I didn’t watch the Olympics last night

Not for any boycott reasons. Last night was the women’s long program and for years I have found Russian figure skaters to be mechanistic and boring.

But this is the first Olympics I haven’t been attracted to in its entirety. One old fart thing: I’m not excited by the vast increase in new “sports.” Most of these events look as if they arrived yesterday via surfer dude-type California youth who drop out of junior high school to follow their dreams into orthopedic hospitals.

What do teenagers know about death and neurological diagnoses?

At first, these weird sports, performed on silly ice-covered constructions (only this year, when I thought about it, did I understand why the half pipe is called half pipe), had a kind of “Shit! That is nuts!” quality of interest. But they don’t anymore. How many upsidedown flips in the air can one observer take in without pondering, “What is the meaning of life?”

Moreover, the, uh, color commentators have, to put it kindly, a limited vocabulary. About 70 percent of their expressions are clichés. They are irritating. I spend more time yelling at the yammering than watching the moves. And who invented names for those moves? Names such as “eight-forty-seven twisted grab with gluten-free unbuttered toast!” (I made that one up. I think.)

I used to enjoy, I do not know why, watching straight-forward skiing. You know, people going 80 mph down an endless slope of twists and turns. What did I find compelling? Whatever it was, it no longer compels me.

What is left to me have been the figure skating events not entirely dominated by the Russians, so tonight I’ll watch the pair skaters, but without much enthusiasm. (Prediction: half of the women will fall on a triple throw, half of the men will fall on a side-by-side triple jump.)

What is interesting is how many American figure skaters have gone to top flight colleges, and how many wind up as physicians. Tenley Albright was the first I recall and today’s Karen Chen is on a med school track at Cornell.

A note to future Olympic committees, the NFL and NBC:

  1. You must consider cutting back on the crazy new “sports.” You have gone at least One Slippery Railing Too Far.
  2. Never again should Johnny Weir comment on ice dancing. He who, after one dance raved, “Never in my life have I ever seen a greater performance than that!!!!” Three words to Johnnie: Torvill and Dean.
  3. Never again should the Olympics be televised at the same time as the Super Bowl. Never.
  4. If the Olympic officialdom does not publish and maintain a clear, simple no-performance enhancing drugs policy and punishment, its grand venture into, well, whatever it thinks it’s doing will have as much credibility as the current Supreme Court of the United States.


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