Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thoughts on the Olympics So Far

Since the U.S. is not traditionally strong in the Winter Games, watching our athletes do so good the last 10½ days -- for the second Winter Games in a row -- has been very satisfying. As of the moment I am typing this, we lead the overall medal count with 31 (ahead of Germany’s 26 and Norway’s 19) and are in a three-way tie for most gold medals (we, Germany, and Canada have eight apiece).

One of my favorite things about these Olympics has been watching our men’s hockey team assert itself as a true force. Heading into the semifinals, Team U.S.A. is the only one not to have lost a game. But I am getting very nervous about the way everyone is taking it for granted we will face Team Canada for the gold, while nobody is talking about the fact we have to get by Finland first. Last time I checked, the Finns are the defending silver medalists while we are defending nothing-ists, and their roster is chock full of NHL stars like Teemu Selanne and Miikka Kiprusoff. We have done very good, but are still a long way from winning a medal…and a long, long way from winning gold.

Speaking of hockey -- and how much work lies ahead for Team U.S.A. -- how about Team Canada last night? They didn’t just beat the Russians, they kicked the living shit out of them. If we face the Canadians again, I want to beat ’em again, but I took some continental pride in the way the way took the fight right to the Russians from the second Dan Boyle leveled Alexander Ovechkin. Kind of proved the old cliché that Europeans are into fancy skating while North Americans are into manly beat-downs.

And lastly, I have to say this because nobody else will: Apolo Anton Ohno is a bit overrated. I like him, and I do appreciate that he has won seven medals in his career, but I want to vomit when the eunuchs who now pass for sports journalists start getting gushy and calling him America’s “most decorated” Winter Olympian. He has won two gold medals in three Olympics. But Bonnie Bair won five golds in the same number of Olympics, and Eric Heiden won five golds in just one. Three other Americans participating this year -- Shaun White, Shani Davis, and Lindsey Vonn -- have appeared in fewer Olympics that Ohno but have already matched his number of golds, and two of those three (Davis and Vonn) also have non-golds on their resume.

There are a few more days to go. Let them be good, and may America’s success continue!

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