Olympics Recap Part 1: Some final random thoughts

Men’s Ice Hockey

I really really wanted to get excited about this USA ice hockey team thing. And I know NBC and ESPN wanted me to be really really excited (if I had seen one more “miracle on ice” clip I think I would have thrown out all my ice cubes and swear off any ice). But. This isn’t Olympics hockey anymore. This is NHL exhibition. Sorry. Just don’t think this is what the Olympics were created for. This is why we have the NHL.

Women’s Ice Hockey

Ok. I admit. Up until the gold medal game I bet I hadn’t seen more than 5 minutes total of women’s ice hockey. So the game and award ceremony was pretty enlightening.

First. The Canadian women are good. Really good. They skated circles around the USA women and should have scored at least three more goals on top of the two they got.

Second. I admit I also don’t watch many of the actual award ceremonies. But I got hooked watching this one (no. not because it was women.) So. Finland who took the bronze. Every single one of them looked so frickin’ happy and proud it reminds you that winning a bronze at the Olympics is really really special. There is this kind of lightly dazed look on some faces as they look down at that Olympics medal hanging around their neck. I think we forget in all the “who is winning the Gold” discussion how special the entire event is for each of the athletes and going home with a medal, any medal, represents a feat that 99.99% of the world will never truly understand.

Third. This is what the Olympics should be about. As they panned the faces these were girls, okay, young women. They were mostly not professional hockey players (I think there is pro women’s hockey in Europe). Regardless. Lots of young faces beaming with pride, some sadness with the losing team and that kind of young disbelief of “is this is truly happening to me.” Awesome. They should bottle this up.

Celebration controversy

Ok. I will ‘fess up here at the onset in the interest of full disclosure. This lil write up is coming from a guy who celebrated the completion of finals in his junior year of high school by going to happy hour at Hannibal’s in downtown Burlington with a bunch of friends for 5 for a dollar drafts. I was 16 (but I turned 17 in July). That said. C’mon. So the Canadian women drank some beer and champagne and smoked some stogies. And you don’t think the USA women didn’t? or the Swedish cross country team … or … well … any team.

So. How wild would you celebrate? Let me put winning (or getting a medal) in perspective.

There are 6,800,000,000 people in the world.

Ok. Only 82 countries send athletes to the Winter Olympics so let’s say for argument sake that represents 86% of total world population.

So that makes the Olympics countries represent 5,848,000,000 in population.

Approximately 2,600 athletes attend and participate.

That represents .0000004 % of population.

A pretty small and special group.

Then there are 86 events in seven sports at this Winter Olympics.

Let’s call it 258 medals. Maybe 10% of athletes participating win a medal.

So. 10% of .0000004% of total world population receives a medal.

Go fucking celebrate. Get shitfaced if you want.

The fact you won a medal puts you in such a special minority I think we can safely say you deserve a cocktail if you want one.

Cacophony at Curling

Yelling. Lots of yelling. I am unclear whether they yell at each other, the competition or the stone (who seems relatively indifferent to everything). If I had a gold medal on the line and I am sweeping crap out of the way of the stone and someone in a shrill voice is screaming at me I would be quite tempted to shove the broom up their ass. Ok. maybe I would pull them off to the side and say “hey, listen, there are maybe 75 people in this whole frickin’ stadium and they probably got the tickets for free and don’t really care what is going on so I think I could hear what you have to tell me without screaming, ok?”

Next. The announcers.

“How exciting, they have two stones in the house!” (and this is women curling just to be clear).

“Time to skip stones” (and the water is frozen)

“This is double peel territory” (and I think the kitchen is in another section of the building)

And they say all these things not only without laughing but also with true enthusiasm. Awesome. They don’t get paid enough.

Speed Skating

So. Finally they do something in this speed skating thing that I not only understand but also kind of enjoyed watching. This team race thing. And I give huge props to the German team who utilized a baseball tactic to win one race. Coming down to the finish the third (the slowest) gal on the team dives for first base to beat the throw … and wins. Awesome. You would think staying on the skates would be faster but she pulled a Pete Rose (without the gambling) and squeaked out a win for the Germans.

Germany's Anna Friesinger-Postma reacts after sliding across the finish line during the women's team pursuit semifinals against the USA at the Richmond Olympic Oval at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) (Matt Dunham - AP)

And then there was the coaching error that caused maybe one of the biggest dudes in the entre Olympics a gold medal. Hagar the Horrible from the Netherlands was really really pissed when he won but didn’t win.

Team Netherlands' Sven Kramer, left, reacts as he talks to his coach Gerard Kemkers, right, after loosing to team USA during the men's team pursuit semi finals speed skating race at the Richmond Olympic Oval at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Friday, Feb. 26, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) (Matt Dunham - AP)

All because his coach told him to do something (once again the whole lane thing kinda confuses me) that
he shouldn’t have done. Some reporters took Hagar to task for how he responded after realizing he was disqualified. Ok. Look. The dude didn’t lose he was DQ’ed (and no that doesn’t mean he got a free blizzard at Dairy Queen). They could have penalized him seconds, minutes, a lap, whatever and he would still have crushed all the others. But no. No gold. Shit. No medal. No sponsor money (oops. that’s right. that doesn’t matter). Thank god these Netherlanders are passive and high on pot all the time or he may have gone really ballistic. Could you imagine if it had been a Russian (notice I am not picking on some American here)? Yikes. Igor would have obliterated the coach before our eyes. Give Hagar a break. I would have been pissed too.

Written by Bruce