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Olympic Madness Open Thread

by Izzy Mon Feb 20th, 2006 at 05:18:40 PM EST

from the diaries. -- Jérôme

I know you're all counting on me for your up-to-the-minute Olympic coverage, but let's forget about medals and all that for a minute.  Is it the winning that counts?  or the trying?

Oh, sure.  I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking that I'm getting all philosophical NOW.  Now that the United States Olympic team is sucking big time.  But, no.  I assure you that is not it.  Really.  

I mean, what are medals anyway?  Especially ones with HOLES in the middle?  Who needs them?  Because we all know there are NO LOSERS at the Olympics, right?  It's really all about the people.  The humanity, if you will.  

So follow me after the jump as I ponder the larger questions:  how drunk is our ski team?  can a rocket powered car do better?  did the men's figure skaters really crumble under the pressure of my scrutiny?  and why the hell IS there a hole in the medals anyway?


The medal question is probably the easiest to answer.  As I suspected all along, it turns out there is some sort of meaning behind it.  Not just one meaning, but two!  Italian designer Dario Quatrini explains that it is meant to symbolize an Italian piazza, or, ahem, city square.

In case that explanation doesn't fly, the Torino Olympic Committee has another meaning:  "Circling and revealing the area near the heart and focusing attention on the athlete's vital energy and human emotions."

But Torino is far from the first city to mess around with the medals:

The Winter Games, unlike the Summer Olympics allows organizers great freedom in designing the shape and size and content of medals. That, as well as creating the competitions' logos and slogans, are all done at the local level.

At the 1994 Lillehammer Games in Norway, for instance, the medals contained sparagmite, a stone extracted from the ski jump site. At Nagano in 1998, Japanese organizers used lacquer. In 2002, at Salt Lake City, the medals weren't round at all, but rather had uneven edges that were supposed to look like river rocks found in Utah streams and rivers.

Some critics said they resembled cow pies.

The question of the drunkenness of skiiers is, perhaps, unanswerable.  It's not like anyone's going to approach these noble athletes and subject them to the indignities of peeing in a cup, right?  

But luckily for us, the good people at the BBC show, Top Gear, have answered the question about the skiing car.  Even luckier, since I don't get the BBC, You Tube has the video.  I really owe Metatone for bringing this to my attention.  So far, nothing in the Olympics has been as satisfying as watching a rocket-powered mini go down the ski jump at Lillehammer.

And, finally, the most important question of these Olympics:  what the hell happened in the Men's Figure Skating Final?  why did every one of them stumble, fall, and wilt?  and most importantly, was it, as has been speculated, my fault?

I watched some in-depth analysis today and, while I wasn't mentioned by name, everyone else was wondering, too.  "What happened to the men?" was the question on everyone's lips.  There were a couple of alternate explanations.

First, my own theory of "altitude" was eliminated when Fran pointed out that Torino is, well, not exactly in the mountains.  Indeed, it is only about 700 feet above sea level.  I will note that the so-called "professional" commentators never even considered this option.  A failure of imagination, if you ask me.

Their theory was that it had to do with the new scoring system.  This is the first Olympics that's used it.  It rewards skaters for making the entrance to jumps more complicated, for footwork, changing edges and the like.  It also gives extra points for any elements completed in the second half of the program.  Evidently, the poor dears just tired themselves out.

I should, however, mention that there was another observation from former pair's skater, Jamie Sale.  She said that in the warm-up before the competition, things had gotten a little testy with the guys trying to out do each other (I can't see the warm-ups, boys!).  She said they just exhausted themselves with one-upping and got in the way of each other's elements.  

This was brushed aside by her partner, David Pelletier, but I think she was on to something.  I mean, these guys are competitive or they wouldn't be there, right?  I can totally see it.  Whichever explanation it is, whether they wore each other out in warm-up or through loading the programs, I think it's pretty clear that testosterone did these guys in.  I'm in the clear!

And, finally, I'll leave you with some actual news.  The figure skating dance compulseries were today.  As some of you are aware, I have all my Olympic hopes and dreams pinned on Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto.  (Also, Sasha Cohen, but I'm scared to admit that publicly.)

Belbin and Agosto came in sixth and I am outraged!  I mean, the Bulgarians should have lost some points just for their outfits.  No one should waltz in moss green!  Everyone knows that.  The original and free dances will be held Sunday and Monday.

Most importantly, THERE IS LESS THAN ONE AND A HALF POINTS BETWEEN FIRST AND SIXTH PLACE!  ONLY ONE BOBBLED TWIZZLE LIES BETWEEN VICTORY AND ABJECT FAILURE!!

But I'm totally cool with that.  I mean, it's not about the medals.  It's about the sport.  And... and good sportsmanship.  And the people.  And, perhaps, man's inhumanity to man and all that.  We'll see in a couple of days.

Display:
In first place were Italian team, Barbara Fusar Poli and Maurizio Margaglio.  It was great to see the home team do so well.  The crowd was ecstatic.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 02:19:06 AM EST
Things were pretty close after the waltz, which I only caught glimpses of. I'm not sure about orange-pink for the waltz either...

How did Navka and Kostomarov do? Are they lurking close by waiting to pounce?

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 03:09:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, yeah.  They're in second.  There really are only 1.42 points between first and sixth.  Sunday's skate should be interesting.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 03:14:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
great picture!!

great diary..

great everything!!!

A pity I have no TV.....to see these status competition..they are great. But no TV around here.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 10:58:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No TV?!?  Now that's really a shame.  I was thinking how much you'd enjoy tomorrow's ice dancing in which everyone with skate to a Latin combination rhythm:  cha-cha, rumba, samba, mambo, merengue and salsa.  I'll have to post some photos of the highlights for you.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 02:18:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes....Yes...

I like ice skating.

Good for Iccy.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 02:24:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They must have won the gold medal for the kitschiest outfits!


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 02:20:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great diary BTW!
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 03:09:31 AM EST
Thanks -- and thanks also for telling me about the mini ski jump!  That was hysterical.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 03:15:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hehe, best olympic event I ever saw...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 03:47:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rocket-powered mini ski jump:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 04:01:55 AM EST
I've been invited to a waltz-on-ice tomorrow evening and I'm not sure what to wear. I'm especially worried now to read that moss green (and possibly orange pink) are not the right kind of colours.

I've got a full-sleeved lime-green shirt and a pair of canary yellow velvet flares left over from the disco seventies, would they be OK for waltzing? I'm worried about this. Can you advise me?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 07:36:36 AM EST
afew,

A goat with your style and panache has nothing to worry about. No doubt the sight of you waltzing in lime-green shirt and canary yellow flares will immediately communicate your very special character to all concerned.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 08:43:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree.  I think afew should have no problem, but he's also instinctively chosen the correct colors for the waltz.  

Metatone -- you've confused everyone with your dislike of the orange-pink which is, as I'm sure you're aware, a perfectly acceptable waltzing color.

The rules for waltz are very simple -- the traditional black and white, or any color that would look delicious if it was a sorbet.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 02:27:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I'm not fond of pink-orange coloured sorbets either!  :-P
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 02:45:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, there you go.  You've let personal preference affect your professional judgment.  That is NOT what they're paying us for!  Tsk, tsk.  

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 02:49:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OMFG, journalistic integrity!

(see, Izzy, you got it out of me for the second time)

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 02:51:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You just made my day.  I live for these moments.  It's always the small things in life, isn't it?

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 02:52:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope you will forgive me for completely ignoring the Olympics otherwise.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 02:53:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing to forgive, my friend.  It's only in politics that the apathy of bystanders is considered a sin.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 02:58:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't believe in sin.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 03:00:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I knew there was a reason I liked you!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 03:06:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apart from the fact that I know where Loma Linda is?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 03:57:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That actually counts against you, although I try to bear in mind it's not your fault.  The problem is entirely my own.  But also on the plus side -- your Mad Math Skillz! :-)

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 04:10:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you seen "Mad Math beyond Fullerdome"?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 05:03:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you've been invited to waltz-on-ice by Dick Cheney, make sure to wear something orange. In any case, don't dress like a 78 years old attorney...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 02:18:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I'd stay away from anything in the Red spectrum including orange.  It only seems to inflame him.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 02:51:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you think he'd be able to control his itchy trigger-finger if he saw a goat in a Guantanamo jumpsuit?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 03:09:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Izzy, thanks for the report. I am slowly starting to become aware at all the challenges and finesses involved in Olympic competions and races. I really can just imagine the horrors of moos-green, good thing they didn't have to put a gold- medal with hole in the middle on it on that outfit. However, pink-orange can be considered esoterically the color of vital-energy and seems to have benefited the Italien couple well. :-)
by Fran on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 01:44:07 PM EST
I couldn't agree more, Fran.  There was nothing wrong with that pink!

And, honestly, you're lucky you didn't have to see the moss green.  It was quite horrifying and I felt a bit shook up for some time afterwards.  Also, in an attempt to spare the readers, I left out the worst part -- the outfits were moss green and purple.  

Even as I write the words, I'm doubting it could have happened -- purple?  am I sure?  who would do such a thing?  should I look for photographic evidence?  what if I can't find it?  will I have to forever live with the suspicion that my own mind might have conjured such a thing? -- No.  Best to leave such thoughts un-thunk.  We shall speak no more of it.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 18th, 2006 at 02:39:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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