Welcome to my 2010 Winter Olympics Sports Spectacular! Let’s forget for a moment the flaccid torch column disaster and move onto happier moments. Like when those three columns got enormous erections that carried the fire of the Olympic loins to an explosive fireball finish! That was awesome! Except for that one torch column, you know, the one that couldn’t get it up? Geez that was embarrassing. Performance anxiety I guess. I’m sure it’s never happened to that column before, just an off night. As a person who doesn’t give a flying fuck about the majority of these sports and who has a hard time buying the “Olympic athlete backstory saga designed to make you care about them*” tone of Olympic coverage, I still feel compelled to watch.
So, what IMPORTANT Olympic coverage can I offer you? Well, I watched the entire opening ceremony last night- that’s dedicated journalism people! There was a horrible duet by Nelly Furtado and some dude that was bad, real bad— and some old dude gave a really boring speech that seemed to be guilt-tripping athletes into being on their best behavior, oh and there was the erectile dysfunction incident I mentioned earlier. I’ll be honest; it felt like work at times. But damnit I’m watching the Olympics! Bring on the flags! The weird outfits! The judging controversies! The specially designed and crafted medals!
The opening ceremony had some cool parts. The beginning was focused on Native peoples who had some kickass costumes. I was digging it. Then I don’t remember what happened (we’ll just call these commercial breaks) but then all the teams came marching out in the classic Olympics alphabetical procession. The parade-wear this year was pretty boring (Ethiopia looked good, Germany looked insane). They were welcomed by a line of dancing wholesome people wearing my down comforter and my long underwear top. Which is pretty weird- like the costume designer just scooped the shit off my bedroom floor and sewed it together. Hmmm. Then we moved into the opening ceremony performance round. Some cool whale images, some annoying fiddling, a dude flies around the prairie for too long, a bad duet, um. commercial break Oh, they repeated a quote by the president of Brazil. Lula was quoted by Reuters saying Rio didn’t win the "Olympics so gringos can come here to win our medals.”
You don’t hear smack talk like that about the Olympics very often. KD Lang rocked the house, more people hung from cables, and then, some other stuff? commercial break Then we got to the formalities portion of the show. There was a minute of silence for the luger Nodar Kumaritashvili **. Oaths were read, speeches were made, some song was sung. We then proceeded to the torch-lighting (the ultimate Olympic opening ceremony moment). Four Canadian athletic VIPs stood around waiting while the torch column refused to rise (Gretsky looked like he was on the verge of an anxiety attack). But it all worked out, the torch was lit! Then we found out that the Olympic torch has to be widely visible, so even though they just lit a torch, the torch was inside a building and hence, didn’t count. So off we went with Gretsky to light another torch! But this one counts! Well, that’s pretty much all I remember. It was a good show overall. Oh yeah, and some slam poet read a poem . Hey, I didn’t love the poem but major props to Canada for including that! Good work Canada! Anyone else watch?
*The “Olympic athlete backstory saga designed to make you care about them” has two primary varieties. The first is the “triumphant comeback/redemption” version, wherein an athlete’s backstory must involve serious injury, and/or death of a loved one, and/or childhood hardship (e.g., poverty, parental divorce, illness), and/or retirement from the sport. The second primary variety is the “hot chick” which requires only that an athlete be hot, female, and willing to sex it up for the cameras. All “hot chick” athletes will get enormous television coverage (even if they kinda suck and have no chance of winning). Minor “Olympic athlete backstory saga designed to make you care about them” types include anyone whose major competition is a known asshole and can appear as the more “righteous” option and anyone from a tropical island that has dreadlocks and no fucking chance of coming in anywhere but last place (most successful when the athlete also looks like a stoner).
**Ugh. Horrible, horrible accident. Will they cancel the luge events? That track can’t be safe. I heard a commentator suggesting that less experienced lugers were the only ones at risk, essentially saying that the really good lugers could “handle it”. That’s NOT cool. You should not have a track that people can go flying off of and landing on metal and concrete. If you hold the event and don’t change the track, I don’t want to watch. I’ll watch skiers bite it, skaters falling on their asses, and hockey fights. I realize that at this level of competition serious injury is always a possibility. But this luge track seems sketchy.