Another edition of the Winter Games has come and gone, and while the last two weeks have been marked by triumph (the first American medals in Nordic Combined) as well as tragedy (Nickelback's closing ceremony performance), it's time to contemplate the important lessons we'll take away from Vancouver.
Canadians Are Pretty Cool
And not just because they gave us Bob and Doug McKenzie and Aldo Nova. I say this especially with regards to the decidedly laid-back opening ceremony (as opposed to Beijing's "Triumph of Authoritarianism") and Sunday's closing celebration, which spoofed the opening night's torch glitch, featured a larger-than-life version of the old Stiga tabeltop hockey games (with a little kid as the hockey puck, no less), unleashed inflatable beavers, and finally gave William Shatner the worldwide audiences he so desperately deserves. The 2010 Games were also the only Winter Olympics where I've ever heard so many people express a desire to live in the host city. Good on you Canada, we'll even forgive you for Nickelback. This time.
Steve Holcomb Gives Hope to 33 percent of Americans
I missed a lot of the Olympic bobsled coverage, and knew next to nothing about Team USA or pilot Steve Holcomb, who underwent risky eye surgery to correct the effects of keratoconus. So when I heard "Night Train" had won the gold and saw footage of the portly Holcomb in his spandex, I naturally assumed it was one of those spoof Bud Light commercials. If a big dude like that can pilot a team to the gold, it should provide inspiration to the 1/3 of this country that are overweight. Though the 34 percent of us that are classified as "obese" are probably out of luck.
Hockey is an Esoteric and Enigmatic Game
Okay, not really. Hell, I've played it myself, but I don't think I'm speaking out of turn when I say most Americans don't resent the Canadians for taking both gold medals in their national sport. Most of the people I've talked to about it would actually have felt kind of bad for the country as a whole if they hadn't pulled it off (even if had to be that crybaby dive artist Sidney Crosby who scored the winning goal). At least the womens' team knows how to celebrate.
The IOC Are a Bunch of Assholes
Speaking of the Canadian womens' hockey team, Gibert Felli (IOC executive director of the Games) said their post-game celebration was not a "good promotion of sports values," forcing an apology from Hockey Canada that was as unnecessary as it was unwanted by everyone without a gigantic stick in their ass. Meanwhile, the IOC turned a blind eye to numerous reports of human rights abuses leading up to the Beijing Games, and assumed moral -- but not judicial -- responsibility for the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who died on a track that athletes had been raising warnings about for over a year. Apparently accountability is not a "sports value."
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As Soon As Baseball Season Starts, Curling Will Sadly Fade Back into Obscurity
Curling clubs are once again offering discounts to the curious who saw decidedly less-than-svelte athletes pushing stones and brooms around on TV and thought, "Hey, I sweep my kitchen floor every day and have occasionally thrown rocks...I can be an Olympian!" Fortunately for those actually dedicated to the sport, our attention spans are rapidly becoming indistinguishable from Dug's in Up, so nobody will remember their fascination in a few months. Unless your're one of the misguided who ordered a pair of replica Norwegian curling pants, or like me, you've developed an unhealthy fascination with Swiss curler Carmen Schäfer, that is.
And if you're serious, there is a Curling Club of Houston.