Testing our Olympic mettle

What else is there to do in Western New York in February than watch the Olympics, other than shovel your driveway every hour?

Since I didn’t want to become a victim of terrorism and see Vladimir Putin bare his chest in person, with his tidbits at attention, I planted myself in front of the flat screen for two weeks.

An additional reason to stay home was my compelling need to keep one eye on the TV and the other on the ever sneaky polar vortex. I didn’t want it to slip into my yard while I was watching the combined Nordic slope-style singles-luge ice dancing half-pipe event. God forbid that I would be celebrating the silver medal celebration with the winner from Pongopongo when the PV dumps 18 feet of snow in my drive way.

As you know, the Olympics was held in Sochi, Russia, which the name early on evidently meant ” bring your own pillow and drinking water if you don’t like the color yellow.

There were reports of wild dogs roaming the streets of Sochi. Those stories soon ended in conjunction with Olympic Villages offering the athletes an all can you eat buffet of Mystery Meat. Hmmm.

The Thursday night telecast provided us videos of pretty girls who looked normal but were obviously crazy. They were the ones who participated in the women’s skeleton event. It’s called that because an accident could easily make one a skeleton. This is like the luge only backwards.

These girls were sliding down an icy course on what looked like a cafeteria tray FACE FIRST. Their chins were about 1 inch above the ice as they passed over it at 75 mph. Their craziness is proven by doing this without screaming for help.

The one big goof-up during the opening ceremony was that it opened after the competition had already begun. Go figure. The next slight disaster occurred when one of the mechanical 40 foot snowflakes failed to open into an Olympic ring. The designer of that ring has a new address: 1 Lonesome Drive, Godforsaken Siberia.

Lining the parade route of the athletes entering the stadium were ladies in white snowsuits. The color was appropriate as they were doing the White Man Overbite Can’t Dance Shuffle.

The statuesque tennis star Maria Sharapova interview was extremely distracting because she is such a large woman she easily could have held teeny tiny Bob Costas on her lap.

The first gold medal won by the USA went to snowboarder Sage Kostenberg in slope style. Thank God I have his rookie card which just increased in value to three Johnny Weirs. I pretend to know what slope style snowboarding is but I really don’t. He won by doing the Japan double-air nose grab which scored more points than the minor league Belgian butt grab done by the silver medalist.

Fortunately, I next caught a quick and one-time glance of men’s biathalon. If you’ll recall this event involves cross country skiing interrupted by removing one’s skis and shooting a rifle at metal targets. What the connection is of these two events escapes me. I could see more logic with combining skiing and free throw shooting baskets or even reciting the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. (And don’t go writing. It is spelled Rime and not Rhyme)

Men’s figure skater Yazuru Hanyu hit the ice with a sheer whitish blouse, lined with flowery lace with black gloves and black form-fitting tights. It was shocking because it was the exact same ensemble that I wore New Year’s Eve.

Next, NBC took us to the 5,000-meter speed skating event where two guys bend over with their hands on their back and they skate. Right skate, left skate, right skate, left skate for about 3 miles. The excitement comes when they exchange lanes. The crowd actually wakes up for that. All I could do was give thanks that I didn’t pay $200 per ticket for this snooze.

I next discovered that Armin Zoggeler is the epitome of what you should look like on a luge. First of all, I would have to be tied down with ropes to keep me on a luge. Therefore, I’m already defeated in my attempt to look like Armin. Eighty miles/hour sliding on one’s back, not looking at where you’re going, is another definition of insanity.

And what’s the point of the two man luge event other than to encourage friendship? If they really want to add some interest, let’s see about seven guys piled like cord wood coming down the run at 80 mph.

One American luger started his quest for the gold as a kid when his father built him a luge run out of wood. Are you serious? I thought I was cool when I mounted a swing for my daughters.

The women’s slope style skiing involved going across railings and skiing backwards. I wonder who came up with the idea of throwing in a railing? Why not toss in traversing a shark tank and a burning house just for laughs? This event was won by three Canadian girls one prettier than the other. That was one of the noticeable additions to the Olympics this year. It seems as though the girls could only qualify if they also made Sport Illustrated swim suit edition. Gone are the days when the female competitors were mistaken for the Zamboni machine.

It was mentioned that the Olympians who finish fourth through eighth don’t get medals but they do get diplomas. After spending $50 billion on the Sochi games, I would think they could spring for something a bit more prestigious than a piece of paper that said, ” Nice going, Also Ran.” There are a lot of other metals out there. Maybe it would be nice to give a cubic zerconium or beach glass for 7th place in curling.

Speaking of curling, did you know that all the stones come from the granite found on an island off the coast of Scotland? Now how’s that for a bit of valuable trivia?

And what’s with the guys and girls with the brooms? Did they have a childhood dream that one day they would sweep ice particles at the Olympics?” Well, Johnny, don’t you want to be a slider someday instead of a sweeper? No, Dad, I want to go to curling camp to be the best sweeper in Olympic history.”

I had seen so much snowboarding after two weeks of flips and flops that I am now an air-dog, blazin-raisin, boned out angelo, looking for a beef wellington, cross rocket. And I’m still looking.

President Obama lost a case of beer that he wagered with Canada’s Prime Minister Steven Harper when USA lost their hockey game 1-0. As it turned out, Obama’s loss was the fault of George W. Bush.

The figure skating finals were filled with lutzes, axels, and salchows. I discovered that Alois Lutz did the first lutz in 1913. The axel was done by Axel Paulsen in 1882. And the first salchow was done by Ulrich Salchow in 1913. Evidently, figure skaters haven’t figured out a new jump in over a century. It must be the dazzling sequins and rhinestones that is interfering with their imaginations.

Come on guys, do us a favor for 2018. Get busy and come up with a spin called the triple polar vortex.

Nin Privitera is a Fredonia resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com