Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Oh, Oh Olympics: Rants and Raves

The announcers who talk about "these girls" when referring to the female athletes, especially when they're referring to "these girls" in their 30s. (I can understand it a little better when they're actually talking about, say, young teenage gymnasts.) Ditto for the announcers who make it sound like they're advertising Ladies' Night at a bar when calling the women's competitions.
Edited to add: and what's up with the anchors? Where's Mary Carillo? She got to do much more coverage in Athens in 2004. That extended time-fill improvisation she did on badminton should have won an award.

Shaun White. This guy is an amazing athlete and his personality shines. He glows with Olympic spirit and good sportsmanship. And he was born with a serious heart defect, Tetralogy of Fallot. He has had two open heart surgeries, and will need to take prophylactic antibiotics before he has his teeth cleaned at the dentist's for the rest of his life. But look at what he's done. Powerful.

Rave and Rant:
Bode Miller and his detractors. Miller is also an incredible athlete, but I feel sorry for him. His many critics have been suggesting that he's a let-down and a failure to have not won Torino gold. There's no shame in placing as highly as he has in this field of competitors at the Olympics. Moreover, many many people are criticizing his "work ethic." I have some thoughts about that. First, I defy most of us to meet his work ethic. Miller competed in something like 136 competitions and took something like 1 weekend off in preparation for these games. That's not slacking on the couch, folks. And what about the party-animal rumors? I don't think that Bode skis a mental run. I think he fears overthinking his events, something many athletes fall prey to. I suspect that Miller performs best as an underdog, and to cope with all the hype, he sets himself up to be coming from behind. It's not an unusual strategy, and it has often worked quite well for him. And again, there's no shame in placing 7th or 9th in this field.

Michelle Kwan has handled herself with composure and grace as always, even in the face of critics like this asshat "mental health professional" (pity his clients!) who tells her "You're too old for the gold. Go home and rock that cradle." Sexist implications aside, he's flat wrong about her skill. Kwan is one of the most graceful and talented skaters in the world, still, today. And she has a lot more pressure on her than do some of the younger skaters, of whom not much is yet expected. Still, she holds up under the pressure, never cracking, rarely falling. And she put the team ahead of her ego, refusing to skate while injured.

Gentle Criticism:
Lindsey Jacobellis. Jacobellis had an incredible day. She had the gold locked up, and with it she would have clinched a U.S. lock on 4 snowboarding golds: men's and women's half-pipe and snowboard cross. But she celebrated early, hot-dogged a method air, and fell. She won silver. I don't blame her for showing off. I don't blame her for denying it in the first interviews. And I admire her for having the guts to sit down with that jerk, Bob Costas, to admit her mistake. I wish her luck in future competitions. But the Olympics aren't just another competition. Olympic athletes represent their countries in this competition moreso than they do anywhere else. I wish that Jacobellis had acknowledged that she let down her country (or her fans at home, if you prefer) with that unnecessary move, rather than just saying that she has "no regrets."

But I gotta go. I'm still two nights behind!


chasmyn said...

I had no idea about Shaun. Wow, just wow. He is my nre favorite:)

Sarahlynn said...

I know! Mine too.