Meditations on the Vancouver Olympic Games

Posted: Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This past weekend, the world took a break from war, natural disaster and that whole Conan-Leno thing, and shifted its gaze toward Vancouver. There, in snow that looks even worse than our own, the world's elite winter athletes have gathered to see which country's chemists can concoct the least-detectable performance-enhancing drugs.

To some, the Winter Olympics are an opportunity for the nations of Earth to unite in peace (and spandex); to others, they point to continuing globalization and the unequal distribution of resources. For everyone, Winter Olympics are a great excuse to sit on the couch for weeks on end, firmly convinced we're doing something worthwhile.

And, because there's no women's beach volleyball, we're mercifully spared those awkward viewings with our father-in-law, who, it turns out, is kind of a dirty old man. You should see his beach photos from a recent vacation to Rio de Janeiro. Seriously, you'd think he was shooting a hip-hop video.

Unfortunately, the trend toward skin-tight bodysuits for anyone who's serious about any sport carries over from summer to winter. As a result, Vancouver is practically awash in male camel toe, or, as it's called in Canada, "moose knuckles." For precisely that reason, I'm no longer watching any Sliding Centre events in HD.

Thanks to the Winter Olympics, no one really cares that Iran declared itself a nuclear power, that the governments of both Sri Lanka and the Ivory Coast dissolved, and that Tiger Woods may have impregnated the same adult film actress on several separate occasions.

In this way, the Winter Olympics may be the last remaining hope for Senate Democrats to save Obama's health care plan. Just schedule the vote an hour or so before figure skating - no way Republicans are going to filibuster at the risk of missing Johnny Weir's long program. Especially not Ohio Rep. John Boehner - huge ice dancing fan.

Personally, I'm partial to biathlon, an event that combines skiing with shooting. It reminds me of early season at Eaglecrest Ski Area, when they're still hunting deer up there. And people wonder why I hit the Nordic loop wearing bright orange Kevlar. It may not breathe well, but at least I'll survive the friendly fire. Plus, Kevlar pants never moose-knuckle.

So far, I've also enjoyed the freestyle skiing, at least those events that haven't postponed until they can truck in more slush. This also reminds of early season at Eaglecrest. And mid-season at Eaglecrest. And late season at Eaglecrest.

Anyway, did you catch the 35-year-old bronze medalist in women's moguls? She may be the only athlete at Vancouver older than I am. In particular, I appreciate how the IOC scheduled her run toward the beginning of the contest, so she could get home and watch Netflix.

Luckily, a full ten days exist before the whole thing wraps up. As you watch the remained of the 2010 Winter Olympics unfold, consider these few ponderables:

What is that smudge under Apollo Anton Ohno's chin? How long before he's caught on amateur video smoking marijuana out of a three-foot bong?

Is it just me, or is Sean White a dead-ringer for Carrot Top? Ever notice how you never see the two of them in the same room together? Coincidence? Yeah, probably.

Did you know Bob Costas went to my high school? He once donated $10,000 to paint the football bleachers. Rosie O'Donnell went there, too, but she didn't donate anything. Tightwad.

Whatever happened to Bode Miller?

Why does the IOC refuse to allow women's ski jumping? Excluding the sport this time around took a Canadian Supreme Court decision - I know, I didn't realize Canadians had their own Supreme Court either. Evidently, they print their own currency, too. My point is this: if a woman wants to catapult herself off a 30-story frozen waterslide, who is the government to say she can't? I mean, it's her body, right?

Don't you feel a little vindicated for canceling that family trip to Whistler this winter?

Estimates put operating costs of the 2010 Winter Olympics at about $1.5 billion. For that, you could produce three Avatar sequels. Or, double the total amount of humanitarian relief to Haiti thus far.

No matter the ultimate outcome, hosting the Winter Olympics is sure to put Vancouver on the map - just look what it's done for cities like Albertville, Nagano,and Lillehammer.

I leave you with this: the 2014 Winter Games are slated to take place in Sochi, Russia. Score for us Alaskans - that means we should be able to see them from our house.



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