Olympics: Past and Passed-On (Turin Flashback Alert!)

As I mentioned, I find myself about 70,000 long slapshots from the Winter Olympics in Russia, which isn’t much farther than I’d be if I was home in Ottawa. I’m between ocean and hilly jungle on an island off southern Thailand, trying to summon greater interest in skates and skis and snow; the medal list, at least, is rewarding for a Canadian chauvinist, as we’ve been top 3 pretty much from the start. Television isn’t an option here, though. (I miss Ron McLean. I miss Bob Costas, even though NBC’s coverage of past Olympics has always been a source of perverse Canadian pride and sniggers, as the Canadian Corp does a much better job overall, and less slickly.)

I went looking for what I’d written about Vancouver 2010. Surely I’d had something to say about Super Sidney’s gold-winning goal to beat the Americans! Nope. Or that avalanche of medals, our best result ever, and by far, on home ice? I just read about ’em. The opening and closing ceremonies were great, though I can’t remember how we saw them; I think we were in Thailand then, too, courtesy of the Chinese spring festival holiday, or maybe we saw the ceremonies on CCTV 5, their sports channel, and went to

Remember her? What does Jennifer do now? Gold medals are forever, I guess, but here’s hoping life hasn’t been downhill since this youthful glory.

Thailand in between. (Plausible.) Our sojourn in the Middle Kingdom, now approaching five years, has forestalled my rabid consumption of college hoops (American and local) and of Olympics (icy style). My goodness: the last significant blathering I did on snow-sport was for Turin 2006. There’s lots to read in the February 2006 archives (see below and right), but here’s a brief blast from the Howdy past. Does anybody remember Jennifer Heil?

Well, the Mighty Winter Olympics began yesterday with the usual herd of underemployed dancers getting their Big Gig in the Sun (along with 5000 of their closest colleagues), and despite my being not that into it, it was pretty and occasionally spectacular. I always get most jazzed, oddly enough, by the parade of the athletes. What a tremendous thing it was when the athletes from the two Koreas entered as one body in Sydney in 2000! Naturally, I loved to watch the Canadians enter, to hear the Italians get the roars of their people as they closed the deal. But I find it wonder FULL to see, for example, the lone Kenyan, a cross-country skier, enter to a warm and supportive cheer. Canada may not “Own the Podium”, but our girl Jennifer Heil bumped and shimmied and flipped her way to gold, straight off. 30 seconds to gold. Like a lot of the new sports, it seems too contrived, too made-for-television, and too brief. It was just a sight bite. All the same, I am a jockhead Canuck and I enjoyed the view. And what a smile on Ms. Heil!

Comment (1)

  1. michael freeman

    What is it about the hype and anticipation of an Olympic Games, winter moreso than summer, that has me on the edge of my seat? Then the opening day comes, and goes, and I just cannot get into it. I am an avid fan of hockey and curling; I will watch some downhill and ski jump action (where is Eddie the Eagle?) and will even watch some luge and bobsled…..but not this year. I am happy to hear the medal count and enjoy Canada’s positive showing, but I cannot get excited about this year’s games. I cannot and will not get up early to watch live action; I can’t get into replays of today’s action and can barely stay up to watch replays of curling matches between European teams that I rarely see. It is 2 a.m. as I watch Norway and some other team play, almost as if I’m supposed to and do it out of obligation rather than the skill of the game. I must say, though, that Ulsrud and the Norwegian curling team sure do class up the sport with their fancy dress and spectacular shot-making. I can hardly wait for the men’s hockey but will be on a flight to Ottawa during the Canadian first game and will miss their first 3 as I sit in meetings all weekend.
    Sochi is just another “also was”. And unless the Canadian men’s curling team pick up their game and the Canadian men’s hockey team burn up the field, I will be left with an empty spot where the Olympics should have been and disappointment where a satisfied smile should be. Without being able to watch in real time, and not being available to watch much at all leaves me out of the Olympic results and action loop.
    Sadly, I cannot even remember the stories and successes of the last games. Am I getting old, or are my priorities changing?
    Oh well! It’s only 4 more years to the next installment of the winter games. Maybe I’ll be retired, or independently wealthy (go Lotto 6/49!) and will be able to watch some of the building stories. I think this year might be a bust for me. But I was greatly satisfied to hear of the Canadian sisters placing 1st, 2nd and 12th in moguls. Great story there.

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