Winter Olympics Preview

On this Valentine’s weekend, let me start with this: my wife is a wonderful woman who puts up with far more than Gandhi could have without taking out a kindergarten with a semi-automatic. However, there are a few drawbacks to being married to her. And one of the most painful is that every two years, I’m required to sit through the two-week waste of time known as the Olympics. As I was (not-so) silently seething while watching the Opening Ceremonies last night, I had glimpses of the future. I thought I’d share them, so you don’t have to miss your CSIs this week.

1) People will pretend that figure skating is a real sport, and whoever wins will be “inspiring”, “elegant” and either “spunky” or “gritty” – This points out one of my biggest problems with the Olympics…it’s sports for people who don’t like sports. Now, I can completely understand not liking sports – there are plenty of times I wished I didn’t like them either. They’re overall a pretty stupid waste of time and money. But given that I love them like Jason Patric loved heroin in “Rush”, don’t insult me by pretending you do too. If you didn’t know the name of an athlete in January and won’t remember it in March, they’re not your “favorite”. If you only watch a sport every four years, you don’t “love” it. Every Olympics, most of the U.S. turns into the annoying girlfriend who wears the Super-Bowl-winning jersey to work the next day and talks about how “we” won because her boyfriend roots for them.

2) The Opening Ceremonies will be the worst four hours of television you’ve ever seen – OK, this one is cheating, because it already happened. But Holy Motherfucking Christ. I understand that you need some sort of ceremony to start this thing off, and to gather all the athletes in one place, and light the stupid torch. But why, oh why, does there need to be an “artistic program”? Why is a requirement during an international sporting competition a half-assed version of Cirque du Soliel? What does it say for our society that Hitler did a better job over 60 years ago with the Opening Ceremonies than Canada does today? Unfortunately, I can’t show it, because NBC holds onto Olympic footage like it’s the only valuable thing they own (oh, wait). Things you missed: A Tribute to Canadian Prairies, featuring a teenage ballet dancer flying above the crowd to the most ear-curdling version of “Both Sides Now” you’ve ever heard; A fat slam poet who may have been the lead singer of the Barenaked Ladies defining Canada in spit-flecked verse; Bryan Adams and Nelly Furtado performing a wonderful, heart-lifting song with some of the best lyrics ever written:

Bang the Drum a little louder
So the whole world can hear
the whole world can hear
Sing the song a little longer
So the whole world can hear
the whole world can hear

3) Every American athlete who wins a medal will be a combination of Audie Murphy and the firefighters from 9/11. It’s really pretty amazing…it’s not that the U.S. team does well because we have a huge population, tons of money and cutting edge training techniques. It’s because somehow the USOC is able to find only citizens of pure heart and warrior spirit…I picture their techniques to be a more corporate version of the search for the Dalai Lama.

4) Lindsey Vonn will win at least one gold medal, and Matt Lauer might weep. For those of you who only watch the Olympics, sportscasters love nothing more than making every injury seem life-threatening…she has a bruised shin. Given that a gold medal will mean millions of dollars, she’ll take a cortisone shot and suck it up.

5) Bode Miller will also win at least one medal and we’ll be deluged with stories about how he turned his life around by no longer smoking pot.

6) U.S. commentators will not pass up any opportunity to patronize Canada. I lost count after 10, but Bob Costas sure did like to point out that Canada “only” has 33 million people. Did you know they are super-nice up there? In NBC’s world, every Canadian is an harmless pixie who just loves his hockey and non-descript musicians like the Tragically Hip or Sarah McLaughlin. In fairness, this is pretty much true.

7) Canada’s men’s hockey team will not win the gold medal, and it will be fun to laugh at crying Canadians. But you’ll also want to take the whole adorable country out for an ice cream cone.

8) The Russians will execute a plot to kill a Georgian athlete and make it look like an accident. OK, that’s cheating too.

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Filed under David Simon Cowell, Sports Has AIDS

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