Monday, February 17, 2014

Missing the Olympic excitement of yore

Normally I feel like the Olympics are these two grand weeks where we all become over invested in sports and athletes that we do not care about for another 4 years.  You always end up overhearing some random conversation at the office about "Can you believe that luge finish last night?"  It's what the Olympics are all about!

But this year? I am having a hard time getting emotionally invested in any part of the games. And it's not for lack of trying. A snowstorm, frigid temps, and a long holiday weekend, I have nothing but time! And it started out strong. There were some epic Fashion Police texts with friends during the Opening Ceremony parade of athletes. But since then, it has just been various shades of blah.

And I have been trying to figure out why. There is no clear cut reason but I have some theories.

1. It is currently colder and there is more fresh snow in DC than there is in Sochi. Do they not do climate studies of Olympic sites? That there are skiers going sleeveless and news anchors are not wearing coats while I have to put 15 layers on and scale a snow bank to cross the street to go to the grocery store just makes me angry and resent the Olympics games a little. I want my winter Olympics to be filled with athletes and reporters and fans wearing puffy coats, hats, and scarves for functional purposes and not fashionable purposes. I want to be the one wearing them for fashionable purposes and not functional ones.  (My apologies to team Bermuda. During the Opening Ceremony, I mocked the athlete from Bermuda with a "we get it, your country is famous for the shorts. But it's the Winter Olympics." comment. As it turns out, he was the only one properly attired.)

2. There's no athlete that's the face of the Olympics.  There is always the one or two athletes who not only get all the hype beforehand but also then do really well at the Olympics and we all love them and get all excited. There is also that one athlete who is kind of a rebel/jerk and we kind of hate him/her but we still watch. There's just not those people this year. It's like Shaun White got a grown-up haircut and became boring. I mean, it happens. But when you are something cool like a snowboarder, you hope it doesn't. (Also, he must have the best PR team in the business. Never has a celebrity tantrum/destruction of a hotel room been so efficiently swept under the carpet. It would be prefix to any other celeb/athlete/politician's name from now until forever. But no one ever even mentions it with him. So strange! I feel like every-young-celeb-destined-for-a-meltdown might want to look into hiring White's publicist.)

3. The drama in figure skating this year seems all so…manufactured? I mean, the Russian figure skater (Plushenko?) withdrew before he skated. In Olympics figure skating dramatic moments of yore, he would have had a very dramatic moment DURING his skate. Possibly in front of the judges. Maybe with tears. And his arch nemesis would have been next to skate and glaring at him for creating a distraction.  And allegedly the top two American women's skaters (whose names I am blanking on. Didn't figure skaters used to be household names?) hate each other. But that's all we know. Lame. I mean, for those of use who lived through the Harding-Kerrigan scandal and French judge scoring scandal, our bar for figure skating scandal is SO MUCH HIGHER.

4. The figure skating scoring system sucks all the drama from the event. Damn you French judge in 2002.

5. The Internet ruins everything! (I feel like I need to follow this up with another old person phrase like "YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!") But you know the results before the primetime starts. It's hard to avoid them and everyone hates that person who expects everyone around them to be all SPOILER ALERT; it just isn't feasible in modern technological times. 

6. I do not understand what "slopestyle" means. America appears to be really good at it and I want to get excited about it but what is it? Are we just making up sports now? From the clips I have seen it appears to be gymnastics on skis or snowboards. But I thought that was covered by some other sport.

7. I don't think I can say this without sounded like a poor sport, but America isn't doing so awesome these Olympics, is it? I mean we are still winning things (we seem to be really good at bronze this Olympics) but I just expect us to be REALLY good at Olympics. So when I look at the medal count and see the American gold medal count at just four, all I can think is "that's all?" (We were really good in Vancouver, right? I am in not imaging that, am I? Or I am just brainwashed by how good we were at running, swimming, and somersaulting in the Summer Olympics?)

There are some bright spots though.

1. I really do feel bad for Bob Costas' eye infection situation. Mainly because whether it is pink eye or not, any adult with an eye infection is instantly subjected to an unlimited number of "Who over the age 8 gets pink eye?" jokes. It is honestly the most annoying part of having an eye infection: eye drops can cure the infection, nothing cures the inane comments that accompany it. But seriously, Bob, these are the two biggest weeks of your year every other year. And the problems with the water were well publicized before you left. No one would have judged you if you would have had a diva moment and demanded bottled Fuji water be shipped in just for you. I actually judge you a little for not making that demand. 

2. The three American men who swept the ski slopestyle are adorable and humble. Granted, they are young and look like they could be the cast of whatever trainwreck show ABC Family creates next and I just sort of hope they stay adorable and humble and/or have people surrounding them who are not totally crazy so they don't go all Justin Bieber on us.  Slopestyle boys, just say no to drag racing and egging your neighbor's house. (That one of them already has created a hashtag to get dates makes me a little nervous for them.)

3. I am really enjoying how quick everyone is to blame the uniforms for how badly the speed skaters are doing. It's the outfit's fault? Can we all start using that excuse? "I wrote this computer code poorly because my outfit is a wool-blend today."  Come on. Basic rule of fashion, you give an outfit a test run before a high profile wearing. For the average person, that means checking to make sure it does not cling or fall oddly so that when you wear it you are totally comfortable. Or to see if you need alterations or wardrobe tape. For an Olympic athlete, you test out the outfit! I mean, they did this, right? If they didn't, well, that's just dumb. But if they did, don't blame the outfits. Maybe everyone else just got better. (*I will 100% take this statement back if an evaluation of the outfits determines they were at fault. But I doubt it.) 

4. Everyone does seem really into hockey. I am really into the fact that my evening train commutes get a two week break from Caps fans heading to the games. They never wear jackets to the games and I just don't understand and it bothers me. Do they wear fourteen layers of clothing under the jerseys they sport? Because it is freezing.

5. The Today Show is never better than when they are at the Olympics. I normally never to get to watch it but a snow day and a few days off for the President's Day weekend have allowed me to tune in and it is always entertaining.

6. Ice dancing! When did America get so good at it? The American ice dancers seem delightful!

But there are seven days left to the Olympics so maybe there's hope. I mean Curling really heats up this week so JACKPOT! 


  1. Thank you for pointing out the "blaming on the uniform." I hate to sound rude, but..maybe it's just not their year, and they are just not as fast as everyone else. If they tested out uniforms BEFORE and one brand over the other made a difference, then that is something that should have been determined before they competed.

    My favorite thing to watch (and I'm pretty much not watching) was when Noelle Pickus-Pace won and scaled the wall to hug her husband and children. She seems genuine, not artificial and just seemed so happy to have won.

  2. Ha! You weren't alone with these Olympics, Rebecca. There was just something off about them, and you nailed all of the potential reasons above. I usually LOVE Olympics, and I did enjoy quite a bit of the ice dancing, women's skating, and curling (while the US were in, so really only the first week), but that was really it. I actually enjoyed the Kerrigan/Hardigan special on the final night more than any of the Olympic events! I'm also a fan of the Today Show during these rare two weeks every two years, but with Sochi, I just kept feeling irritated that they were around palm trees and talking about the spring like weather. The athletes had a tone of dissatisfaction as well (or maybe I'm just projecting...). I missed Missy Franklin, big time. :) One of these years I'm going to the Games -- it may not be Rio (it definitely won't be southern Russia), but it's on my bucket list! Hope you're doing well!