The Winter Olympics have been fabulous — sport that is life threatening, punk tinged and edge-of-the-seat exciting. What about the American board cross athlete who has dislocated his hip 4 times, the latest just four weeks before competing. Or the guy who, following a serious accident last year had to learn to walk again last May.
The technology has also added to the drama, like the helmet cams on the ski jumpers to give a real sense of how the hill falls away from you, or how close to edge of out of control the downhill skiers get.
I’ve also been impressed with the skill of the curlers, if not the fishwife roars of ‘Hard…really hard’, which recall nothing so much as a seventies porn movie….so I’m told. And though last night’s result was disappointing for the Scots, you have to be impressed with the sense of fairness. When a Danish woman’s foot touched a GB stone in the final end, it was all deemed unimportant and play continued. What happens on the ice is sorted out on the ice, by the players.
Having heard the reports of controversy I followed up the story on the highlights and now I understand why viewing figures for ice-skating have fallen off a cliff.
Some background. Competitors have to choose a recognized folkdance, design appropriate costumes and incorporate recognized steps into the routine. One GB team’s ‘Irish’ folk dance was naff, another’s routine, a ‘hoedown’ performed to Johnny Cash was embarrassing. But it was the Russian routine, a so-called Aboriginal dance that took the biscuit. It couldn’t have been more offensive if they had blacked their faces and performed a black & white minstrels number. Utterly, utterly without merit. Laughably awful.
The controversy has been raised now by aboriginal communities saying they recognized nothing from the routine. Other teams are demanding a deduction.
Pathetic. Then any sport that requires the participants to design a costume only deserves contempt. But if you can catch the piece do so.
Ah well. Lance is back in Europe. Summer’s coming.
[photo from here]