Monday, November 05, 2007

The Olympics

Here's something from the wayback machine.

This was originally written in February of last year, when the Winter Olympics started. I put it in my drafts folder and promptly forgot about it--for over a year and a half. Today, though, I found it, so here's a very timely comment on the Winter Olympics in Turin.

Rollerbladers in red body stockings who hurtled down ramps onto a white stage, the backs of their heads shooting two-foot bursts of fire.

In a tribute to the seven countries abutting the majestic Alps _ including Austria, Germany and France _ dancers wearing green sheaths pranced near brightly painted fake cows pulled on rollers. It was a homage to mountain life and livestock, and to cheer both, the stadium audience had been supplied with clanging cow bells.

In what executive producer Marco Bacilli described as an "iconic moment," silver-clad dancers appeared with big, white bubbles stuck to their heads. Bacilli, who has staged concert shows for U2 and the Rolling Stones, said the balls signified snow, of which there is none in Turin.

Is there something wrong with me?

I no longer feel the stirrings of American pride when I see skaters in body suits with giant bubbles on their head. I no longer look forward to watching sports that I ignore 206 out of every 208 weeks.

I've lost my Winter Olympics groove.

I used to thrill to watching ninety pound men named Matti fly through the air on skis. Now that thrill is gone. I no longer care about watching men on glorified cafeteria trays slide downhill at ninety miles an hour.

We apparently have a fifty-year old woman in the luge. I assume that's because all other female lugers in the United States are dead. It's a high risk sport, and living gets you a berth on the Olympic team.

The coverage in the U.S. certainly doesn't help. Watching Bob Costas pretend to be a host on "The View" for hours at a time is nothing short of painful. Watching the primary coverage, which is so heavily edited it resembles a reality show more than sport, is also painful. Most painful, though, is spending hours sifting through the eighty different channels of coverage. It takes far longer to find and event than it does to watch it.

Here's a typical Olympics story in a U.S. newspaper:
In Winter Olympics action yesterday, U.S. skier Sammy Salmon finished ninety-seventh in the 30k team ski/luge pursuit, while teammate Johnson McBrittle is missing and presumed dead. Athletes from other countries won medals.

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