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2006 Winter Olympics: Love and Rockets

Posted by Robyn / February 15, 2006

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Reason #48757 that working from home is great: getting to watch non-stop Olympic coverage on tv. Reason #48758: Believing that this is a perfectly decent excuse for a 50% drop in productivity.

Now, even though yelling "DEFENCE!" and "GET IN!" and "YOU GOT MUD ON YER FACE, YOU BIG DISGRACE, SOMEBODY BETTER PUT YOU BACK INTO YOUR PLACE" is one of my favourite things to do when given the chance, I'm not actually a giant crazed sports fan. However, the Winter Olympics warm my heart to an extent that no other sports event can. (World Cup Soccer comes close, but that might be due more to all the requisite beer drinking.)

What more can you ask for? It's a human-interest smorgasbord: amateur athletes going for gold, international recognition, possible financial compensation for all the years of struggle. Plus Canada doing what it's good at: being moderate-to-high achievers in a touted diplomatic niche event. It makes me love Canadian winter, it does. I want to skate, I want to ski, I want to strap myself to a board and hurl downhill wearing a spandex body stocking.

It's crazy! I have, in fact, been exercising every day since the Olympics started. Call it subconscious solidarity, call it inspiration, call it me being half-serious about the spandex bodysuit thing. I'm like, if these athletes can push themselves THAT HARD, then I can certainly run for 45 minutes on a freakin' treadmill. It's not like screaming down a 70% incline (decline?) covered in moguls. Or twisting my body THREE TIMES in the air while wearing blades on my feet and LANDING IT in time with the MUSIC. I'm in awe of it all.

So what happens is this: I wake up, I turn on the computer, I turn on the tv, I feed the cats, I put water on to boil, I go pee. This morning it dawned on me that maybe my priorities are slightly off. But that's ridiculous when it's so clear that watching Canada kick Italy's poor euro-asses in men's hockey is better than coffee (okay, maybe not Italian coffee, they've got us there, but it totally pwns whatever I've been drinking.) The Canada-U.S. finale will be like three espressos infused with dark chocolate.

Yes, there's a certain sadness in watching the asskicking that goes on when the Canadian men and women play anyone in hockey, but the contrast is kind of crazy to see. Sort of like watching the Dutch women's speedskating team pursuit prelims earlier today: they had the misfortune to be paired up with the German team. So where the Dutch looked like three people generally skating in unison, the Germans looked like ONE MACHINE. Kind of sad, but mostly kind of wow.
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The only way to top that speed and grace would be to add on those flaming rocket helmets those guys were wearing in the Opening Ceremonies. Which I'm still considering a form of false advertising. I'm also considering most of the Opening Ceremonies some form of symbolic parody, though I haven't figured out the referent yet. I guess if you can't say it in words, you can say it in DANCE. Extra points for scaring me.

So, for the next week and a half, we can all bask in the international glory, the country-specific defeat, the sweet sight of someone doing a lot of work and having it all pay off big time. I'm going to give right in and let my tepid little heart get warmer through the triform power of Olympics-love, exercise and beer. GO TEAM CANADA GO! And GO! all you other guys too!


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J Mac / February 16, 2006 at 09:31 am
I'm with you on the preference of Olympics of the winter variety, though I've never really considered my reasons for feeling that way. I love that all sorts of sports emerge that Canadians become knowledgable about for a total of two weeks, and then don't pay attention to for four years. When was the last time anyone watched luge? How do sportswriters develop the vocabulary, jargon, and background in order to write 800 word preview articles in the NY Times about bobsledding? (I wondered this very thing when reading the newswire last week.) How is that figure skating hasn't been split into something more "masculine" that involves grunting displays of exertion and pure physical oneupmanship instead of only musical performance judged by an international panel? (I'm picturing beefy guys and girls lined up at one end of a rink for the quintuple-axel event, where athletes skate, leap, spin five times, and are ranked by distance covered).
Ariadna / February 18, 2006 at 03:24 pm

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