The “interesting dichotomy” of Olympic athletes

I love the Olympics. The Games offer such an interesting dichotomy – athletes’ attitudes at the beginning and end of the Games.

In the beginning, everybody looks so cocky and cool. They all think they’re going to win, but never actually say so. They all say, “I’m just happy to compete in the Games and represent my country.”

Now, if I was an Olympic luger, I’d probably be happy to represent my country. I might even say so. But I’m 260 pounds. If I got on one of those sleds, I’d kick some Swedish luge ass.

Can’t you see me telling Jim Nantz, “If I don’t fall, Jim, the gold is mine. I outweigh the last gold medalist by 120 pounds. The sport is basically sledding, anyway, and I’ve been practicing for years with my cafeteria tray.”

Wouldn’t that be refreshing, to see some NBA attitude in the Olympics? Like one of those huge Russian skating coaches shouting, “No, Ilsa! I asked for a double lutz-triple sow cow! You stupid athlete! Yeltsin’s liver will drown if you don’t bring home gold!”

Of course, the tiny little skater would then start to choke the coach and threaten to kill him if she isn’t traded to the Kazakstan national squad.

Personally, I think the Olympics should have a halftime show, like football. They have really big opening and closing ceremonies, so why not a halftime show? Imagine it: The Olympic stadium, filled with anxious athletes, ready to represent their counties and participate in these Olympics. A puff of smoke, then: Diana Ross, the Spice Girls and Omar Sharif revisit Motown!

Just like the Super Bowl, they would need to lip sync. Badly. It’s not like it would matter, all of the athletes would have translators anyway and the show would look like a Kung Fu movie.

Countries need mascots to prowl the games and occasionally give away tee-shirts and stuff. Wouldn’t it be cool if a big Russian bear gave you a bottle of Vodka and then crowd-surfed into the curling match below? Or if a guy that looks like Aristotle Onassis gave you a bottle of olive oil and shouted, “Let’s get ready to rumble!” That’d certainly liven things up a bit when you curl.

trygAnd what’s the deal with those skating judges, anyway? I watched some figure skating this week. (I was waiting for USA Hockey, I swear.) There was this Russian pair who fell twice, and got better marks than the USA pair who didn’t fall.

I’m not into figure skating at all. I would have thought that if you fell to your hands and knees, or dropped a little girl onto her knees instead of completing your death spiral, you’d get downgraded. But like I said, I’m not into that kind of thing. Really.

You’ve got to be trained specifically to be a TV commentator for the Olympics. I watched some men’s downhill skiing Thursday night (I was waiting for USA Hockey. I swear!) and was really impressed by all the violence.

I thought the commentator was making stuff up. She would say something like, “Oh no! Yohann Klipshenbergenhauf moved his ski to a 47-degree angle instead of the 49 he needs! That will cost him the silver medal!”

She kept talking about how the skiers were affected by the moving of one gate to the right. I didn’t believe her until two guys fell down the mountain and had to be airlifted out. I totally forgot about USA hockey at that point.

CBS kept switching back and forth from speed skating and other events, and once I watched it for a bit, I understood why. It’s a female sport. All of those Norwegians in the red body suits and thighs the size of oak trees make Tom Jones look small. (Women: You know what I’m talking about.)

And then the end of the Olympics comes, and the athletes all gather together again. The ones who won “can’t believe it.” The ones who lost “were waiting for USA Hockey.” And me, well, I’m just happy to watch on behalf of my country.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.