ICE OR EYESORE

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“I used to have a wild time with 3 women until
5 a.m., but I am getting older. In the Olympic Village here, I will live it up with 5 women, but only
until 3 a.m.”
– Alberto Tomba

    1960-usa-olympic-hockey-forgotten-miracle-meetthematts.gif
    1960: Last time Team USA beat Canada

by West Coast Craig

HOLLAND HOUSE, OLYMPIC VILLAGE – It’s hard to hear above the ear-shattering din of Eurotrash blasting out the speakers, but this is the best place in the Olympic Village for frittes drowned in mayonnaise, Heineken, and the exquisite wares of their famous coffee shops. After all, it’s the duties I take seriously as your roving MTM reporter for the West Coast, and this week that coast stretches all the way up into British Columbia.

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Still, I gotta tell ya, it ain’t easy coming up with story-lines here. There’s no controversy to these Olympics. Everybody’s saying the right things, as though they’ve taken as much coaching in talking to Bob Costas as they have at their actual sports. Even Bode Miller, who before the last Olympics happily admitted he’d competed in ski events while drunk – instantly reducing the sport to the level of golf or bowling and backed it up with an irreverent Torino performance four years ago – has shown nothing but humility and reverence at these. It makes for good copy; the wild child grown up, having a kid, seeing the big picture…YAWN. Where’s Alberto Tomba when you need him most. What I would give for the days when the skier would be asked which figure skater he preferred—Katarina Witt, Nancy Kerrigan, or Tonya Harding—and in a stroke of diplomatic genius answered, “All three. At the same time.” Well, we reporters in today’s obviously more watered-down, tape-delayed, pre-packaged and media-savvy times have to come up with new angles…or at least a little clever wordplay in the titles to their posts.

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One of Tomba’s former squeezes, Letizia Filippi, who later moved on to Christiano Ronaldo.

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First, the Ice. The most important thing to mention today is Team USA putting the host team, the reason the Olympics are in Canada in the first place, into a huge hole to even sniff a medal. It’s the first time the US has beaten Canada at Olympic hockey in fifty years, since the 1960 games—which the US took gold in—at Squaw Valley (that Tahoe-area resort otherwise famous for being the setting of AW’s favorite David Naughton ski comedy, Hot Dog: The Movie. By the way, if any of you ski bums have never been to Tahoe, it’s well worth the trip…great skiing during the day and then casino gambling all night). The Red White and Blue have now rolled through the prelims and are sitting pretty…and with Russia’s big win over the Czechs, could a Miraculous rematch be in the offing? NBC can only hope.

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Now, the Eye Sore. I’m pretty much on record here as not-a-fan of the figure skating. The women’s competition reminds me of Toddlers & Tiaras. I can’t get behind any sport where the losers can gripe about a “new scoring system” as the reason they came up short…though when Russian Evgeni Plushenko questions why he can be the only skater to stick a quadruple jump, and lose, I have to agree that he has a point. Regardless of how I may personally feel about how they’ve given their lives to a sport decided not through actual head-to-head competition but by human judges using a system that makes the Apollo moon shot calculations seem simple, these folks are clearly athletes…while, athletes or not, there’s just no excuse for Ice Dancing. This isn’t a sport, it’s a talent contest with clown costumes. It’s white people dressing in everything but blackface, doing routines based on tribal Aborigine dances or Bollywood musical numbers. It’s Martin the Landlord’s interpretive dance, without the Dude’s notes.

That’s it for today, I’m off to find some of Indonesian food, and maybe peruse the glass windows along the far wall of this place. Only a week left… which means all the good skiing medals are pretty much all given out and we’ve only got more ice skating ahead. Fortunately, the hockey is about to get very, very good.

Dr. Diz, tomorrow.

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About the Author ()

West Coast Craig reports from Hollywood with an endearingly laid back style. A happily married father of two little boys, WCC has an avocado tree in his yard, plays the hot corner in a "Valley" hardball league and always manages to take cool sports-related mini road-trips, often with his immediate clan. He hails from Oneonta, NY but has been "So very L.A." for twenty years, so his sports teams are the Yankees AND the Dodgers, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the L.A. Lakers and the Colorado Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques. WCC loves bacon-wrapped hotdogs and can touch his heel and his ear... with his hand.

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