The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of Defeat


The 2010 winter Olympics are over.  Interesting but, to me, not as earth-shattering as they were to some people.  Let us remember we are talking about games.  Fun to watch, even thrilling sometimes, these rites of national competition are a tad over-valued.  So what do I do to bring life and people back into reality?  Yup.  I make fun and offer ridicule.

The events are getting more and more dangerous as the athletes pursue newer and better world records.  Additionally, new “sports” are being introduced and given a lot of attention, such as curling.  This is what I thought curling was:

Silly me.  What the curling event at the Olympics was were games that resemble shuffleboard.  However, curling takes place on the ice, uses a heavy granite stone aimed at a victorious circle and made to travel that path by two athletes “sweeping” the ice right in front of the stone.  I have been told that this sweeping action is quite strenuous.  Hard work no doubt, but worthy of Olympic competition?  Really now.   How come the housewives of forever were never offered a medal for their sweeping?  I know I deserve the gold for my vacuuming.

Then there is the biathlon, a combination of cross-country skiing and riflery.  While the athlete’s heart pounds during the skiing part, he has to calm his heart during the interspersed rifle exercises so his aim will be accurate.  Have a look.  Granted, this is my own sick look at this event.  Gotta love it:

Finally, as if there wasn’t enough danger involved in some of the winter sports events, the IOC had to inject some introductory events with even more chills and thrills.  Take for instance the ski cross, during which the athletes speed down the mountain and jump over walls as if they were thoroughbred horses, sailing through the air like kites.  Only one thing I forgot to tell you: four athletes race at a time on a rather narrow course.  As if the speed and course design of the event wasn’t dangerous enough, they had to add insult to injury by making each run have four contenders.  One skier going 70 miles per hour, jumping into midair, just didn’t seem to satisfy the thrill-seekers, athletes and audience alike.  So they made each group consist of four daredevils, instead of just one at a time.  Some observers call this event electrifying.  I call it idiocy.

Another significant characteristic of the Olympics is the nationalism that the games inspire.  Sure, sure: games are a whole lot better than wars.  But in my mind, they are both over the top.  After having watched the hockey game for the gold between the U.S. and Canada yesterday, the nationalism nonsense almost made me ill.  Team Canada played a better game and deserved the win.  The bottom line was that it was just a really good game, regardless of the home turf of the two teams.  However, many Americans were bitter and plain sore losers after the match.  I was thrilled for the Canucks and besides, I got to hear one of my most favorite songs, “O Canada”:

Regarding this overstated nationalism focus at the Olympics, Canada has been the butt of many jokes because they were the hosts.  Anything worth acknowledging is certainly worth ridiculing:

And who better than the overly emotive William Shatner, a Canadian, to take the joke one step further:

Finally, I would beg, borrow and steal to see the Olympics find a permanent geographical home.  I understand that we must spread the wealth, i.e. allow different countries to host the games because of the economic windfalls that accompany the games.  What a waste of global resources.  All that duplication of event sites is ridiculous.  Furthermore, almost every city that has hosted the games find themselves to be the recipients of huge debt, not financial windfalls.  In Canada alone, over the last 35 years (1976 in Montreal, 1988 in Calgary and 2010 in Vancouver), they have had three Olympics.  What?  They had to have three different sites?  They couldn’t have used Montreal or Calgary over again?  Along with the upped ante of the danger of the sports, the environmental duplication and waste is not admirable.

So the games are over.  But the fun lives on.



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