. And you know what happened, karma came right back and gave him a gold two days later.
I am ashamed to admit I watched the final in women's figure skating on Wednesday night. In my defense, it was not my choice. I was on a date of sorts and my date wanted to watch. At least I was not able to provide detailed info like my roommate No Chance, who apparently had been watching the skating for some time. "This next girl," he informed us, "was having a lot of trouble in warm ups; they don't think she is going to do well." UhhhhhOK. I was simply hoping Michelle Kwan won. I like her because she is hot. That is really my only criteria. I like to see the hot chicks win. Unfortunately, the hot chick fell on her ass and some 16-year-old from Long Island won. I did not like her, even though she was American. For some reason she got on my nerves. I actually felt bad for Michelle Kwan though, if you need to talk baby, my number is in the book.
There were a ton of other things about the Olympics that were great. Third generation Winter Olympian Jimmy Shea winning the skeleton and then pulling out the mass card from his grandfather's funeral, everytime they showed that I thought I was going to cry. The USA Hockey coach smack talking Germany's hockey strategy, "Maybe that is why they lost World War II." That is great, we need more smack talking between countries. Especially towards France. Who likes France? Nobody.
So, two more years until NBC and their plausibly live coverage kick off the Summer Games. Two more years before I can root on my team, the USA.
In the meantime, I guess there is nothing to do but sit and wait for the bad karma to catch those Canadians and maybe try to get a short track league going in my neighborhood.
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