Monday, February 20, 2006

TV: Torino 2006

I finally watched some of the Olympics this weekend, and as always, I got completely swept up in something I couldn't otherwise imagine myself being even slightly interested in. In 2002, it was curling (which turned me into a permanent fan). In 2006, it's the biathlon. That's the event that combines cross country skiing with sharpshooting. It's just so damn random! Next Olympics, it'll be boardbowling: snowboard the halfpipe, then bowl a strike. Or skatedogging: you speed skate ten laps, then have a hot dog eating contest.

Anyway, in the biathlon, the announcers were all crazy for some Norwegian guy who's won five gold medals, and who made a huge comeback from an earlier round to take the lead in the final. But then some random French dude comes out of nowhere and passes him in the final sprint to take the gold. Whoopee, right? And yet, there I was, absolutely riveted, literally on-the-edge-of-my-seat excited about the outcome of this crazy event.

That's the beauty of the Olympics. It generates excitement and interest far beyond what would normally be expected. I had no home country rooting interest at all; I think the top American competitor finished 36th. But for nearly an hour, I was glued to the set, breath caught in my throat, watching the men's 12.5 km biathlon pursuit, praying that Ole Einar Bjoerndalen could hold off Vincent Defrasne in the home stretch.

I didn't watch much else. Some speed skating qualifying runs, some hockey (which not even the Olympics can really get me interested in, unless it's USA vs. the USSR in 1980). On Sunday I watched a little of the downhill skiing, and finally saw that nifty camera trick I've been hearing about, where they superimpose footage of the leader's run over the current competitor's run, so you can see exactly where their runs differ, and how just the slightest error can result in that fraction of a second loss. Now that is an awesome use of technology.

Then I fell asleep to ice dancing, which goes to show not everything about the Olympics is thrilling.

Still haven't watched any curling, but I've got some recorded on the TiVo. I can't wait to check it out!

UPDATE! As if curling weren't already awesome enough: Women of Curling Nude Calendar. I'm grateful to Greg at Delenda Est Carthago for the link, even though he's a Communist for not liking curling. Actually, even Communists like curling! Greg Burgas: worse than Commies.

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