1. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,681
    Likes Received:
    2,533
    Location:
    Queens, NY

    As the Flame Went Out...

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by EdFromNY, Feb 24, 2014.

    I was surprised to find a complete dearth of discussion on these boards of the Winter Olympics. Maybe it's here somewhere and I missed it.

    I, personally, followed a rather twisted trail in these Games. I was initially looking forward to them, but the run-up that included endless talk of terrorism, intolerance in Russia (and what to do about it) and a figure-skating kerfuffle here in the US, all but wiped out my enthusiasm. I avoided the Opening Ceremonies, as I always do, because, well, they just don't interest me and besides, the network (in this case, NBC) always uses the occasion to 1) hype events and 2) dump endless ads on me.

    But by the first day of events, I was ready. My internal Olympic Clock said that it was time for the Downhill, my favorite of all alpine ski events. But the timetable has been changed and we began with a "team skating event". The flacks told me this was a good thing, but to bunch a group of individual events together and call them a "team event" doesn't do much for me. I know it has NOTHING to do with the fact that the identified demographic for figure skating is the very one the networks target with the Olympics, so I won't mention it again. Besides, my wife is a member in good standing of said demographic, so we watched.

    I learned whatever I know about figure skating from the commentary of Dick Button, who may have been overly emotional and a bit of a motormouth but who also knew his stuff and explained the technical side of the sport very well. So, the emotion and the flood of verbiage sort of comes with the territory. That said, the team of Tara Lipinsky and Johnny Weir may have been the single worst announcers of any event I have ever heard (including John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman). And, no, it has nothing to do with Weir's incessant attempts to win a Carmen Miranda dress-alike contest (an obvious thumb-in-the-eye at the Russians); quite simply, they never shut up. And almost nothing was of any value, as they confined themselves almost exclusively to either "I like..." or "I hate..." comments or trivia (and not in a good way). The only comment of value that Lipinsky made was the night of the Ladies Finals, when she said of Ashley Wagner, "there were a lot of small mistakes there that fans won't catch but the judges will, and it's going to cost her." And it did.

    Early on in the Games, I discovered real-time broadcasts on alternate channels (owned by NBC), which were event-specific. This saved me. It eliminated most of the studio garbage and had the added benefit (being 9 hours behind) of allowing me to record and fast forward anything I didn't like. The downside was that I was often bleary-eyed when scheduling the next day's recordings (which explains how I missed the figure skating gala near the end; got biathlon instead). But, still, I got plenty of speed skating, alpine skiing, snowboarding (I don't care for the dipsy-doodle events, but the races are fun to watch, especially snowboard-cross), bobsledding and hockey.

    A lot of my attitudes about sports have changed over the years. I remember my grandfather saying that all he ever wanted to see was a really good contest, he didn't care who won. In fact, he would insist that he preferred a game in which his team lost but the score was close to a blowout. I'm getting that way, myself. I stopped watching NHL hockey after three NHL players died - including 2 suicides - in one off-season and the NHL refused to address the issue of fighting (in fact, the use of so-called staged fights made it worse), so Olympic hockey is all I get every four years. Naturally, I wanted the US to do well and I was disappointed when they lost to Canada in the semifinals. But when they came out against Finland in the bronze medal game, looking like they really wanted to be someplace else, and got outworked by the hustling Finns, I was just as glad to see the Finns take the bronze. An athlete shouldn't get a free pass just because he's wearing my country's colors.

    Which brings me to the Great Figure Skating Controversy. In the Ladies' finals, Carolina Kostner brought me close to tears (partly because she skated to Ravel's Bolero, partly because she is at the end of her international career and partly because she skated an incredibly beautiful program that even the Talking Heads shut their gobs to watch). Adelina Sotnikova took my breath away. Me, I'd have given the gold to Kostner, but the new scoring criteria really do give the advantage to the most athletic skater (those of us who remember the debate about Sarah Hughes vs. Oksana Baiul can savor the irony) and, besides, if you watch this sport for the medals, you've already missed the point. Still, conspiracy theories abound, despite the fact that the new system provides that 9 judges score the event but 4 of them are randomly discarded, so good luck finding any evidence of a conspiracy.

    I only watch the closing ceremonies until the athletes have marched in, because I always like seeing them relaxed and, in some cases, socializing with athletes from the other countries. That didn't seem to happen much this time, but then NBC didn't really show much. They did, however, show Steve Holcomb and his crew, fresh from their bronze medal finish in the 4-man bobsled. They were wearing their medals and brandished them proudly for the cameras. They had come to Sochi hoping to repeat as gold medalists, but Holcomb wasn't quite up to the challenge, with mistakes in each of the four heats. But he looked like he realized that the metal in the medal wasn't what mattered, and I was genuinely happy for him.
     
    jazzabel likes this.
  2. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
    Offline

    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2,319
    Likes Received:
    743
    Location:
    Music Room #3
    I watched absolutely none of it, so thanks for the recap! :D
     
    Andrae Smith likes this.
  3. JJ_Maxx
    Offline

    JJ_Maxx Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    3,339
    Likes Received:
    501
    I like what Daniel Tosh says about the winter olympics...

    "The winter olympics are pointless. I assume the only reason we have them is so white people feel relevant in sports."
     
    Wreybies and Duchess-Yukine-Suoh like this.
  4. Garball
    Offline

    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Messages:
    2,846
    Likes Received:
    1,331
    Location:
    S'port, LA
    I thought the Russians who skated to Swan Lake were amazing and looked better than the Americans or Canadians. I didn't see any of the short performances and I'm not sure of the judging....

    No, you cannot have my Man Card
     
    EdFromNY likes this.
  5. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,681
    Likes Received:
    2,533
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Always happy to be of service, dear Duchess.

    @JJ_Maxx - tell that to the Jamaican and Brazilian bobsled teams. :)
     
  6. Oswiecenie
    Offline

    Oswiecenie Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Hy-Brazil
    Kamil Stoch became my new hero. Well done!
     
  7. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,722
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I'm from Canada. I like the winter Olympics. I especially like them when Canadians take the men's and women's hockey gold (yay!) and the men's and women's curling gold (yay!). Big happies over here! :)
     
    jazzabel and Andrae Smith like this.
  8. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    I adore figure skating, and always watch it in the Olympics, although I also love ski jumping (yay for women jumpers this year), slalom and snowboarding. I thought Carolina Kostner deserved a bronze, but gold should've gone to Kim Yu-na, she was definitely robbed of the first place. I can't even find a good youtube video of that skate, here's a conspiracy methinks :D

    @minstrel: in the UK we refer to curling as 'housework on ice' :D
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
  9. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,681
    Likes Received:
    2,533
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    I'm sorry, but this is one event I don't get. Somebody hurls a teapot down the ice and busy little bees frantically sweep away ice fragments, and that's a sport?? What's next, pinochle?
     
    minstrel and jazzabel like this.
  10. KaTrian
    Offline

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    5,564
    Likes Received:
    3,561
    Location:
    The Great Swamp
    It's a tricky game. You have to time it perfectly. If you sweep too much, it will go too far, if you don't sweep enough, the teapot will stop short. You get quite a burn in your arms from all that sweeping. Also, imagine how much you have to stretch your groin to get that first hurl of the teapot done!

    Hell, I don't know, I was just trying to explain it to myself. I did go curling once in high school and it was pretty boring.

    Finland brought home five medals, wow. That's just... pathetic, and I can't go like 'well, we're a small country, only 5 million people, so that's pretty good' 'cause Norway won 26 medals and there's only 5 million people in Norway too. Good thing they suck at ice hockey, at least.

    Yeah, except Sweden, of course, kicked our assses once again in men's ice hockey. It's like... "Oh, maybe this time, this time we'll show them!" And then we lose. Again.

    Thanks, Canada, for crushing them in the men's ice hockey finals, though. And I guess it makes us feel a bit better that at least one player was all doped up, so we can tell ourselves 'that's why we lost' and hope is rekindled again.
     
    Agreen and minstrel like this.
  11. Agreen
    Offline

    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,143
    Likes Received:
    67
    Location:
    Canada
    ^ Going into the Olympics Finland was the country I was most worried about in men's hockey due to their goaltending. It's too bad Rask missed the semi-final, they would have given Canada a better challenge in the final. Their preliminary round matchup was Canada's toughest game of the tournament.

    I consider these Olympics a complete success as Canada won both men's and women's hockey. The men's team couldn't have been any better- they had some close games in terms of score, but their possession numbers were mind boggling, overall they gave a much stronger showing than even the 2010 team. The women's final was the greatest game of women's hockey I've ever seen. It was a little bit like the 2010 men's final, but somehow even more dramatic. For all the constant worrying, Canadian hockey is as strong as it's ever been.
     
    KaTrian likes this.
  12. Robert_S
    Offline

    Robert_S Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    163
    I think the highlight of what I saw was Kate Hansen dancing as warm-up. It was cute.
     

Share This Page