Saturday, February 25, 2006

Talking About Torino

Well, the 2006 Winer Olympics are just about over. I was excited to watch the Olympics this year because it's the first time in many years that I've had the opportunity to do so. I watched something almost every evening and have some closing thoughts as the games wind down this weekend.

1 - NBC needs to pass the Olympic torch off to someone else. Maybe it's just me, but their coverage leaves a lot to be desired. Much of what Bob Costas had to say was boring or unwatchable. I also thought their comentators for several sports were not very wise choices. Some of them talked consistantly so much that you could hardly pay attention to what was going on. There's a difference between commenting on the events and talking just to hear yourself on television.

2 - Snowboarding is fun to watch. I enjoyed seeing the skiing and snowboarding this year. I'm always amazed at how fast those people can move on the snow. I felt bad for the ladies in some of their events dealing with horrible fog and blowing snow. Of course, then again it is winter.

3 - There was an awful lot of fighting. It seemed every time I turned on the TV there was a story about people fighting. Whether it was between competitors like the speed skating guys or between coaches and players feuding. Last night the news was all over Picabo Street's comments about a woman on the US Ski Team that were less than flattering. I'm not sure people realize it, but these types of feuds don't paint anyone in a good light. No one comes out the winner.

4 - There's too much pressure on the ice skaters. Some of these skaters are way too young to have the kind of stress on them from their coaches and representing countries. The press is especially guilty of this. The Russian women's staker Irena Slutskya was suffering from a medical condition that makes her blood vessels swell. She also has had to deal with her mom's kidney disease and failed transplant that caused her health to deteriorate. The girl's doctor told her to take a year off and rest, but you can't take a year off before the Olympics and still be a contender. So she's dealing with her illness, her mom's illness and the stress from being in the Olympics and what's the focus? If she can win a gold, there will be a Russian Sweep in the Ice Skating. Is that really all she is? Just a bagde for the Russians? I'm surprised with all of the stress that she took a bronze! I've heard people remark that skaters like Emily Hughes and the young girl from Georgia skated with such joy and a love for the sport. But I think that's only because they weren't expected to place. I'm guessing that those girls will have the same determined, driven, joyless look on their faces as they make their way to medal contention in a few years.

5 - Stop showing off. One thing that seemed so obvious, especially in the skiing and snowboarding competitions was the pride and arrogance of the participants. I realize the Olymπics are exciting and a change-of-a-lifetime, but honestly, some of these people were out of control. I would listen to interviews and wonder what these people were going to do when their athletic career was over. An employer would never put up with some of these attitudes. I wish them well, but some are going to have to be humbled a bit before they can assimilate into the normal world with the rest of us.

6 - Can somebody please force Dick Button to retire? Isn't the man old enough to do so soon? I have hated his commentary skills for so long. Each year I think, please Dick Button, move on to playing golf in a retirement community and leave figure staking to those who actually enjoy it. He's cranky, inconsistent, and often incoherent. He makes his own words up, complains about everything and just generally acts ticked off. It's almost like he takes the skater's errors and personal affronts to the great sport of Ice Skating. He kinda reminds me of the two guys in the balcony on the Muppet Show. Except those guys were funny. And puppets.

Overall, the events were fun to watch. I especially enjoyed watching the people from tiny countries with no medal hopes. They seemed so honored to be there and happy to particiapte.
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