By Melody Vallieu
February 23, 2014
The Winter Olympics are over, which means I can officially ignore all those sports for another four years. If you can get more than 12 people to go to a speedskating or biathlon or curling match in a non-Olympic year, you’re doing pretty well.
Still, I can’t let the games close without a few observations. Only a few athletes can win gold, silver or bronze medals, so I have some Lindeman Olympic Committee Plastic Medals to award. The winners are:
• The Dutch Speedskating Coach. You have to love this guy. He’s trash-talking the entire universe! Here’s what he said about America: “You have a lot of attention on a foolish sport like American football and you waste a lot of talent, athletic talent, on a sport that is meant to kill each other, to injure each other. … You’re so narrow-minded, and then you want to compete against the world [in other sports] when you waste a lot of time, good talent on a sport that sucks.”
A lot of Americans took offense at what he said, but I think it’s a good thing that everyone has a sport they can win, even if no one else does care about it. Speedskating is a perfect sport for the Netherlands, because they have all those canals that freeze over and provide access to the holes in the dikes that you need to plug with your fingers.
He doesn’t understand Americans. If there was any money in speedskating, we’d be all over it. As it is, it ranks about No. 147 on our list of things to try, barely ahead of the biathlon. (That’s where all those Norwegians ski around and then shoot things.) The only way it will ever move higher is if they combine speedskating and the biathlon and let participants shoot at the Dutch skaters as they fly past in their natty orange uniforms. I doubt that will happen, unless the Dutch coach keeps popping off.
• To Russia For Love: There’s this snowboarder who grew up in the U.S., married a Russian and then moved to Moscow. Then he had the nerve to win two gold medals as a Russian! We could have used those gold medals.
Some Americans are calling him a traitor and saying other not so nice things about him. I think it’s a great story. Athletes have been moving to the U.S. and competing for us for years. This guy moves to Russia for love and people here act like it’s some kind of athletic treason . He must really, really love that woman to move to Russia for her. It’s a romantic story that warms the hearts of all Russians, I’m sure. Of course, all those Russian romantic stories end in tragedy – we just hope it doesn’t work out that way for them. I say more power to him. Snowboard on, comrade!
• The Olympic Committee Skating Judges: Nothing like keeping interest up in your sport by rigging the judging a little bit. This happens all the time in the Olympics. In fact, the whole Olympic Committee seems to be pretty crooked. When you look at the history of how the group operates – well, let’s just say if you think politicians are power-hungry, it’s only because you haven’t meet anyone from the Olympic Committee. I think the Olympic Committee and the NCAA should merge so we can keep all our despotic athletic organizations in one place.
• Anyone Who Does That Jumping Stuff: Ski jumpers, half-pipe and slopestyle skiers and snowboarders – they all deserve a medal just for showing up. Talk about sports designed to injure people! They’re flying around doing flips and hurtling hundreds of feet in the air without parachutes. The best one is where a bunch of skiers race down the hill at the same time and then crash at the finish line. Parents in America watch this and tell their children: “Try something safe. Like football. Or wrestling sharks. Or jumping out of airplanes.”
• People Who Get All Up in Arms About Winning Medals: First of all, this is the Olympics, not World War III. It’s supposed to be about the bonds between athletes and all that other good stuff. You would think it’s a national security problem because the Russians won a couple more medals than we did (if only we would have kept that snowboarder in the U.S.!) Sure, I root for the USA (although I have to admit I have a soft spot for Canada, especially in hockey), but the Olympics aren’t supposed to be about world domination. They’re supposed to be about fellowship and friendship and fair play – except in figure skating, of course.
Maybe we’ll all do better next time. The 2018 Winter Olympics will be in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which is a problem for me because I can’t spell it or say it. By then I should be ready to endure the speedskaters from the Netherlands sticking it to us again, defecting snowboarders winning medals and other crimes against humanity. In the meantime, I’ll pretty much stick with sports that suck like football, baseball and basketball. You don’t need snow or ice to play those.