Olympic Fever and its Only Known Cure

No, I feel fine. Why do you ask?

And now for a little free association re: the Olympic Winter Games.

Several people have told me recently they just aren’t into the Olympics. They feel a little left out when others chat incessantly about Olympic Fever. But they shouldn’t feel bad. Because if there’s anything more American than getting worked into a frenzy over alpine skiing for a three-week period once every four years, it’s not getting worked into a frenzy over alpine skiing for a three-week period once every four years. You people are the sane ones among us. Six months from now we’ll be ashamed that we were once passionately debating if we could trust Bode Miller to not be a complete jerk, whether or not Lindsay Vonn should’ve posed for Sports Illustrated or just how stupid Apolo Anton Ohno’s soul patch really is AAAAAAAA I JUST WANT TO RIP OFF HIS SPEED SKATES AND USE THEM TO SHAVE OFF THAT STUPID STUPID SOUL PATCH FOR THE LOVE OF PETE OH IT JUST DRIVES ME INSANE and you’ll be sitting back laughing at us. But even if you don’t have Olympic Fever, you can read my analysis and get caught up on what you’ve been missing.

I finally got around to watching the Opening Ceremonies on my DVR. They were, in a word, underwhelming. My first thought was, “What this show needs is 20,000 Chinamen.” My next thought was “Is ‘Chinamen’ racist? Because it sounds a little racist.” Turns out that yeah it is kind of a little derogatory. My apologies, men of China. Apologies all around. The Beijing Opening Ceremonies really were that much better. What the Vancouver Ceremonies needed was 20,000 Chinese. My third thought was “No thanks, NBC, I won’t be watching The Marriage Ref.” My fourth thought was “Hmm… I wonder if there are any Cheetos left.”

www.olympics.com is not a website. Go ahead. Try it. It doesn’t even take you to another website. The site you’re most likely looking for is www.nbcolympics.com.

Speaking of the Internet, I Googled “bobsled uniforms” because I wanted to see if the rest of the world was as alarmed at the formfitting-ness of the men’s bobsled uniforms. I mean, wow those things are tight. And bobsledders are among the pudgier athletes, too. Anyway, I didn’t find an uproar online (I guess the Internet is just more mature than I am), but I was delighted at the first result, a Yahoo Answers query: “Where can I find costumes or the uniform for the Jamaican Bobsled team? Me and my friends want to dress up as them but I can’t find anywhere that has the uniforms.” I think we can all agree that this is awesome, and we wish we had thought of it.

Ahh, the Jamaican Bobsled team. I wonder if Amazon sees a spike in sales of Cool Runnings during the Winter Olympics. Seriously, who doesn’t love that movie? “Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it’s bobsled time!” Sadly, the Jamaicans are not feeling the rhythm, nor the rhyme. They didn’t qualify for the 2010 games. Bobsled FAIL.

While we’re on the subject of an inspirational back story, it seems like there haven’t been near as many stories of athletes battling back from the brink of death, cancer, stubbed toe, etc. Maybe I’ve just been fastforwarding through them all. God bless the man who invented DVRs. I did catch a nice little featurette about the 1980 Miracle on Ice though and I’m not ashamed to say I cried like a baby. The one where Mary Carillo trained to become a mountie was also entertaining, though it failed to make me weep. As much.

You know what else makes me tear up? The national anthem being played at the medal presentations. And I mean any anthem, not just The Star Spangled Banner. First of all, they all sound the same. Secondly, how can you not be overcome with emotion when someone who has been training for years triumphs on the world stage, even if that someone happens to be Norwegian or is champion of sport you didn’t know existed until last week?

I’m speaking, of course, about the biathlon, which is my new favorite sport. Skiing + shooting = awesome. It’s got skiing in the great outdoors for liberals and guns for the conservatives. Talk about a win-win! It’s also one of the few sports that has practical value /histocial significance: you stalk your prey for miles through the frozen Scandinavian plains and then must calm your heart rate as you take your one chance at a clean shot. Miss and you have to take that 150-meter penalty lap (or you don’t get to eat that week :-( ). BTW, I officially have a crush on German Gold Medal biathlete Magdalena Neuner.

Since someone brought up crushes, I must say that a secret part of me kinda enjoys it when a skier or skater falls. The falls all look so horrific and then they pop up like it’s no big deal. I saw one Swedish skier fly 192 feet out of control before she landed in a crumpled heap. But no biggie, she got up and tried it again. In contrast, the wrecks on the bobsled/luge are not at all entertaining, and not just because that poor Georgian died. It looks terrifying. You’re going 90 mph (excuse me 144.84 kph… not to be confused with 1 NPH) and then all at once some soccer mom goes bonkers banging that cowbell and you get distracted for the tiniest fraction of a second. Next thing you know, you’re using your helmet as a brake as you exit Turn 16 and your Olympic dreams are circling the drain.

And when did cow bells become the preferred universal indicator of spectator enthusiasm anyway? I don’t recall hearing CLANG CLANG CLANG when Peyton Manning threw that interception during the Super Bowl or CLANG CLANG CLANG last October when the Yankees won the World Series. But evidently it’s a thing: there’s an official Vancouver Cowbell (just $40) and there are cowbell apps for both iPhone and Blackberry users. It’s just that it’s so darn distracting. You’d think you could hear an 800-pound sled rocketing down the course, but no, it’s drowned out by a choir of cowbells. I couldn’t even hear my beloved Magdalena shoot over the feverish cacophony. Calm down people, sheesh.

Bottom line: I’ve got Olympic Fever, and the only cure is less cowbell. That, and shaving that insufferable soul patch.


One response to “Olympic Fever and its Only Known Cure

  1. You know what the Olympics needs more of? Rape horns … I think you and I would both agree that they’re the perfect replacement for cowbells!

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