Olympics Buzz: The winners and losers of the Pyeongchang Games
This is your daily infusion of information and news that you might have missed. The really big stuff you’ll find in other stories.
Here, in the final Buzz of these Games, we take a look at some of the winners and losers.
Tourism Bureau of Norway. You can see the pamphlet now: “Come visit the greatest Winter Olympic country in the world. We’ve got it all, especially if it can be done on snow. Inviting mountains, glaciers, deep coastal fjords, pet a reindeer. And while you’re at it, visit the Lillehammer Olympic Resort and relive Tonya and Nancy.”
Bars near curling rinks. The incredible gold success of the U.S. men’s curling team is sure to revitalize the sport in this country, although can you revitalize something that’s never been vital? Part of the fun of curling is hoisting a few brews with your friends and opponents in the nearby saloon. As curling grows, so will the beer consumption.
Drug scientists in Russia. No, not the current ones, but the ones hired to replace the current ones. There should be lots of openings for Russian scientists who can invent new ways to disguise your specimen samples. The current people need to go, especially after two positives with the country’s “clean” athletes. They need fresh blood (non-tainted) in the scientist ranks to go back to the future.
Adam Rippon. He couldn’t do a quad, but he sure could be magnetic. Rippon was nothing short of brilliant in interviews around the time he helped the U.S. defend its bronze medal in team figure skating competition. He was so good that NBC invited him to be a special correspondent for the rest of the Games. But he turned the offer down to continue to be an Olympian in the Village.
Condom makers. These Games set a record for the number of free condoms distributed at a Winter Olympics — 110,000 or 37.6 per athlete. (Warning: Never use the .6 ones.) It beat by 10,000 the number distributed at Vancouver and Sochi. Organizers don’t expect them all to be used but some to be taken home as souvenirs. They probably won’t need to be declared at customs.
“Today” show journalism. By all accounts, Hoda Kotb is the nicest person you will ever meet, and her on-air presence shows it. But if the “Today” show weren’t on at 7 a.m., you could do a new drinking game every time Hoda says, “I (or we) love you,” or hugs a U.S. Olympic athlete. If she’s an entertainer, that’s great. But journalists don’t say that to people they are interviewing.
USOC men’s programs. It’s not a great time to be part of the U.S. men’s programs unless you are a curler, freestyler, snowboarder, short tracker or luger. The men were shut out in Alpine skiing, bobsled, biathlon (of course the U.S. is always shut out there), cross-country skiing, figure skating, hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping, skeleton and long-track speed skating. Not good.
Figure skating coaches in U.S. It’s hard to make a case for all the young girls and boys to seek out a local rink and find a coach with the goal of becoming a member of the U.S. team unless you enjoy the feeling of ice on your butt. Yes, they did get a bronze in team and ice dancing, but expectations were so much higher. The team will rebound, but right now, things are very disappointing.
NBC logo maker. I don’t really know what NBC was thinking (not an uncommon thought), but what was with making their Pyeongchang logo have the Sydney Opera House in the background. Look it up, the sails of the Opera House are the backdrop to the NBC Olympic logo. We’re guessing it’s supposed to be mountains, but to most everyone else, you’re in Australia.
Music selector at hockey venue. One of the high points of the Games was the U.S. women winning the hockey gold in a game that couldn’t have been much better. But as the players were on the ice, the sound system in the arena started playing Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” Uh, don’t they know that’s a protest song? It’s not really a pro-U.S. song.
That’s it for now, and back to the Games.
On Saturday …
The alpine team event was won by Switzerland; the U.S. didn’t even make it to the quarterfinals. … The men’s 50-kilometer mass cross-country start was won by Iivo Niskanen of Finland. A strong 11th-place finish was recorded for the U.S. by Scott Patterson. … In speed skating, the men’s mass start was won by Seung-Hoon Lee of South Korea. Joey Mantia, who was a legitimate medal hopeful for the U.S., finished 11th. In the women’s mass start, it was won by Nana Takagi of Japan. Heather Bergsma of the U.S. was 11th. … After two runs of the four-man bobsled, no surprise, the German sled was in first. The U.S. was out of the medal picture in ninth.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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