February 26, 2006

Ohno! Ohno!

Short Track Speed skating is fun. Its the closest that roller derby will ever come to being an Olympic sport. The relay was crazy fun. Just a small note for all you future gold medal winners out there: Do not attempt to sing along with the national anthem when you're up on the podium getting your medal. It makes you look silly. Just watch the flags go up with a suitable mixture of awe and happiness on your face. You may, if you're feeling dramatic, allow a single solitary tear run down one cheek. But do not try and sing along.

I propose a new verb. "To Bode" shall now mean to fail in a dramatic yet pathetic manner after being wildly overhyped.

Next Olympics, just put the curling team on the cover of Time and Newsweek. They deserve the attention.

1 comment:

Tyler said...

Yes, its true Bode tanked big time. I thought he'd win at least 2-3 medals, but not having won even a single medal was a bit surprising.

Although the media's hype over him was ridiculous! I think it was totally unrealistic for him to have won five golds, or even five medals period. But that’s just what the networks and magazine's kept saying: "Bode Miller could win five medals, five golds, etc.", yada, yada.

And then when he failed to get one, the media jumped all over him.

Skiing has a few more variables than, say, sprinting or swimming---or even cycling. If you're Michael Phelps, Lance Armstrong or Michael Johnson and you're favored in an event, you're most likely going to win. Their brute power and speed are going to get them medals. With skiing negotiating one turn incorrectly, an ill timed shift of your weight, a slow start out of the gate, bending you legs too much or not enough around a flag, catching a rough patch of snow, etc....can cost you precious tenths and hundredths of seconds--which can mean the difference between medaling and not. Winning relies more on technique. In addition, the fact that you're not racing against other people, but against the clock, and therefore not being pushed on by that type of pressure, I believe, has an affect on the race too.

I don't know the whole history or all the facts, but I'll bet there aren't as many Mark Spitz's, Carl Lewis's, Michael Phelps types in Winter Olympics--not because there are less events and thus less medals to win--but simply because it much more difficult to dominate in events where raw athletic ability isn't all that matters.

So yes, Bode was a bust, but its hard for me to call him the biggest bust ever because he was never going to win five medals, its too difficult in skiing to do that in one Olympics. If he had won 2 medals would he still be a disappointment in the eyes of the media? Probably. Besides, when the guy obviously doesn't give a shit about his performance or the media, the "bust" label isn't as meaningfull.

To me, Lindsey Jacobellis was the biggest bust of the games. Yes she won the silver in Snowboard Cross, but the circumstances under which she "won" were of her own doing. Hot-dogging it on the final jump when no one else is within a mile of you--then crashing allowing some Swiss chick to cross the line first must hurt like hell! To have such a sure thing vanish in an instant has got to be heart breaking. How much more money in endorsements would she have earned had she won that race? Bode never got close enough, to get disappointed, besides I think the pressure got to him, although he still seems not to care all that much about how he performed. Jacobellis could have become the goddess of Snowboard cross, now she’s just a girl who’ll always be remembered for her antics costing her the gold (prove me wrong Lindsey, come back and kick some ass in 2010!)

I think the biggest all time bust was Dan O’Brien back in 91-92. Remember Reebok's "Dan and Dave" commercials in the lead up to the Barcelona Olympics? Christ, Reebok dumped millions into those two and then O’Brien failed to qualify for the games making the whole ad campaign a complete waste! O’Brien never got a chance to be an Olympic bust, because didn't make the team! (although he rebounded 4 years later and won the Decathlon gold--good for him!)