Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Games of the Olympiad

Every 4 years, the sporting world as we know it takes a small hiatus from the overindulgence and excess that goes hand in hand with multi-million dollar contracts and endorsements to recognize the amateur ranks and it's respective superstars. I love the Olympics. I'm a little more interested in the summer games than winter, but never the less, I love them. I'll get home, clean my apartment, do some laundry, cook some dinner, work out, and what ever else all the while with the Games on T.V. in the background. Sometimes it's just ambiant sound, and sometimes I'm totally enthralled by what's going on.

It's a relief to me to see people compete in this way. I suppose I feel that a lot of athletes are often overpaid and yes, it bothers me a bit when someone who has been signed to a hundred-million dollar basketball contract argues that the NBA should allow a clothing stipended due to a dress code policy. But I don't all together mind the idea of MLB players making a few million a season. That goes for the NBA, NHL, and so on as well. These people have worked hard to become the athletes they are, and they give a lot of time to their occupations. It may be more fun than your regular 9-5 job, but still, it's time that they are required to be somewhere other than where they may choose, and it's time that they are not spending with family or friends. But the purity of the Olympics is amazing. You win? No money. You loose? No money...and you suck. No salaries, no agents, all country, all pride.

If you flipped the channels you probably didn't watch curling. You've all heard of it. That's where they push the big rock with a handle down the ice and people sweep the ice in front to guide the stone into place on a target or to hit another teams stone. Cassie Johnson at 24 is the captain of the U.S. women's team and this is only her first Olympics. "I have confidence in every member of my team" she says. "I want to be a PART of the last shot weather throwing or sweeping."

Or maybe you saw Lindsey Kildow finish 8th in her downhill run in the medal round and though "Damn...lost another medal." But who knows that the day before she took a spill requiring her to be airlifted off the mountain and spend the night in the ER? No excuses did she offer. Not for falling, or finsihing 8th. Just a promise to be back in 2010.

Then I have to turn on the news and see this...

Bode Miller and Lindsey Jaconbellis. These are two of the brightest stars the U.S. has to offer in their respective fields. Now for those who don't keep an eye on ESPN or the nightly sports report on the news, Bode Miller is the ski-whiz that was supposed to anchor the U.S. ski team and be the best shot for gold. And this God-given waste of talent goes on T.V. several times over, admitting to skiing while stoned, and furthermore, he promotes the idea of doing it. He goes to Torino, and in his first of 5 events, finishes out of medal contention. His second event, the conbined downhill, he come in 4th, and then turns in a gold medal winning time in the second event only be disqualified for having missed a gate. I don't condone the idea of using drugs, but to each his own. I'm not his momma. But the idea of seeing nothing wrong with getting high and then going skiing at 60 plus miles per hour, not to mention promoting trying it, might be just a tad on the irresponsible side. You come in 6th in your first event, maybe nerves got to you. You still did better than I would have done. You get booted from your second event for a mental and technical error, that's a shame but I guess it happens. But when your response to the camera is scoffing "So what? All that means is I don't have to go down to Torino tomorrow for the medal ceremony" you really have done yourself no justice. And now this guy is going to represent the country in 3 more events?

Smoke more weed Bode...seriously...smoke more weed.

Lindsey Jacobellis is a rising star on a snowboard. With the addition of Snowboard Cross racing in the Olympics, she proved that she was the one to beat in the 4 person, downhill obsitcle course. With a substantial lead in the gold medal race she needed to do was stay on her feet, win the gold, and collect the medal. Instead, she decides to hot-dog on of the final jumps, wipe out, surrender a nearly 20 second lead, and cross the finish line to take the silver. A 20 second lead she gave up. In a race that is measures tenths and hundreths of seconds as significant amounts of time, 20 seconds is roughly a half hour! And her response? "Oh no I really wasn't trying to show off" and "no I don't really get disappointed about loosing."

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! Are people really so stuck on the idea that there is no money or bonuses or concessions on the line that they really don't care if they win or loose in the biggest sports forum that exists or ever existed?

No contrition for the mental errors. No apologies for sounding foolish while representing their country. No remourse for suggesting that people should strap skis to their bodies and bomb down a hill under the influence of a controlled substance. No concern for disappointing coaches, families, teammates, fans, or anyone else who believed in them and sacraficed anything at all to help them get to the grandest stage in the world and watch their efforts fall short.

And in an athletic courtroom of public opinion, this is the best that the U.S. has to offer?


Blogger Katrina said...

Very well written. I am sick of the spoiled brats we have representing the USA this year. I can't wait for the summer games where the athletes of the world are still identified with the colors of the country they are representing and still care about winning and loosing. Contrary to the opinion of some of the USA Team members this is not just a party… some of us still care about the Gold.

11:54 AM  

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