Saturday, February 22, 2014

Memories of the Sochi Olympics

Time to make of list of the events that stood out in my mind from the 2014 Winter Olympics...

Biggest Disappointment
The US Men's Hockey Team!!  After losing to the Canadians 1 - 0 in the semi's, their pathetic effort in the Bronze Medal game was an embarrassment to hockey fans worldwide.   Forty-three year old Teemu Selanne scores twice for the Fins and 25 year old wonder boy, Patrick Kane, can't convert on 2 penalty shots!
I'd hang my head and cover my face, too if my effort was so lousy.

This may be, in a nutshell, why we need to exclude professional players from the Olympics.  All the NHL'ers will go home to their great lives in the USA, complete with amazing salaries and fan worship. They could give a rip if they won a bronze.  Amateurs have a whole different perspective.  The Olympic medal is the pinnacle, when they go home they return with extreme pride, sporting any medal draped around their neck.  Some will go on to professional careers, but at the moment they win the medal, it is the ultimate prize and will be celebrated and revered.  If the IOC had any guts, they would re-vamp the rules and let the pros watch the Olympics on TV.   Unfortunately, the networks are the real driving force behind having professionals in the Olympics.  The greed of the IOC keeps the boob tube mucky-mucks in charge.   And don't get me started on the Summer Olympics and basketball.......

Biggest Surprise
The USA and Canadian Women's hockey goalies.   WOW, have they come a long way.  Their agility and athleticism has gone through the roof since Vancouver.  Odds are that USA goalie Jessie Vetter would have done better between the pipes for the men than Jonathan Swift.

Biggest "Should We Have Re-thought That"
After suffering an injury, star S. Korea speed skater Ahn Hyun-soo found himself on the outside looking in for a spot on his country's Olympic team.

Enter the Russians, "Приедьте конек для нас (come skate for us)" they offered.  Good move Russia! 

So Ahn packed his bags, moved to Russia, changed his name to Viktor and started preparing for the games. Ahn skated away with 3 Golds and 1 Bronze.   The S. Korea team finished medal-less.   Karma really is a bear isn't it?

Biggest Controversy
I love it when their is a scandal to go along with the competitions.   It spices it up, it gives all the conspiracy theorists new life, it brings the element of the National Enquirer into the mix.   This winter, the judging for the women's figure skating took over this spot ("now that's something new", he says sarcastically).  Accusations of improprieties have hit the news.   All I know is that I liked watching the Kim Yu -Na's performance much more than that of gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova.

Best Entertainment Value
Enter the newbies, the unknown, the who-dat athletes who jump into the limelight.   We loves us the underdog and when one emerges from the back of the pack to become a leader, we cheer as loud as we can.  Athletes like 18 year-old skiing Gold Medalist Mikaela Shiffrin make us look forward to 2018.

Biggest "This Is What It's All About" Moment
When Russian X-Country skier, Anton Gafarov, fell hard and broke a ski, Canadian coach, Justin Wadsworth, ran to his aid.  Carrying a spare ski he had in hand in the event that one of his skiers had trouble, he fitted the ski on Gafarov and off the Russian went.   He finished 12th in his heat, but he finished, only because Wadsworth has the right attitude.   A Gold Medal from all us to the Best Sportsman in the 2014 Olympics, coach Justin Wadsworth of Canada.

I hope your Olympic spirit is catching (not like Costas' pink eye).

Best Sochi Souvenir
Slope style skier and Silver Medalist Gus Kenworthy is coming home not just with a medal, but with 5 dogs he rescued before the Sochi Pooch Patrol could carry out orders to execute all stray canines.   Dog lovers everywhere are making you poster-boy for animal rescue.  Nicely done.

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