Saturday, February 13, 2010

Olympic Ambivalence

Will the IOC nail me for that blog post header? We'll see.

As usual, I'm completely ambivalent about the Olympics.

Didn't want them for Canada. Am completely opposed to taxpayer money being spent on this bloated, over-commercialized, eco-unfriendly circus which I think long ago lost its original spirit or purpose and which seems to inevitably cause misery for the poor in the community where it's held.

And of course these games look particularly problem-plagued, with not enough snow, the tragic death of a Georgian luger on Day 1, a mechanical cock-up at the opening ceremonies, and rain threatening several skiing events.

But I can't not watch Olympic hockey. (One of my countrymen described the Olympics as "a hockey tournament with some other stuff thrown in.") I expect it's genetically hard-wired into Canadians.

And there are always the handful of stories that harken back to the original spirit of the games - before Visa was literally the only currency accepted at Olympic venues, they harassed decades-old Greek restaurants with "Olympia" in the name, and our athletes shilled for McDonald's every 20 minutes.

Panasonic (yes - another corporate juggernaut) has set up a website called "One Winter, Five Dreams", which contains the blogs of five somewhat unlikely competitors (well, one didn't qualify in the end), and a sort of citizen-blogger from the US.

When I read Ethiopian cross-country skier Robel Teklemariam's blog, I'm afraid I was hooked. (I'd read about him before - he trains on roller-skis.) And discovering Turkish figure-skater Tugba Karademir's blog, with her photos of the modest and endearing send-off party for their tiny Turkish team, was the icing on the cake.

The Jamaican bobsled team - yes, it still exists - didn't qualify this year. But Jamaican freestyle-skier Errol Kerr carried his country's flag, and will be competing.

I guess I'll keep looking for the little stories, because they're fascinating. And hope that nothing else goes wrong, and the snark and criticism of my country's efforts in the media settle down. The blogger commentary on the Opening Ceremonies - particularly this piece in Salon - were just nasty.

Still wish the whole circus was happening somewhere else. Then I could just watch the hockey, and look for the little stories.




Blogger Dann Todd said...

Welcome to my world, Ronnie.

That piece over at Salon was awful. I've no idea if she was being sarcastic about NBC's running commentary, sarcastic about Canada, sarcastic about the Olympics, or sarcastic and pretentious about the whole ball of wax. In any case, her comments and NBC's presentation of the opening ceremonies made me a little less proud of my country.

I've got a longer rant on sarcasm rambling around in my head. I'm not sure that I have the courage to post it.

I have to confess that I was having some modest trouble watching some of the opening programme, but that was something that I was bringing to the broadcast rather than a deficiency in the presentation.

I ended up enjoying almost every aspect of the opening ceremonies. I think you should be a bit prouder of your heritage because of that first rate performance.

I also have to confess that I love the Winter Olympics. I'm much less enthusiastic about the Summer Olympics.

Biathlon, hockey, curling, luge, skeleton, bobsled....there are so many great winter sports. Of course, growing up in a Winter Wonderland will make you either love or hate snow!

I hope you find a way to enjoy the spectacle. It's here and the only alternative is the "off" button.

At least, enjoy it until the IOC comes knocking with some pointed questions about the title for this post.


11:31 p.m.  
Blogger Brian Fies said...

Needs more Shatner.

2:20 a.m.  
Blogger Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

The Salon piece was downright baffling. By the time she'd insulted entities that had nothing to do with the ioc or NBC's choices (The outfits chosen by the teams?) i'd lost any sense of any point she was making.

Now here's something that needs a good slam.

11:58 a.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Ruth: "Brett Faver"?

4:27 p.m.  
Blogger Sherwood Harrington said...

Dann: Aren't you the guy who just posted this over on Facebook?
I'm really tired of people that have a profile photo that doesn't look like themselves.
So I guess we now know what you really look like! Remind me to not disagree with you in the future.

My peeve is people who comment on a blog entry without actually commenting on the blog entry.

4:31 p.m.  
Anonymous Sister said...

My biggest peeve right now is David Letterman making that idiotic statement on air. I guess some people don't understand the meaning of the word "accident". As for the opening ceremonies, I loved them! It's very frusterating, though, in trying to find highlights of the ceremonies, and I see -nothing- with any Native culture in it. It's all that kid "flying" over the praries, and the lighting of the torch.

8:18 p.m.  
Blogger Dann Todd said...

That was over on Facebook, Sherwood. I wouldn't wany my true visage anywhere near Blogger!

Apples and oranges. Spits and spots.


11:35 p.m.  

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