Monday, March 1, 2010

Gold Medal in....TV Viewing!

ROBERTA: Having spent a good part of the last two weeks watching the Olympics, of course the games are on my mind. Don't you marvel at the athletes who seriously injure themselves and yet rehabilitate their bodies so they can go back to the same dangerous sports? And wonder about what kind of person chooses what kind of sport? No way in the world you would catch me skating in those circular heats where you have to bump and pass to take the lead in a pack of aggressive athletes with lethal weapons strapped to their feet. I loved the interview with the young Korean skater who won the 500 meter.

"Tell something about yourself," said the reporter.

"I like to do dangerous things. Anything with risk and danger."

Enough said. Maybe even worse is the ski cross--that's when four thrill-seeking skiers burst out of the starting blocks and careen down a narrow, icy track including ridiculous jumps. It's hard for me to relate to the kind of personality that would find that fun.

I turned to my hub at one point and asked him if he thought it was too late for us to go out for pairs figure skating. (Disregard the fact that my skating skills consists of inching around a rink on my ankles, though John is quite graceful on skates.) I was astonished to hear that he thought it was. Sigh. Probably a good thing, because how do those pairs get over it when one of them messes up and the other performs beautifully? I wasn't as crazy about the ice-dancing. And weren't the costumes almost universally hideous? Except I did love the American pair who dressed up in western cowboy outfits and danced steps from a hoe-down. My biggest disappointment? The best skating didn't start until 11 pm so I missed most of it.

How about you Jungle Reds? Olympics addicts?

HALLIE: Sorry but I couldn't get into the slalom and bobsled and speedskating... beyond an appreciation for how much spectators have to tolerate an excruciating sameness. But the skating is pretty amazing. I watched the women's finals. They make it looks SO easy. Like Roberta, I have rubber ankles.

You have to be extraordinarily talented and pathologically driven to excel in anything -- sports, music, art, writing...

RO: I'm mostly figure skating and short track during the Winter Games. I did watch a few minutes of the men's aerials while NBC tortured me for four hours waiting for the woman's figure skating finals - "they're coming in 17 minutes!" Were ALL of the women on MSNBC instead of just the 8 or 9 NBC showed? Dang, I should have checked.

And, of course it was insane and they're all talented athletes, but isn't that why ESPN created the X Games in the 90's - to differentiate between those sports for which fear or the absence of it is such a big factor? I guess the IOC added so many of these extreme sports to keep young people watching instead of geezers like me who just want to watch figure skating.

So...not that I'm opinionated or anything, but, I think Johnny Weir was robbed of the bronze. So was Mirai Nagasu (okay the Canadian girl was astonishing for being able to compete at all after the sudden death of her mother. I get it.) Apolo Ohno is cuter than ever with that little soul patch and a 2.8 bodyfat percentage. Mary Carillo is officially the most irritating woman on television. Bob Costas needs to lay off the Just For Men. Still don't get ice dancing.

BTW I met Brian Boitano once and turned into a bowl of jelly. Also meet Picabo Street and she was adorable. These kids are truly amazing. Glad it's over though so I can get back the hours!

JAN: I was so burned out by my non-stop watching of the Australian Open that I never tuned into the Olympics. Although I love to watch the skating, I prefer the competitions that are races and thus, a more objective measure. Someone is in front. Or not. The 1-10 judge voting always seems a bit political to me.

HANK: I can't stand it. I hate to watch figure skaters fall. It's too stressful! I hate the poignant interviews with the families who have sacrificed all to let their kids go to they olympics. I was so upset when Juila Mancuso had to start over because Lindsay Vonn fell. But I really, really, really thought the closing ceremonies (I saw bout ten minutes and was too baffled to watch any more)were absurd. I mean--balloon mooses and beavers and dancing girls dressed like Mounties? Isn't anyone embarrassed? Bring back Peggy Fleming, I say.

Mary Carillo. Is probably realy smart, but truly truly a caricature. I'm not sure of what. Someone is sure giving her some bad advice. And at least Bob Costas knows what he's talking about. Can we discuss curling???

ROBERTA: Isn't it funny--I got a kick out of Mary Carillo's fluff! I didn't get the closing ceremonies either, Hank.

RHYS: I've been trying to juggle writing to my looming deadline with sneak peeks at the Olympics. I thought NBC did a wonderful job this year of covering all the events, not just the events that Americans won. I think a lot of people had their first taste of thiings like cross-country skiing and even curling. Who would have thought that curling was exciting? But it was. The only flaw for me was the unfair disqualifications in the speed skating, and the ungracious attitude of the Russian who didn't get the skating gold medal. Highlights for me were Shawn White on the half pipe and the US winning the bobsled.
I wouldn't mind competing in curling, and I actually knew how to ice dance when I was young. Apart from that, I'm not a speed freak, I hate roller coasters and there's no way I'd hurtle down a mountain and launch myself into space.

ROBERTA: Rhys, you know how to do everything! How about you dear Jungle Red Readers--any hidden talents? Olympic yearnings? Complaints about the games?

And please stop in later this week for visits with two wonderful mystery writers and your chance to make Oscar predictions!


  1. The OSCARS??? Already? Oh my gosh.

    SO can we talk about the closing ceremonies? Were those women supposed to be maple leaves or moths? Do you suppose they had to try out?

    My husband does not feel sorry for Juila Moncuso (having to start over after Lindsay Vonn fell), but I do. Do you?

    And in curling, is there a way to make the thing--rock? stone? Saucepan?--go more slowly? Or is it all about fast?

  2. Yes, yes totally sorry for Julia M. Her whole mental picture of the race--which I'm sure she spent years perfecting--was blown to smithereens. I did see the commentators compare the timing of the aborted race to the redo--they thought her performance was very similar, and so predicted she would not have had a winning run anyway.

  3. Mary Carillo makes me absolutely CRAZY when she does tennis. She gets on one point and won't let it go. I spotted her on the Olympics which is another reason I tuned out.

    Bill is watching curling. He gets all sports, and he doesn't get curling.

  4. I think she's classy, and smart. And a good writer. But she's just not comfortable and natural-sounding on TV yet. So it makes it annoying. Maybe she'll get better. It would be great if she did. I love that she's "older"--forgive me, but you know what I mean.

  5. I totlly agree with Bob Costas and the Just for Men. Why do men think this looks natural and fools anybody? Having just spent two hours in the salon getting low lights that nobody can even notice, I am sure there are subtler ways of keeping hair that looks natural.

    And curling--I'd never really watched before but they are so skilled the way they make it curve around at the right moment. What's more, it's a sport I could do! I'm good at bocce ball. I could have made the Olympics. I couda been a contender!!

  6. I forgot to add that my new Molly book, THE LAST ILLUSION is in stores tomorrow.

    All about Houdini and espionage. Exciting....

  7. When Mary does tennis I have to click to mute. (Jan...does the "kid sister" thing drive you nuts...she says it all the time.)Yes, she's very knowledgeable and I'm probably just jealous that she got to play tennis with John McEnroe and got a free trip to Beijing..

    Sorry I missed the Canadian gals hockey team lighting up stogies- cheesh. Lighten up!

    Oscars omg...I haven't won the pool in years but I think I have a shot this year...

  8. I can't believe no one mentioned hockey! That's about the only thing I watched! Half of the teams had at least one of our Pittsburgh Penguins on them. The only consolation for USA losing the gold was that the winning goal for Canada was scored by Sidney Crosby.

    Oh, I did watch a little curling, but only because I couldn't, for the life of me, figure it out. I gave up.