â€œI 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.â€ â€“ Alberto Tomba
1960: Last time Team USA beat Canada
HOLLAND HOUSE, OLYMPIC VILLAGE â€“ Itâ€™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, itâ€™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.
Still, I gotta tell ya, it ainâ€™t easy coming up with story-lines here. Thereâ€™s no controversy to these Olympics. Everybodyâ€™s saying the right things, as though theyâ€™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 heâ€™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 pictureâ€¦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 preferredâ€”Katarina Witt, Nancy Kerrigan, or Tonya Hardingâ€”and in a stroke of diplomatic genius answered, â€œAll three. At the same time.â€ Well, we reporters in todayâ€™s obviously more watered-down, tape-delayed, pre-packaged and media-savvy times have to come up with new anglesâ€¦or at least a little clever wordplay in the titles to their posts.
One of Tomba’s former squeezes, Letizia Filippi, who later moved on to Christiano Ronaldo.
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. Itâ€™s the first time the US has beaten Canada at Olympic hockey in fifty years, since the 1960 gamesâ€”which the US took gold inâ€”at Squaw Valley (that Tahoe-area resort otherwise famous for being the setting of AWâ€™s favorite David Naughton ski comedy, Hot Dog: The Movie. By the way, if any of you ski bums have never been to Tahoe, itâ€™s well worth the tripâ€¦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 prettyâ€¦and with Russiaâ€™s big win over the Czechs, could a Miraculous rematch be in the offing? NBC can only hope.
Now, the Eye Sore. Iâ€™m pretty much on record here as not-a-fan of the figure skating. The womenâ€™s competition reminds me of Toddlers & Tiaras. I canâ€™t get behind any sport where the losers can gripe about a â€œnew scoring systemâ€ as the reason they came up shortâ€¦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 theyâ€™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 athletesâ€¦while, athletes or not, thereâ€™s just no excuse for Ice Dancing. This isnâ€™t a sport, itâ€™s a talent contest with clown costumes. Itâ€™s white people dressing in everything but blackface, doing routines based on tribal Aborigine dances or Bollywood musical numbers. Itâ€™s Martin the Landlordâ€™s interpretive dance, without the Dudeâ€™s notes.
Thatâ€™s it for today, Iâ€™m off to find some of Indonesian food, and maybe peruse the glass windows along the far wall of this place. Only a week leftâ€¦ which means all the good skiing medals are pretty much all given out and weâ€™ve only got more ice skating ahead. Fortunately, the hockey is about to get very, very good.
Dr. Diz, tomorrow.