Hump Day Report: Olympics
Rants and raves about burning topics that have caught my attention midweek, be it greedy corporate shenanigans, frustration or joy in regards to the Philly sports teams, a movie, show or DVD that has fired up my imagination, an intriguing personality, or my on-going battle to lose weight in our fast food world. — Lori Hoffman, Associate Editor, Atlantic City Weekly
The Winter Olympics are in full swing, but except for the Canadians who are hosting the event, and the family and friends who have a vested interest in the Games, it doesn’t feel like the world is all that thrilled about the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Of course an athletic competition doesn’t exactly get off on the right foot when a 21-year-old competitor dies in a practice run on the luge. That young man, Nodar Kumaritashvili from the country of Georgia, lost control of his luge and hit a metal post. The official investigation concluded that he died from making a mistake. Some of the best lugers in the world also crashed during practice runs, a dozen or so crashes prior to Kumaritashvili’s fatal run. The Olympic Committee did the right thing, shortening the course, and building a protective barrier, but I like what the president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, said: “No sports mistake is supposed to lead to a death.”
Even before the X-Games sports like snowboarding and snowcross were added to the Games, the Winter Olympics have always seemed more dangerous. One of the most famous crashes of all time took place on March 21, 1970, when ski jumper Vinko Bogatai lost control. It became famous because it was shown in the weekly opening montage of ABC’s Wide World of Sports when Jim McKay said “…and the agony of defeat.” Bogatai of course survived his crash. Downhill skiers reach speeds of ninety miles an hour, and there have been plenty of spectacular crashes in that sport. These are elite athletes and we should salute them, but is a sporting activity really worth dying for?
Since I was playing hooky from work for a couple of days, nursing a very bad knee, I had time to check out more of the Olympics than usual. The good news is nobody is going to die from curling, the official silliest sport in the history of Olympic competition. I’ve watched it for several hours now and despite the expert commentary, I still haven’t figured it out — I don’t really think I want to figure it out, but it was a good sport to watch while you are mellowed out on painkillers.
I love the US Women’s Ice Hockey team. Unfortunately, the ladies are so much better than their current competition, that the scores were 12-1 vs. China and 13-0 vs. Russia. You can’t have fun pounding the Russians when the score is 13-0. If you think that is bad, Canada beat Slovakia 18-0.
The good news is, the US ladies are likely to face Canada in the gold medal game and that should be a fabulous contest.