Olympic lessons: Vancouver

Just as with the last summer Olympics, I learned some things from Vancouver:

There are not enough sports featuring women and guns.

Curling rules.

So does Canada.

Authority, even when it may have your best interests at heart, should not be followed blindly.

Sometimes, faith in the nation comes from unlikely places.

It is possible, apparently, to stop being a douchebag.

There is a fine line between inspiring feats of skilled daring and just gay.

Colorado is where you want to do dangerous experiments.

Not even really great hockey can keep me awake.

Humor is a dish best served cold.

Athletes are much more interesting when they are athletes, not brands.

Fifty-fifty at ninety is more interesting than margins of 0.1 seconds.

Too few athletes sport that mustache feeling. Even fewer go for the fake mustache. And that is a shame.

Following your dreams is, sometimes, not worth the cost.

It doesn’t need to be pretty to be victory.

Avoiding crashes (mostly) is an Olympic event.

No one took my suggestion, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea.

I have more respect for athletes who risk losing easy medals to try something extraordinary.

Photos from NBC and the official Vancouver site, who gathered them from various sources (mostly Getty, AP and Reuters).

Learning from the Olympics

Here is what I learned from the Olympics that just finished, in no particular order:

If you think you can “smash” another team, keep that fact quiet until the deed is done.

Field hockey is a sport designed to train young girls in skirts to bend over, work sticks, and take occasional balls to the face.

Eight really is a lucky number.

Sixteen looks a whole lot younger than it used to.

All pole-vaulters are hot.

You don’t need media furor and praise to be a champion.

If you are loathed by your competitors, teammates and the audience, winning the gold medal doesn’t make you a champion. It just makes you someone loathed by your competitors, teammates and the audience, who won a gold medal.

NBA players become slightly more tolerable when they shut the hell up.

By the time you read this, those responsible for maintaining the soccer field have probably been liquidated.

Election advertisements are exponentially more irritating when they interrupt the Olympics.

The bronze medal sucks.

You don’t need to be an athlete to be an Olympic hero.

40 is not old.

You learn to hold things when you are six months old. For some people, it doesn’t take.

China knows an awful lot about fireworks.

In 2012, even if there is a 5k race where perfectly healthy people have to limp in a specified way or be disqualified, it still wouldn’t be the most ridiculous “sport” in the events.

Events that award medals entirely based on judging are fun to watch, but aren’t sports and shouldn’t be treated as such.

Photos from NBC, who gathered them from various sources (mostly Getty, AP and Reuters).

Suggestion for Vancouver

After watching the bobsled (with its huge bullet-shaped craft), the luge (and its sled) and the skeleton (and it’s stripped down toboggan), I have a suggestion for a new event for the Vancouver games in 2010. Rather than use these wussy sleds, competitors would wear suits with ice skate blades sewn vertically into the upper chest, stomach and thighs. They would run at full speed down the starting track of a skeleton course, then launch themselves onto their belly and fly head first down the ice, running on the blades sewn into the suits.

Oh, also, in the opening and closing ceremonies, I suggest that Vancouver not inexplicably feature American pop tunes more than three decades old.


Like a lot of people, seeing athletes (of any nation) who seem like they are good people, like “Il Pomodoro Volante” or Frode Estil, win or otherwise excel epitomizes what I like most about the Olympics. What I like even more, however, is seeing asshole American athletes, whose loudmouthed arrogance embarrasses themselves and (more importantly) my country, fail.

Currently topping this latter list is Bode Miller, who I’m hoping wins no medals at all. [Update: Boo-ya.] I realize some respond favorably to his “individualist streak”. I would, too, if I didn’t think it was phony. In an interview on NBC, he gave the impression that he is sick of relentless media coverage of him and would rather be left alone, but that if they were going to cover him, he would use the exposure to push a cause. He pushes this cause not only through the press, but with really bad commercials, probably paid for by sponsors. The reason I think his pose is disingenuous is that he could have named this web site anything at all, but chose to name it after himself. That doesn’t sound much like someone trying to avoid publicity. A better name might, for example, have been one that had something to do with whatever cause he is pushing. Then, at least, I’d know what this cause is. I don’t though, because when I visit his site, I get told:

…joining Bode Miller and experiencing [this] website requires that you install the Flash 8 Player.

I don’t have as much problem with Flash as some people I know, but my experience is that sites that require it, providing no alternative for those who don’t have it, usually favor style over substance. While Mr. Miller may have enough substance (at least, if you consider athletic ability substantive) to back up his arrogance for this Olympics, when he’s no longer able to go real fast down a mountain on two pieces of fiberglass, I’m guessing he won’t find many willing to join him. I predict an early, lonely, and probably alcoholic, death. Of course, by then, some other obnoxious king of the slopes will probably have replaced him in giving the rest of the world one more reason to hate America.