Sunday, February 26, 2006

Top 4 Rivalries at the 2006 Winter Olympics

= World's Largest Banned Substance?

With the Olympics coming to an end this weekend, we look back fondly on the 50+ plus hours we spent with Bob Costas. Heck, most of us spent more time with Bob these last two weeks than with our significant others. But what we reflect on most is not the amazing triumphs or the spirit of athletic endeavor, but rather the wonderful rivalries that developed during two crazy weeks in the Italian Alps. There sadly was no “Dan vs. Dave” (kinda like in the 1992 Olympics) or "Tonya Harding vs. Shoelace” this year, but what we did have was the following “Top 4 Rivalries at the 2006 Winter Olympics”:

Johnny Weir vs. Stereotypes: Weir broke into the national collective conscious by showing that not all male figure skaters are slightly built, effeminate divas. He earned our admiration by going shot-for-shot with Bode Miller in an Olympic village bar, by going out shopping for what can only be considered the most rugged of clothes, and by blaming solely himself for his poor showing at the Olympics. We salute you Johnny Weir…you have surpassed Mike Weir as our favorite 5'9 Weir. To answer the question offered up by South Park’s Kyle, “What would Brian Boitano do?” Probably get his ass kicked by you.

Shani Davis. vs. Melissa Stark: Shani Davis proved this Olympics that while there is no “I” in team, there is somehow an “I” in the name “Shani”. Davis’ reluctance to race in the team speed skating event supposedly cost Chad Hedrick his opportunity to win five gold medals. In reality, Hedrick’s slow skating cost him the opportunity to win five golds. And honestly, isn’t three medals enough? Bruce Jenner only won one gold medal (1976 Decathalon), and he's doing fabulous.

But the Hedrick v Davis feud doesn’t even make this writer’s top 4 list. What does make the list though is Davis' complete stonewalling of NBC's Melissa Stark during their post-race interview. Did she really even have to ask, "Are you angry, Shani?" We know that if Joe Namath would have won the 1,000 meters, things would have been a little different.

Bode Miller vs. Apathy: I love Bode Miller…not in the way Johnny Weir probably does, but in a “I want to hang out with that guy” sort of way. I love that he injured has ankle playing pick up hoops. I love that he refuses to wear a ridiculous looking USA beanie. But I love most that he doesn’t care about winning the gold.

Some people cry when they fail to win a medal. Some blame the bus system (see Johnny Weir). Bode…he just takes another shot of Jager. Whatever. He’s just glad to be there…on Nike’s dime.

NBC vs. Crappy Reality Shows: Did you see the ratings the Olympics pulled down these last two weeks? Probably not, because you were too busy watching American Idol or Dancing With the Stars. We’d apparently prefer Jerry Rice doing his best Huggy Bear impersonation over Sasha Cohen eating ice. NBC counters that more people were following the Olympics via the Web…yeah 8 hours before the events happened on tv, so we wouldn’t have to miss a single minute of some prematurely greying AI contestant fall back to his stock Ray Charles impersonation.

But honestly, the problems with NBC's coverage were threefold: 1. Not enough Dick Button. Can we clone this guy and have him cover every single event? 2. Not enough human interest stories…I care more about the last 3 years and 363 days of training than I do about this one 45 second run down a mountain. 3. Not enough scandal. The banned Austrian coach sneaking back in with the team (a la Bobby Valentine in a 1999 interleague game) was good, but is that the best we could do? And when there is a good potential scandal (ie skeleton's Tim Nardiello), the USOC quashes it. If you want us to turn the dial away from a Mad About You rerun, you gotta give us something good...


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