I went nearly the entire first week of the winter Olympics watching a grand total of maybe 30 minutes of actual events, but I watched a ton of it while hanging out in the C-boogie this past weekend with the folks, and a few things have struck me:
· I know that this is America and we're supposed to be rooting for the American athletes, but NBC (and any future network that wins broadcast rights to this stuff) really needs to rethink their strategy of pre-selecting a specific group of a half-dozen or so athletes to hype the hell out of for weeks before the games even begin. Because then you're sort of banking almost all your credibility on a few guys who could very well embarrass you by tanking in any or all of their events . . . step forward, Bode Miller! Yeah, he's blown it all right, but the thing is, I was sick of hearing about him even before the Olympics began. And I think that was mainly because that before-the-fact hype centered primarily around not his athletic ability but the fact that he liked to get blitzed before taking to the slopes. I'm sorry, but if you're an athlete whose biggest draw is unapologetic engagement in some sort of chemical pursuit, guess what? People are probably only watching you to see when you're going to have your Ricky Williams beard-growing, Western-civilization-eschewing freakout. Of course, because he's a drunk, Bode's will probably involve a lot more vomiting.
Soon to get a new roommate in rehab . . . just clear out some room for his skis.
Anyway. My point is, NBC, quit picking out one particular group of Kool Kids to hype because a) it annoys the hell out of us, and b) they're only gonna burn you. Remember Dan and Dave? Reebok does, but the same probably can't be said for anyone else.
· Maybe it's because of NBC's joyous shoving of only the most overrated American athletes down our throats, maybe it's because opening the doors to NHL superstars has rendered Olympic hockey pretty much irrelevant anyway, but you know what? When the USA faced off against Slovakia in hockey on Saturday, I was rooting for the motherland, and you know I'm talkin' 'bout the guys with a whole bunch of consonants in their names. The motherland pulled through, by the way. I now have an early birthday-present request: a Team Slovakia hockey sweater. Get on that!
Four more wins and we're busting out the Borovicka, which is Slovak for "stuff you can drink instead of hairspray when all the other liquor is gone."
· Did Bob Costas really just interview Jerome Bettis during the Olympic prime-time broadcast? Jerome Bettis? C'mon, Bob, you're a smart guy -- I was counting on you to look a lot more embarassed during that bit than you actually did. If this is how NBC's gonna play it, I can't wait to see their exclusive interview with Phil Mickelson during the NBA finals.
· I'm certainly not trying to say that we've achieved everything we need to achieve in terms of race relations in this country, but I think it says a lot about how far we've come that all we have left in terms of milestones is stuff like "first black guy to win a gold medal in speed skating."
· By now you may be thinking, "You seem way too into the Winter Olympics there, chief -- what's next, you're gonna tell us you actually watched ice dancing?" To which I reply: Yes, I watched some fucking ice dancing; what of it?
If Tanith Belbin is involved, the sport could be endurance snow-shoveling and I'd still tune in.
· And finally, as far as Lindsey Jacobellis's snowboard fuckup goes, yeah, it was stupid, but in all honesty I probably would've done the same thing. At least she still managed to pull a silver medal out of it; my most recent attempts at a "backside grab" haven't even been that successful, if you get my drift.