Friday, February 12, 2010

Oh, Hey. The Olympics.

Apparently none of you seem to be noticing that the Games of the XXI Winter Olympiad open tonight in Vancouver, British Columbia. Now, I know most of you probably prefer the summer games and you might be wondering why, exactly, Apolo Anton Ohno, Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn are suddenly worth knowing about for the first time in four years. Also, you may have forgotten who Sarah Hughes, Bonnie Blair or Jamie Sale and David Pelletier are.

That's fine. But for people like me, well, I love the Olympics. I don't always remember whom all the different stars are, or the defending gold medalists in the vast majority of the competitions, but I love watching all the sports I don't get a chance to see on a regular basis in the U.S. Also, these people are just unbelievably phenomenal athletes.

I enjoy the downhill skiing, and the figure skating, though curling and short track speed skating are really what I get excited about seeing. And if you've never seen the short track speed skating relay before, well, it's like a chaotic ballet on ice.

Oh yeah. And there's hockey.

And by "hockey" I mean, the single greatest hockey tournament in the world. This means you won't be seeing any of these for two weeks, however. With the use of NHL players and no Soviet Union to hate, we'll never be able to see a feat quite like the Miracle on Ice again -- though the 30th anniversary of the greatest upset in sports history is later this month -- but this tournament should be awfully exciting, if for no other reason than Canada, a heavy gold-medal favorite, is hosting the Games. And take it from me since I've had an awful lot of interaction with Canadians in the last two years. Canadians love hockey.

Like they really love it.

Imagine how much you all love your families, significant others and chocolate. Multiply that by about 1,000 and you might get close to how much Canadians love hockey. It's that big up there, and should the home country fail to take home the ultimate prize, well, it won't be pretty north of the border.

And if you doubt the power of the Olympics, or the Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx, or perhaps both, look no further than last week's cover with Lindsey Vonn, who was dubbed "America's Best Woman Skier Ever" only to suffer a major shin injury this week, which may prevent he from competing in a Games where she was expected to take multiple golds. It should be noted, however, that Canadians received a cover with Sidney Crosby on it. If they can't bring home hockey gold, I think they'll know who to blame.

Of course, I'm sure most of you have been paying attention to that other Sports Illustrated that just arrived. I have to be honest, I generally find the swimsuit issue to be kind of silly. Don't get me wrong. If this is the closest I'll ever come to having Brooklyn Decker in my apartment, I'll take it, but the novelty seems to have worn off for me, particularly since the internet doesn't make it difficult to find scantily clad women these days. In fact, in college whenever I would leave the issue out on my desk, the girls who came into my room seemed far more fascinated than the men.

The part I generally find most enjoyable about the issue is when Sports Illustrated prints all the irritated letters it receives in the week after its release. Do these people not know Sports Illustrated sells this? Do they not see the large section of the Letters page for the previous two months telling you who to contact if you don't want to receive the swimsuit issue?

Apparently not.

In other news, before I sign off today, I want to touch on the unfortunate passing of Fred Morrison, the man single-handedly responsible for thousands of hours of entertainment during my college years and beyond. Now, he was elderly, so it's not too surprising the end came, but the man did invent the frisbee. I'm not sure where I'd be without him.

Lastly, on a lighter note -- or more depressing depending on where you're coming from -- New York Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez was outdueled in a softball game by Venezuelan President/Insane Dictator Hugo Chavez. Yeah, you read that right. Chavez was no Eddie Feigner, giving up seven runs in two innings, but K-Rod, the man expected to shut down games for the Amazins this year gave up 11 runs over three innings.

That bodes well. And to think, I was excited that pitchers and catchers report in just eight days. Of course, given that Chavez's team won, naturally, I'm inclined to think the whole outing wasn't exactly on the level. Either way, I think I'm glad the headaches don't begin for six more weeks.


  1. I'm surprised that you didn't mention Figure Skating, which definitely ranks among my top 5 favorite sports, "Winter" or otherwise.

  2. Sarah Hughes, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier are all figure skaters. I mentioned implicitly if not explicitly.

  3. I'm pretty sure you left out the picture of Chavez talking to K-Rod. He was quietly telling K-Rod, "You will be shot by the firing squad in my dugout if you don't allow more runs than I did."

  4. Well you mentioning them is well and good, but I'm a bit more interested in/excited for the people who are actually competing this year...though you do get kudos for offhandedly mentioning the sport. PROPS.