Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympic Musings

And let's stop right here for our first digression.  Mnemosyne (whose name translates as Memory) was the mother of the Muses.  Though the Big Cuter decries it, the touchy-feely, personal histories which accompany the events themselves are part and parcel of the Olympic Games.  I can understand his desire to see the best and only the best,  but the Games are so much more than that.  They are a quadrennial gathering of like-minded enthusiasts,
whose posses include orange clad fans in ridiculous headgear  

(thanks to for the photo). 

as well as proudly beaming parental units, who are finally able to reap the rewards of years of schlepping little Shani or Lindsey or Hannah to 5am practises.

There's been poetry (the on-ice camera shooting the long-track skaters head on), history (coach/fathers watching son/athletes compete),  drama  (Apolo medaling after the Korean skaters took themselves out) and there has been dance (Shen/Zhao's pairs short program.... the prettiest love story I've seen lately).  

There has been tragedy on the luge track, comedy as announcers mangle the language and astronomy in the Opening Ceremonies.  And I'm remembering them here now, with you.

Musing on the Olympics.... while not Gods, still other worldly beings like the Muses and the athletes fascinate us .

And you thought that this was just going to be a sports post, didn't you?  
Regular readers won't be surprised if the next 2 weeks are filled with Olympic musings.  Watching the televised games is the perfect confluence of interests for me - ancient Greece and the classical stories, physical competence, competition and schmaltz.

For the rest of you, bear with me for a couple of weeks, will you?  If nothing else, these posts will give you "sports patter" as you wait for the elevator (I never worked at a place with a water cooler).
It feels odd to be watching the Winter Games while wearing shorts and being surrounded by sunshine.  My memories include cuddling under blankets, stoking a real wood fire in the fireplace (I know, I know, it's bad for the air quality..... but I love it and I miss it here in our built-after-the codes-changed home) and imagining how one convinced oneself to go off the 90 metre ski jump the first time?  
We watched the Opening Ceremony over two days.  And I took notes.  So here, alphabetically, are my thoughts:

Albania and Algeria each had one athlete but 4 walkers behind their flag.  Who are those other guys? The official photographer?  The trainer?  The nutritionist?

Argentina sent 7 competitors, and 3 of them are siblings.  Now there's a gene pool to be mined.

The Azerbijiani contingent were wearing "excellent slacks" 
 thanks for this photo to:

while the Finn's zip-up polar fleece tops made me wish I needed cold weather clothes (for about 2 seconds,  but still.....).

We cried when Georgia's black banded team entered the arena.

We wondered about the Ghanian skier who learned his sport in Scotland.... indoors ... and how India could only find 3 qualified humans out of a population numbering upwards of 1.2 billion.

Ireland had the enviable position of being strategically placed between Iran and Israel.  Seriously, they think about these things on the IOC.

Did you know that there is only one non-rectangular flag on the planet?  

Pakistan sent its first Winter Olympic team, and a Peruvian team official explained their small numbers this way: "We like eating and partying and there is no culture for cross-country skiing."  

The parade was interesting in and of itself.  San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia.... outside an atlas, where else would that list occur?   And the flags --- Slovenia had a bearded man, not a pretty girl, holding their name placard.  What was that about??  Taiwan was Taiwan alphabetically, but the loudspeaker at the arena announced them as Chinese Taipei and their flag was a concoction of the IOC and the Chinese government but the athletes were there anyway.  The Tajikistani flag holder tried but failed to make the team.... but they brought along him anyway.  
The rest of the Opening Ceremony was kind of a snooze-fest for me.  The aerialist was beautiful and the tattooed plaid leather vested long haired tap dancer was right up there
with the singer in 10" heels for the most ridiculous outfit of the night  award.  Measha Brueggergosman nearly made up for the almost-but-not-quite cauldron lighting (Canada... where 3 out of 4 ain't bad) and then it was time to move on to the actual sports.
The Big Cuter wants NBC to use their cable outlets for live broadcasts of the Games, and there's something to that.  But for now, I'm done blathering and judging and making fun.  I'm just going to turn it on and enjoy the show.

The flag?  It's Nepal's.


  1. You can be my Nielsen proxy for the Games, because I outsmarted myself and don't even have cable on this coast (just DVD's, Netflix, and Roku for the kind of documentaries and quiet little indie films we elitist snobs prefer. Oh, MAN, I'm gonna miss Ice Dancing! I'll have to tune in regularly to The Burrow to get my Olympic fix!

  2. ashleigh I think I made a big mistake. Please dont publish my comment as it has my email address and who knows who will be writing to me. I think your writing is wonderful, funny sad thoughtful and just about everything I also think about.

  3. I accept my new role with pride and will endeavor to keep you posted. (hehehe) I am glad to be of service!

    And I bet you could find the Ice Dancing competition on-line.... though I really don't like watching video on the small screen.

  4. Phyllis, rest easy. The internet goddess smiled on your problem and there is no email address to be accessed.

    Thanks for the lovely words...


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