Sunday, February 4, 2018

Winter Olympics can’t compete with the Super Bowl

“Winter Olympics can’t hold a torch to the Super Bowl”

The Winter Olympics begin Friday, with all the usual pomp which attends the ceremonial (and legally required) peeing into a cup by 200 Russians. In December, because of systematic doping, the whole Russian team was banned by the International Olympic Committee from competing as a team from Russia. The IOC left open the possibility that it could compete as a team from Las Vegas, Orlando or North Korea. 

Reversing its hard line this week, the IOC is allowing roughly 170 Russians to compete, as long as they do not tell anybody they are from Russia, wear a Russian uniform, wave a Russian flag, or express an affinity for bears. They must wear an unidentifiable uniform, maybe coveralls with their name stitched on the breast, except the name has to be Manny. If they win a medal, the IOC insists that the national anthem to be played will be “something neutral, like ABBA.”

It is hard to express the sheer level of excitement Americans have about these Olympics, because today is the Super Bowl. I expect most Americans know the name Tom Brady. Ask them who Apolo Ohno is, and they are likely to say “That judge from the O.J. trial?” Tom Brady has won five Super Bowls, but Ohno has eight Olympic medals to his credit, and appeared on "Dancing With The Stars" twice. (O.K. I know. I never heard of him either. Hang on while I stir this Queso Dip.)

The hotshot of these Winter Olympics should be snowboarder Shaun White, "The Flying Tomato," named presumably for his red hair and airborne prowess. You probably didn't know, but White is the first boarder ever to land back to back "double corks," the only skateboarder ever to stick the 540 degree “Armadillo," and the first to ever pull off the elusive "Cab 7 Melon Grab." I really have to come up with a cooler name for the way I refill the stapler at work. 

Team USA may not win the most medals, because the sports involved do not require bloodshed. But we are golden when it comes to names. There’s Breezy, Wiley, Kikkan. We have no fewer than three Madisons. Dudes named Mick, Red and Chase. I admit it is hard to get excited about skiing when the Patriots are playing the Eagles, as if the country’s political turmoil has caused its very symbols themselves to start beefing. Will we ever reunite? Sure. Next weekend. When tomatoes fly.