So, to celebrate the end of the 2010 Vancouver Games, here is a list of my favorite Olympic moments from the past two weeks:
- Erectile Dysfunction at the Opening Ceremony: Who can forget the awkward glances of the torchbearers, when the framework for the Olympic cauldron failed to materialize from underground? The minutes seemed to stretch for eternity as Canada's sporting icons stood statue-like, as the music repeated itself again and again. As the scene unfolded, I could only think to myself, "If this had happened at the 2008 Beijing Games, somebody probably would have paid for it with their lives..." As it is, the cauldron malfunction was a prophetic omen for what many have been calling the "Glitch Games."
- The Trials of Apollo: I can't deny it; I love me some Apollo Anton Ohno. I'm not quite sure what it is about him, but, my personal feelings aside, few things have been quite as nerve-wracking at the games as watching Apollo skate in the various heats necessary to advance to his medal round races. His tactic of skating at the back of the pack, them making a last minute drive to the front drives me crazy! I'm at the edge of my seat, anxiously cheering him on every time! I think he's probably bad for my blood pressure...
- Take That You Commie Bastard: I have always been a wee bit obsessed with figure skating; combine that with the ability to root for a Chicago native, and I was all over the Evan Lysacek/Evgeny Plushenko rivalry like white on rice. I spent the entirety of Evan's long program with my hands over my mouth, scarcely remembering to draw breath. I don't care how much Plushenko whines about losing, Evan's combination of grace and artistry put the obnoxious Russian's cursory choreography to shame. If Plushenko feels like he has to re-brand his silver medal as a platinum medal, he can go right ahead -- he's only making himself look like a bigger fool. Evan won the gold, and nobody can take that away from him.
- High Flying Adored: Shaun White gets serious air. That kid's talent is incredible, and undeniable. Enough said.
- It's a Sweep: Well, almost. As I predicted, the Canadians were dominant in curling this year. The men's team took gold in a match against the humorously-clad Norwegians, whose flamboyant pants were perhaps the most-reported curling-related story of the games. I, however, was equally bemused by the ensembles of the Danish women's team -- they were they only curlers who I've ever seen in skirts. Their choice may have been fashion forward, but given the physiques of the lady Danes, and the shear amount of squatting required in curling, I couldn't help but wonder about the wisdom of their choice. Disappointingly, the Canadian women, after a nearly undefeated run in tournament play, lost their gold medal match to Sweden. Still, the Canadian successes stood in stark contrast to that of the Americans, whose men and women's teams came in dead last in the rankings.
- It's Miller Time: Who can resist a comeback story at the Olympics? After the total bust that was Bode Miller's over-hyped performance at the Torino Olympics, I was frankly surprised to see him again at Vancouver. He might have gotten a late start to his season, and visibly struggled with exhaustion at times, but this time around, Bode Miller showed the world that he really is the skiing phenom he was built up to be four years ago. Now he has a complete set of Olympic medals to prove it.
- Courage Under Fire: My heart went out to Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette, who lost unexpectedly lost her mother to a heart attack a few scant days before she was set to compete. If I were her, I would have been curled up in the fetal position in bed, not fighting to win a bronze medal. Her grace and bravery were truly astounding. She brought tears to my eyes every time she left the ice. With the lengths NBC goes to to unearth every conceivable inspirational story at the Olympic Games, I found hers to be the most touching.