Miracle On Ice: Days Five and Six of the Winter Olympics

Where's the movie deal, Disney?

I know, I know. You, the loyal Sports Casualties reader, arrived at this hallowed site on Tuesday in search of commentary on your beloved Winter Olympics and it wasn’t here.  After watching eight hours of NBC coverage, you just wanted te read somebody’s take on what you had just seen, particularly somebody who had promised you daily coverage of the Vancouver games.

Well, I was not able to bring you that on Tuesday. For that you can blame the state of Florida for having a history, and Professor Davis for making me write a draining 1,566 words about it. As a token of my appreciateion for not completely bastardizing me after my failures, today I present a two-day cumulative coverage of people playing games on imported snow. Let’s do this.

Down goes Russia! Down goes Russia! Do you believe in miracles?

On Tuesday, the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” was re-created in what can only be described as a nostalgic masterpiece.  Okay, so maybe it was a little bit different. You see, Tuesday’s hockey match-up of the USA against Russia was actually a women’s game. And, due to its prowess in all things women’s suffrage, the Americans actually won quite easily. Like final score of 13-0 easily.

But why let a stupid thing like reality get in the way of a fascinating story?

If you’re anything like me, the simple combination of ice and Russians makes you angry. Regardless of the times, I will always view Russian teams at the Winter Olympics as the 1980 Soviets. It’s not like this in any other international spectrum. I don’t hate the Russians at the summer games or at the World Cup or at the Curling World Champinoships. However, the moment that the Russians are announced at winter opening ceremonies, I start feeling very Rocky IVish.  This doesn’t stop at hockey, I was thoroughly happy when those damn commies failed to medal in figure skating pairs on Monday night. Democracy prevails! What’s that? China won skating pairs? Oh well.

"If they die, they die." - Soviet Women's Hockey

Skier and world class boozer Bode Miller returned to Olympic prominence with his bronze medal run in men’s downhill on Monday. The victory was excellent for the American medal count and devastating for any bar within a 100 mile radius of Vancouver.

Yesterday’s afternoon schoolwork was obstructed by a rather unlikely distraction. Yes, I got caught up in an intense match of curling. The match, USA vs. Germany, was creeping to its conclusion. The athletes were filled with nerves, the eager crowd was tense and the announcers were whispering with mind-blowing passion. That was when Germany took a timeout. Yes, a timeout. I repeat, Germany was involved in a curling match and called a timeout.

"Yeah, I could totally use a timeout right about now."

It has become cliche to scoff at curling and that was honestly not my reason for tuning into the USA Network. But a timeout? Are you serious? The entire sport of curling is one giant timeout. I’m pushing for a rule change.

The knowledge-deficient NBC Olympic annoucners also showed their face during the curling broadcast.

“It’s really amazing how good of shape these curlers are in. You would not believe how hard they train for these games,” said a voice that may or may not have been in Vancouver. Wrong, you can’t fool me NBC. I saw the profile on the U.S. curling team on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” and clearly saw the team lounging around, eating McDonalds and drinking beer less than one month before Vancouver.

Men’s hockey also began on Tuesday with the young American team defeating Switzerland 3-1. In case you don’t know how young this American team is, you will be reminded by Bob Costas over and over again until you feel the urge to grab him by the ankles and club the nearest NBC executive over the head with him.

Lindsey Jacobellis may be the most doomed Olympic athlete. Four years ago, Jacobellis was handily leading the snowboard cross medal race when she decided to showboat a bit on the second to last jump, lost control and choked away a gold medal.

Tuesday was set to be her day of redemption. Instead, Tuesday was another day of inexplicable Olympic failure. Jacobellis failed to even qualify for the medal round after dominating competition all day when she ran off course during the semi-finals.

Today’s most popular event will likely be men’s snowboard halfpipe where Shaun White will look to recapture his glory from Torino.

Men’s short program figure skating was Tuesday night which, as you can imagine, wasn’t the highlight of your humble correspondent’s evening. However, the brief amount of the event that I caught made me look down upon men’s figure skating for a reason different than I expressed on Monday.

All along, a huge deal has been made about Johnny Weir. Weir is feminine, Weir wears furry costumes, Weir dresses like a woman. After watching about 15 minutes of the men’s short program, I was wondering what the big deal about Weir was. American Evan Lysacek appears just as feminine as Weir, possibly with even less masculine manneurisms, and he is a better skater. Where was his HBO interview, Frank Deford?

Lysacek: Alpha Male of U.S. Figure Skating

Weir and Lysacek are to feminine male figure skaters what Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb were to black quarterbacks eight years ago. Weir, like Vick, is the flashy media darling that gets all the attention while Lysacek, like McNabb, is the one actually pulling the weight when it comes to competition but still getting little respect. Yes, I just made that comparison.

Also, memo to announcer Scott Hamilton: If you’re trying to better the image of men’s figure skating, you should probably avoid referring to successful runs as “gorgeous programs.” Gorgeous doesn’t exactly get those competitive juices flowing for most Americans.

Also, on the schedule for today, more curling and a ridiculous amount of speedskating.

Happy winter…from Florida.

-Bryan

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