Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mini Post I: Winter Olympics

Lets do a quick throwback the old school SAT verbal section with an analogy: The Winter Olympics is to the Summer Olympics as __________ is the the United States.

If you said Canada you answered correctly. No offense to Canada, I've been there on multiple occasions (mainly the western portion) and its a beautiful nation with some of the kindest most polite people in the world. That said, it also is constantly in the shadow of the United States and just lacks the overall attention and sense of importance the USA tends to carry (which in the past decade has not been a bad thing at all). So where better to have the Winter Olympics than the home of Hockey, Maple Syrup, and the Mounted Police.

Despite their residence in the shadow of the summer games, I actually like the Winter Olympics just as much. While they don't quite have the powerhouse sports such as basketball, tennis, track and field, swimming, and soccer (aka football to my non-American readers), there are also fewer sports I find mind-numbingly boring (table tennis I'm looking at you). Outside of the biathalon*, curling (see below clip), figure skating, and any segment featuring Chris Collinsworth (I've heard more than enough of him for a lifetime due to Madden 2010) I can turn on the TV during the Winter Olympics and pretty much enjoy any sport I'm watching. Hell I even may watch the figure skating now that Evgeni Plushenko from Russia has suddenly decided to channel his fictional countryman and Rocky IV villain Ivan Drago (can we please get a "If he falls...he falls" quote from Plushenko).
Skate Expectations - Curling Team Tryouts
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorSkate Expectations

This year's winter games have certainly captured my interest. As I have done my fair share of ski on occasion I appreciate watching the difficulty of all the skiing and snowboarding events. Stephen Colbert managed to singlehandedly get me interested in speed skating with his successful fundraising campaign to sponsor the team. Plus Apollo Ono is probably the first athlete named Apollo since Apollo Creed (that's two Rocky references so far if you're keeping score at home). The luge and bobsled are cool because they are basically hardcore extensions of the winter sport we all have done, sledding.

However there are two events to me that are absolutely can't miss. The first is tonight's men's snowboarding halfpipe final featuring Shaun White. The man is the Michael Jordan of his sport, and I fully expect his run to be absolutely mind blowing. The second is men's hockey, where while I will be cheering for the USA, I can't deny the fact that the most fascinating potential matchup is Canada versus Russia. The two powerhouses of hockey pitting the two best hockey players in the world: Crosby and Ovechkin. The two players currently have the best individual rivalry in all of sports. And with Eric Stall and Evgeni Malkin as sidekicks, there is plenty of starpower outside of the pair. If Canada and Russia do meet make sure to watch. Its going to be like if Kobe and Howard decided to play on team Spain and faced LeBron, Wade and team USA in the Summer Olympics.

*Quick rant on the biathalon. If you are like me when you first hear of an event that combines guns and skiing, you immediately jump to every awesome Bond skiing scene. Instead you have a bunch of guys skiing in a circle around a relatively flat surface, coming to a stop and shooting at a target. Its the most un-epic combination of skiing and shooting possible. Can't we give them paintball guns instead, have them go down a slope, and shoot at each other a la Bond? THAT I would watch.

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