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?

Continue Reading >>

Skaters and Skiers and Flair, Oh My!

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!