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.