Saturday, February 13, 2010

Worst winter games ever?

It is generally conceded that the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer Norway were the best.  The facilitates were spectacular--for example, the speed skating oval was housed under a gorgeous wooden roof that looked like an inverted Viking longboat.  The weather was delightful--snowing many nights so folks could wake up to a gleaming landscape and skiing events that were run under ideal conditions.  The Norwegian hosts made everyone feel welcome and one of their gold-medal speedskaters named Johann Koss raised a bunch of money for Sarajevo relief.

So now let us compare that to the 2010 Vancouver games which are rapidly turning into a fiasco.  In the run-up to the games, the Canadians have generally acted like "iceholes" in the immortal words of Stephen Colbert.  For example, the hockey federation was forced to agree that their tournament would be played on the 200x85 NHL ice sheet rather than the 200x100 surface of international play.

Those 3000 square feet make a HUGE difference in how the game is played--Czech superstar Jaromir Jagr once claimed that because of that huge size difference, the international and NHL styles amounted to "two completely different games played by the same rules."  Of course, the real reason for insisting on the small sheet of ice is that it favors the crash and bang version of hockey so beloved by the Hosers.  Hey, maybe the floundering Canadians can actually medal on the little ice--if they do, the records should have an asterisk.

Then the day of the opening ceremonies, a luger is freaking killed when his sled leaves the track and he hits an unpadded steel support.  The guy died instantly.  There are videos of the accident.  I cannot seem to get an embedded one to work very long (I've tried) but they can be found.  They are a clear indictment of the track's designers and builders so the butt-covering has begun bigtime.  The tort lawyers are probably lined up around the block already.

The opening ceremony was unbelievably dreary.  It was held indoors--so no sprinkling of new snow.  Of course, it was raining outside.  Then the device that was supposed grow out of the floor to become the Olympic flame malfunctioned.

And there has been no snow at the major venues.  The mountainsides are green from spring-like rains.  So they are trucking snow and of course, making machine snow whenever it gets cold enough.


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