Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Miscellaneous Olympic Musings

You'll notice that very rarely in the past twelve days have I commented on political issues in America. There's an obvious reason for this; I've been so obsessed with the Winter Olympics, as I reliably am on a quadrennial basis, I've been commenting on the Games almost exclusively, so I don't have much time for much else . . . though that could change as the CEO of Toyota prepares to testify before a U.S. congressional committee today and the ballyhooed "health care summit" is held in Washington tomorrow.
It's sort of an Olympic truce I've been following, you might say.
In the meantime, the Winter Olympics. Bode Miller hoped to get another medal, this one in the men's giant slalom, but this time he didn't finish the race. It wasn't a case of being unprepared or ill-prepared; he simply missed a gate and went off course, a mistake that could have happened to any skier.
In women's figure skating . . . Canada's Joannie Rochette somehow managed to put on a flawless performance in the short program last night two days after her mother died of an apparent heart attack. She should get a medal just for competing so well under personal pressure. :-) She is currently in third place.
Meanwhile, it seems ironic that, even as Americans advance in ice dancing, they could be shut out of medals in women's figure skating for the first time since 1964. (No one in America noticed the shut-out at the time, apparently because of Beatlemania. :-D) Americans Rachael Flatt and Miari Nagasu are respectively in fifth in sixth place, and the real favorites for the gold are South Korean Kim Yu-Na and Japan's Mao Asada.
It's been said that the that the American female figure skaters who won the Olympic gold medal (roll call, please: Carol Heiss, Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, Kristi Yamaguchi, Tara Lipinski, and Sarah Hughes) are the most exclusive women's club in America. Michelle Kwan, alas, isn't on that list for reasons that boil down to nearsighted judges in Nagano, but her silver medal from those Games put her in good company with the likes of Linda Fratianne and Rosalynn Sumners. This year, an American woman might not even get as far as bronze. :-(
Even so, the United States is gaining in winter sports that it had been uncompetitive in for decades; they just won the silver medal in the men's team Nordic combined skiing event. Americans remain also-rans, though, in the biathlon, even though it involves rifles. You'd think that, with the gun culture in the American heartland and the NRA rolls overflowing in snowy states like Michigan, we'd excel in that event. There's only one thing to do to insure more competitiveness in the biathlon . . ..
Put rednecks on skis! :-D

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