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Thursday, 16 February
Da! DA! Da-Da Da DA DA!

Every couple of years when it rolls around, I tell myself the same damn thing: "Aaaaah, fuck the Olympics. I've had it with those goddamn things." And every year . . . I end up watching them.

I don't know why. The obvious explanation seems to be: I hate me.

Because really, the Olympics just end up pissing me off, pretty much all the time. Except when people fall. That I kind of like.

The Olympics piss me off for fairly unoriginal, pedestrian reasons. One big piss-off, of course, is the tremendously insulting American coverage of the events, which never misses an opportunity to manufacture a True Blue Bullshit story for American Olympians. Tonight they profiled a couple of lovely blonde American female downhill skiiers with INXS' "Beautiful Girl" playing in the background. I am happy to report that they both lost, and even happier to report that they lost to a fairly homely Austrian woman. Though I'm a bit surprised that NBC didn't do something in retaliation, like play "Evil Woman" or David Allan Coe's immortal "Finger Fuckin' Sally" over footage of the winner celebrating.

Another sort of meta-piss that I experience is in any event that has judging. FUCK JUDGING. Judging? This isn't American Fucking Idol, for Christ's sake. It's an athletic competition! Who is strongest? Who's fastest? Who's got the endurance? This is all I'm interested in. Unfortunately, judging is so pervasive as to ruin even some of the simplest events.

For example, ski jumping. This is an event that I clearly remember watching as a child, mainly for the incredible sense of awe and terror it inspired in me as I watched these lunatics willingly launch themselves into the high ether and eventually touch down--or, as it happened, explode on contact--miles away from where they started. To me, they were like astronauts without rockets--insane fuckers blasting themselves into the troposphere with nothing better than a couple of goddamn boards strapped to their feet.

How insulting, then, and I forget about this every Olympics, that these nutters are judged not only on how far they fly, but on style points. STYLE POINTS? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Listen, there is only one metric I'm interested in: Who went the farthest? Style points? I don't give a fuck if a guy looked like Bea Arthur with a hundred carrots stapled all over his body and pinwheeled madly all the way to the bottom while screaming "I REGRET EVERYTHING!" If the skier landed on his feet then HOW FAR DID HE GO? This is all that should matter.

Style points. Jesus Christ. Concepts like "style points" are just corrosive to sports, and it usually leads to phenomena like the Derek Jeter Effect, which I just now made up, but is basically: "It's the intangibles that really define him as a player." Not that it makes any fucking sense on any level. Jeter sure is an "intangibles" kind of guy. He's not an awful player by any means, but nor is he really an outstanding one. (But he is a fellow who isn't averse to ramming his face into a seat, for which I am always appreciative of. I hope he keeps that bit.) He's on a decent par with dozens of other decent players, but he's a "leader," he "makes the big plays" (except when he doesn't), he's "special." He's "intangible." Happily, baseball scores are not. Who got the most points? That's pretty tangible.

This is all leading up to, naturally, that bugaboo and great divider of us Olympics junkies, we who cannot help ourselves: figure skating.

First let me say that I totally acknowledge that these competitors are amazing physical specimens who routinely do beautiful, incredible things that are occasionally serenely lovely. I can appreciate it when the dude flings the girl into the air, and she spins a number of times and then lands on one thin blade with all the nonchalance of someone using an ATM. It's amazing.

Not amazing? The unbelievable pageantry and pomp accorded these ridiculous figures. Where else other than Las Vegas or the Winter Olympics would these odious clowns not be pelted with eggs and jeering epithets? Perhaps in some remote, undiscovered New Zealand village they might be hailed as gods, but for the rest of us, don't they look sort of like victims of Homer Simpson's makeup shotgun? And dressed as if by the designers of My Pretty Pony, but with their restraint bones removed?

Some day, if my deepest wish is granted, I will get to see a couple of figure skaters dressed in soiled denim doing a routine to Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up" where for four and a half minutes, all the guy skater does is savagely throw the woman skater into the arena walls, only at the end to have her stick a bread knife into his eye. Then at the end, cheers will erupt and roses will gently fall to the ice while the female skater takes a bow and the guy bleeds to death over in the corner.

I would totally give that routine a 10. But hell, it isn't a 10 for that nonsport, is it? Is it a 6? Or did they change that again? Christ, what a pain in the ass. Is it 5 now? Whatever. The ice-queen murderess gets the gold. Just for the intangibles.


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Comments

There are many ways to make figure skating more interesting and less, for lack of a better word, prissy. Here are 2 more:

1. The surgical extraction of all spandex and tulle from skaters bodies. There is a limit to how much of that I want to see in my lifetime.
2. One word: Explosives.

That'll earn you some style points. I think the excitement that was generated by that famous kneecaping so long ago was a hit in the right direction. If you can do triple lutzes shouldn't you be doing them for a REASON? Say, avoiding the hand grenades that your partner is tossing at you?

Comment number: 005939   Posted by: Greg on February 16, 2006 06:30 AM from IP: 198.36.195.206

Last night on prime-time NBC, they showcased Moguls and Short-Track Skating. If you are a ten-year-old boy like my son, these are The Coolest.

But really, these events are *excruciable*. The moguls is nothing more than shitty skiing (making a straight line down a very bumpy hill may be difficult, but it's still a worthless exercise) combined with aerials and those horrid Style Points. Short-track skating is just Roller Derby on ice. Yeah Apollo, it's ROLLER DERBY ON ICE.

And both are just dumbass X-Gaming anyway. The X-Games are fine...but doling out Olympic Gold Medals for it? The Greek Gods will extract revenge upon those who have allowed this to happen.

Comment number: 005940   Posted by: tvaltharp on February 16, 2006 09:11 AM from IP: 216.165.185.114

The 2006 olympics at their best/worst:

1) Johnny Weir's interview where he vows to "fight the figure skating establishment" closely followed by his short program skating to music from Swan Lake.

2) speech from the gold winner of the women's halfpipe: "I was standing up there and Gretchen went and just threw down so hard and I thought she had me, said Teter. "I was like, 'I'd better step it up'. I just wanted to step it up and do my thing and just go as big as possible and totally represent."

3) CNBC's news showing clips from the "hot women of curling" calendar. I sh*t you not.

Comment number: 005941   Posted by: jamie on February 16, 2006 11:13 AM from IP: 204.156.77.13

Skot expresses his deepest ice-skating wish. Damn, I wish I could see that...

*cheers erupt*
*roses fall on Skot*

I give this post a 10... for the intangibles.

Comment number: 005942   Posted by: S on February 16, 2006 12:21 PM from IP: 66.235.58.7

They could make figure skating ten times better just by requiring them to all skate at the same time. Blindfolded. Seeing Olga Whoevernov try to scoop up her intestines after a fellow competitor opened up her belly with a skate blade? I'd watch that, even on tape delay.

Comment number: 005946   Posted by: pcs on February 17, 2006 01:27 PM from IP: 71.252.61.112

Skot--King Kaufmann on Salon.com said pretty much the same thing in his column this morning. I'm in agreement. I wish to hell I could get the CBC here in New York so I could watch some better coverage.

Comment number: 005947   Posted by: Joe on February 17, 2006 01:33 PM from IP: 67.101.198.166

Deadspin.com posted your Olympics screed because I sent it to them. Because it is hilarious. Sorry about the bandwidth.
-D.

Comment number: 005948   Posted by: David on February 17, 2006 05:06 PM from IP: 151.200.32.116

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