Like most of the world right now, I'm spending most of my nights watching the Torino Olympics. I mainly like to watch the snowboarding and figure skating although I can be persuaded into a little ski jumping if the Sweds are cute enough. There is nothing so pathetic as sitting around in your pjs for hours each night eating potato chips and watching other people achieve their ultimate athletic goal. The Olympics are also a lucrative time for family therapists because everyone watching thinks "if only my mom had loved me enough to sign me up for ice skating lessons when I was five..." or "if my parents had believed in me, they wouldn't have let me quit soccer in 5th grade and I'd be in the Olympics right now." But what kid is going to willingly practice 8 hours a day? I have to imagine that each and every current Olympian is the product of over-zealous, dictatorial parents who forced their unwilling children to practice despite all protests. I hope I'm wrong.
But even with all the amazing athletic feats, it's the commentary that I find most entertaining about the Olympics. Today I watched some of the Men's Short Program Figure Skating. After a few contestants had performed, I began noticing a pattern in the commentators' narrative. They start out really supportive but gradually start slipping in cheap shots until they've totally slandered the poor guy. Something like this:
(Skater takes his opening position in the middle of the rink)
"Sven is an exciting new skater with amazing ability to make his quadruple toe loops look effortless. He's a serious gold medal contender this year."
(Skater does a triple instead of a quadruple on his opening jump)
"Whoops! Looks like he's taking going to play it safe tonight. I don't know if that's a good idea."
(Skater performs another jump but bobbles on the landing a little bit)
"He's been really shaky in practice all week. He has a history of blowing it at pivotal moments."
(Skater glides by the judges table looking grim)
"You know, he's just not ready to take on Olympic pressure. He's all over the ice, his footwork is sloppy and he couldn't land a jump to save his soul."
(Skater falls flat on his rear for his major jump of the program)
"I hear that this guy uses crack-cocaine. And that he offered his mom $50,000 to come tonight and she refused. No wonder his triple axle is a disaster. Can you blame her?"
(Skater ends his program with a twisted ankle and tears streaming down his beaten face)
"I've always hated this guy. Can you believe they let him into the Olympics? Give me a break. Could someone take a crowbar to his leg so we don't have to look at him anymore?"
They are ruthless. Every time the skater makes anything close to a mistake or seems the least bit uptight, the commentators think they have to come up with an appropriate reason for the flaw. By the end of the program, every skater has been painted as a weak, insecure, disappointment who has no future in figure skating. For once, I would like the commentators to talk about the real Olympic disasters - the costumes!
There was a French dude last night who at the end of his skating program had a "wardrobe malfunction" and enthusiastically ripped the top off his shirt to reveal a gold lining on the inside of his black top. I think it was supposed to be a heart stopping moment where we were all wowed at his passionate ending or the shininess of his undershirt. Instead, he just looked like a wanna-be Janet Jackson with no chest to back it up. Very weird.
There is too bloggable stuff when it comes to Olympics. I'll spare you more rambling. It's nothing you haven't thought of!