Monday, February 24, 2014

There Is A Void

This morning when I woke up and turned on the TV and looked at my phone something was missing.  The backdrop of the Today Show was a standard TV studio in New York City and not the Olympic Village in Sochi.  My phone was not filled with notifications announcing the medal results from events that happened during the night on Sochi time.  I have to rediscover whatever I watched on TV before the Olympics took over.  Sigh.

It was a good Olympics.  It started out as kind of a joke and a buzzkill because Sochi appeared not to be ready and everyone who was there was complaining about how big of a mess everything was and how people were finding strangers and stray dogs occupying their hotel rooms and taking pictures of all sorts of strange bathroom arrangements.  Then Bob Costas showed up on TV with some sort of crazy eye infection like pink eye.  It couldn't have been that though, because pink eye can be treated in a day with eye drops and this persisted and spread and became the subject of all kinds of jokes on the Internet.  Poor Costas!  #SaveCostasEye!

I have been keeping a list in my head of Olympic highlights and it is hard to think back to the beginning now but I will try.  In no particular order, here are my favorite Olympic moments!

In general, I enjoyed seeing the triumph of several athletes that no one gave a crap about, both from the U.S. and around the world.  By no one giving a crap, I mean that they were unknown names that no one was really giving a chance because some superstar was getting all the attention. There was this guy:
He is the guy who beat Shaun White, also known as Iouri Podladtchikov.  He represented Switzerland, was born in Russia, and sounded like an American surfer in his interview.  He was so happy it was hard not to be excited for him, even though this guy and two Japanese athletes getting "our" medals that all of America was expecting was disappointing.  I could hear everyone saying "OWWW" at the same time when Shaun's tailbone it the edge of the half pipe. 

Then there was figure skating.  Through the whole Olympics no one would shut up about Julia Lipnitskaia, a fifteen year old Russian skating prodigy who was so serious she could barely crack a smile.  It was almost like the pressure was crushing her. 

She was a good, but I really hated her red costume that was supposed to look like a coat.  I know it is a tie in to her music from the movie "Schindler's List" but still...
Then, when it was time for the women's individual competition, this skater showed up:

Her name is Adelina, she is also Russian, and I had not heard her mentioned at all and then all of a sudden she won the gold medal!  I was really happy for her and she sure was radiant at the closing ceremony.  She was definitely having her moment of completely eclipsing the fifteen year old who got all the attention before. 

Also in skating, a day that stands out to me is the dramatic day in the men's competition when another Russian favorite, Evgeni Plushenko, the subject of endless swooning an gushing by the commentators, had to drop out because his old rickety body failed him.  At first I had a moment of triumph because I was so tired of hearing about him.  Those goof balls who commentate kept saying things about how other skaters "were honored just to be in the same room as him" even though they "had no chance of medaling" and I thought it was really annoying and unfair.  But then I saw how sad he was when he got injured during his warm up and heard his interview when he said, "I real people like you, I not robot" in his second language English and I suddenly really felt bad for him.  And now I have read that he is thinking about trying to compete in 2018 because he let Russia down.  The dude has had like 20 surgeries.  I hope he just decides to be happy with the career he has had and enjoy life with his family.  Russia will be fine!  They will get over it!

Awww, sad...

Then, after he disqualified himself, that nerd Scott Hamilton was like "Wow, now anyone has a chance!"  Well, duh, they always did.  And there are three medals so at least two other competitors had a chance even with Plushenko in the competition. 

Skiing and snowboarding were a favorite event of mine, as usual.  We are going skiing in Montana in a few weeks and watching skiing made me excited to feel the burn of skiing in my legs.  A highlight was the American medal sweep in men's slopestyle skiing.  Aww, those guys were cute.

Then it got even cuter when Gus Kenworthy, the silver medalist, decided to extend his stay in Sochi to work out details to rescue a bunch of stray puppies he had befriended.  Just when the situation couldn't get any cuter...

Oh no he didn't!

Now this is turning into a rambling stream consciousness.  Another favorite moment of mine was when American Jeremy Abbot, a figure skater, totally blew it and crashed into the wall of the rink during his performance. 

The moment was quickly forgotten since Abbott is kind of forgettable for a figure skater (in other words, he's not Johnny Wier and wears normal looking men's clothes as costumes and not flamboyant costumes with fringe and sparkle).  I was really moved by it though.  He really smashed into the wall hard, and it looked like he was going to give up after laying on the ice for a few seconds.  But then he  got up and everyone cheered that he was not seriously injured and he found his place with the music and finished his routine perfectly and ended with a smile.  USA USA USA!  I guess I like him because I remember when he was at the 2010 Olympics and I said he could be my brother because he looks like me (same color hair and eyes and also a red head with no freckles). 

Also inspiring to me was Stephen Holcomb, the bobsled driver.  He was inspiring, not only because of his story of overcoming obstacles and finding new life after a suicide attempt but also because he looks so normal and he is a parent in his 30s just like my boring self!  He strode around with no shame that his not exactly hard body wasn't made for skin tight body suits and didn't give a crap. 

He talked to the camera so casually as though he was talking to a friend.  It was refreshing.

Now, this will be fun.  Along with Julia's red coat dress higher up, here are some fashion disasters from the Olympics. 

I was really disgusted with this Swedish skier who wore size XXXXL clothes.  Come on dude, it's the OLYMPICS!  Even if you are wearing tights, you look like a fool with your butt showing!  He had a strap of some kind holding his pants up but still...

And of course, we can't leave out Johnny Wier.  He was not competing but was always around during figure skating.  This is actually a more subdued look compared to some of his other outfits during the Olympics but this was the best picture I could find.  I actually kind of like that necklace...

Also, who could forget the opening ceremony look, when all of America said, "Whaaaaat" at the same time as they got a glimpse of the Team USA costume? 

The sweaters had been revealed ahead of time and I guess after some thought I approve even though there were so many other options for a special keepsake outfit for the athletes that they will probably have forever.  Most of the other nations could have had better looking outfits too and I guess that through the years silly hats and wacky patterns are kind of an opening ceremony standard.  However, I don't think they had to look like the thrift shop sweater my brother wore to an ugly sweater party back in 2010. 

OK, enough of this nonsense.  It is time to move on as the memories of that exotic sounding Rosa Khutor ski resort and the bright patchwork graphics that were on all the Sochi 2014 venues and signs fade into the background.  I could talk about the Olympics all day but I have to do something with myself in the afternoon now that I don't have the excuse that "It's only on every four years!" as I waste the afternoon watching cross country skiing and heats of skeleton and luge.  By the way, I have NO interest in cross country skiing.  It looks terrible and the commentator used the phrase "swimming in lactic acid" while talking about cross country skiers during a race.  Yucky.  As a leg cramp sufferer that does not sound pleasant. 

As I read over this post I notice some issues with the pictures being huge and also not showing up.  Blogger has issues with copying and pasting pictures so hopefully they can be seen. 

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