1 - As Awesome as Being Locked in a Jail Cell with a Hungry Tiger
The start to the Vancouver games in general. The bad news began with the death of the Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili on Friday afternoon. After huge tragedies like the Haiti earthquake, it may seem a bit strange to get upset about a single athlete dying, especially one most of us have never heard of, but this one seemed particularly awful. It's part of human nature that the individual story will affect us in ways the epic disasters can't, and for the Georgian to die on the eve of participating in the Olympics got me in the gut.
Then, after a decent opening ceremony, the fourth pillar of the flame cauldron didn't rise from the ground. Normally, this would have been kinda funny. It reminded me a little of the scene in Spinal Tap where the tiny stonehenge statues descend from the ceiling. But in the wake of the luging death, it seemed important that things go right. There was also the Canadian aspect at play...I felt sort of like an older brother hoping his younger brother didn't screw up. Also, I wanted them to show that that it didn't take a year of forced labor, multiple deaths, and 350 billion dollars to stage a good performance, like in Beijing. So when the last pillar failed to rise, it was more than just a comic situation. It was aggravating and kinda sad.
Last, the weather. Rain screwed up the biathlon, warmth delayed the men's downhill, and fog almost canceled the moguls. Low scores for Vancouver all around.
2 - As Awesome as Being Locked in a Jail Cell with an Angry Tamil Tiger
This one goes to Tim Burke's rough showing in the 10km Biathlon event on Sunday. If you've read the blog lately, you know Tim is from my home town, and that we played basketball together for a year in middle school. Anyway, he missed 3 of 10 targets on the range, and then a rainstorm started, made the snow slushy, and screwed everyone who didn't start within the first 10 competitors anyway (it's a staggered start in biathlon).
This was doubly shitty because of NBC's coverage. Up until that point, I'd been reasonably happy with the network's performance. Covering the winter games is much easier than summer, since there are fewer events. But when the biathlon started, they talked and talked about Tim, and how America has never won a medal in the event, and on and on. But then they didn't show him start. We barely got back for his first turn at the range, and then they didn't show his second turn. Come on guys, really? That's only the most important part of the race. Instead, I shit you not, they showed some Slovakian guy who was not in the running for a medal, and went to commercial. When they came back, Tim was finishing in 30th place or something.
3 - As Awesome as Being Locked in a Jail Cell with a Drunk Detroit Tiger (Miguel Cabrera)
To Bill Demong's ski jumping effort on Sunday morning. Again, this is an athlete from my hometown. You can read his story in this post, but basically he's been at the Olympics since Nagano, suffered a horrible skull injury by diving into a shallow pool, lost his long and short term memory, and now he's back with a medal shot.
His event is the nordic combined, which is half ski jumping and half cross country race. Each competitor's jump determines when he starts in the race, so it's pretty important. Unfortunately, Bill only jumped 96.5 meters, which put him at a huge disadvantage. He had to start 80 seconds behind the leader, which the NBC expert said put him out of the running. More on this later.
4 - As Awesome as Being Locked in a Jail Cell with a Horny Tiger Woods
Syracuse going down to Louisville at home. After Duke, the Cuse is my favorite team, and I was hoping they'd run the table in the big east and get a 1 seed in the regional. In that case, they'd be playing the sweet 16 and elite 8 games at home in the Carrier Dome. This is still very possible if they win out, but the home loss to Pitino's Convicts throws a kink into the plans.
5 - As Awesome as Being Locked in a Jail Cell with an Average Tiger Lily.
Stephen Curry finishing second in the NBA 3-point shooting contest. Not as great as him winning, but not bad either. He only came a few short of Pierce in the finals. Hey, did I mention that Curry averaged like 28 points in the month of January? Or that he averages 35 a game when Monta Ellis is out? Or that he had a triple double with 36 points last week, and the only other rookies to do that were Michael Jordan, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, and Jason Kidd?
And did I mention that the Knicks were one draft pick away from landing him? And that we got someone named Jordan Hill instead? And that Hill never plays?
Am I mentioning enough things?
6 - As Awesome as Being Locked in a Jail Cell with a Fucking Gorgeous Tiger Lily
Alexandre Bilodeau winning Canada's first gold medal on home soil. Wow. I couldn't believe it when I heard that the country didn't win a single gold in Montreal or Calgary. Big shocker. But Bilodeau's win was a nice moment, especially coming over some internet spam mogul (oops) who was born in Vancouver but defected to Australia and won a gold in the same event in '06. Seriously. Good work, northern neighbors.
Potentially awkward question for Canadians: does it make any less cool that the guy who won the gold was French-Canadian, and from the province that almost voted to secede a few years ago? Would you have preferred it was someone from BC or Nova Scotia or something? Is this question making you blush?
7 - As Awesome as Being Locked in a Jail Cell with a Real Tiger, but You Beat Him in a Wrestling Contest and Become a Hotshot in the Prison
Hannah Kearney winning America's first gold. Clutch run gets the job done.
Was anyone else really annoyed at the other American, Shannon Bahrke, who ended up winning the bronze? First off, she made a big show of being real bubbly and perky and everything, which I guess is fine. But after her run, the next American crashed on her jump, and Bahrke came way out to hug her in a real melodramatic way, and held on forever. Then Heil, the Canadian, who seems really nice and cool, took Bahrke's gold medal position away with a great run, and Bahrke was incredibly cold to her. Finally, when Kearney won, Bahrke basically mobbed her and made the amount about her as much as possible.
I just got the feeling I would not like this person. (And look, she made this entry mostly about her...selfish!)
8 - As Awesome as Being in a Jail Cell with a Drunk Detroit Tiger (Dontrelle Willis)
He'd have to be fun, right? This goes to Apolo Ohno and J.R. Celski for winning silver and bronze on an unbelievable wipe-out by the South Koreans. In the finals of the 1500, three South Koreans ran a really nice race. In the last lap, they made a bunch of moves and ended up in the top 3 positions. I was rooting hard for Ohno, and the sight of the three blue suits made me want to puke. And then Lee Ho-Suk from South Korea tried to make a final move, and ended up taking out himself and his countrymen. A surprised Ohno skated in for the silver, with Celksi on his heels.
Short track is a wild, weird sport. It might be my favorite part of the winter games. Top 5, for sure.
9 - As Awesome as Being in a Jail Cell with Tiger Woods, but he's not Horny and he Wants to have a Putting Contest
Billy Demong's cross country race. After starting a minute and half behind, he was blazing the trail, and eventually caught up to the leaders. It was incredible. I was on the phone with my mom, and we were screaming as he kept erasing time from the lead. The whole thing seemed impossible, but all the sudden he was in fifth place. We really thought he'd medal. Unfortunately, as he admitted in a post-race interview, the effort to catch up gassed him. "I was toast on the last lap," were his exact words.
Still, the effort was heroic. Inspiring, even. I'm expecting huge things in the long hill event. Saranac Lake will get a medal yet!
10 - As Awesome as Disguising Myself as a Tamil Tiger in a Foreign Jail, Earning Their Trust, and Uncovering a Plot to Kidnap America's Top Pop Culture Icons
What else, baby???? DUKKKKEEEE! Coach K's 1000th game in Durham! And how about a career game for Ole Snowshoes himself, Brian Zoubek??
77-56. Eat it, T(w)erps.