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February 18, 2006 11:33 AM   Subscribe

Olympicsfilter: American skier biffs hard. How about the rest of the team? Kwan. Miller. Johnny Weir. But props to Shani Davis, the first African American to win an individual gold, and of course, plucky Norway, currently the medal leader. Among other losers: NBC.
posted by bardic (96 comments total)

 
Is there video of her crash? I missed last night's broadcast.
posted by mathowie at 11:36 AM on February 18, 2006


Yay Norway!
posted by wumpus at 11:41 AM on February 18, 2006


oh, the first black person to win an individual gold in the WINTER olympics. I thought you meant in olympic history, which would have neglected at least one remarkable american athlete.
posted by shmegegge at 11:42 AM on February 18, 2006


Can't find any video yet, but the spin on Jacobellis is Cheneyesque--she didn't biff, she got "carried away." For snowboarders, it's not "winning" that matters. Ugh. I finally got off my high-horse regarding real olympic sports like alpine skiing and biathlon to appreciate the snowX event, then this.
posted by bardic at 11:44 AM on February 18, 2006


Jacobellis is a snowboarder. She lost the match when she pulled a showboat trick and ate snow as well as her 3 second lead.
posted by mr.dan at 11:44 AM on February 18, 2006


Video here.
posted by mr.dan at 11:46 AM on February 18, 2006


Well, if winning doesn't matter for snowboarders then perhaps snowboarding should not be part of the Olympics n'est pas? And as far as saying "didn't biff, got carried away" you could make that argument about nearly all those that biff, usually happens when they push themselves...

Personally I think it was a mistake to divorce the summer and winter games like they did... having olympics every two years lessens the specialness of the even, imo. As well, as has been mentioned elsewhere, the winter Olympics do have a limited global appeal just because of their nature, expensive equipment and cold weather sports
posted by edgeways at 11:55 AM on February 18, 2006


So much for that stereotype of snowboarders as reckless immature goof-offs.
posted by HTuttle at 11:57 AM on February 18, 2006


I hate NBC's coverage, especially their attempts to overdramatize the behind the scenes stuff with the athletes. Lame. I miss Albertville.
posted by tweak at 11:59 AM on February 18, 2006


the first African American to win an individual gold

Does that mean that racist bigot Bryant Gumbel can watch it now?
posted by HTuttle at 11:59 AM on February 18, 2006


So far the highlight was hearing the U.S. women's curling team keep saying Git'r Done.
posted by HTuttle at 12:01 PM on February 18, 2006


So this is a post celebrating American failures at the Olympics?

Yes, because it's funny.
posted by xmutex at 12:03 PM on February 18, 2006


*metatalk*
posted by gyc at 12:07 PM on February 18, 2006


and of course, plucky Norway

Ya want plucky? How about the Swiss men's hockey team? Thursday they pulled off a win against the heavily-favoured Czechs. In their team captain's words: "I think it's by far the biggest win in Swiss hockey – since I've been playing. Even in history... It's kind of a miracle."

This morning they did it again. Got yer plucky, right here.
posted by hangashore at 12:10 PM on February 18, 2006


This NBCOlympics.com video may not be viewed in your country.

Losers.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:10 PM on February 18, 2006


I know the BBC's medals table has the countries listed in order from most gold medals to least, but it's weird to see the U.S. on top when #2 and #3 have more medals total than #1, and #7 has more total medals than all three of them.

Why does the BBC not hate the United States?
posted by emelenjr at 12:11 PM on February 18, 2006


I was wondering about Kidlow too. When Kwan realized she was a no-chance she opted out and gave the spot to someone who at least DID have a chance.

Should/could Kidlow have done the same?

Did she stay just for her own personal gratification, giving the team the finger?
posted by HTuttle at 12:12 PM on February 18, 2006


hangashore, you are correct sir. Gruetzli!
posted by bardic at 12:12 PM on February 18, 2006


*Kildow
posted by HTuttle at 12:14 PM on February 18, 2006


HTuttle, I see your point, but I'd give Kildow the benefit of the doubt--IMHO, she had the only realistic medal shot of the female alpine skiers. Kwan was a deceitful drama queen though--I think she knew *before qualifying* (if you call not qualifying qualifying, etc) that she didn't have a shot, but wasn't about to give up her spot (and props to Mike Wise for saying what no one else would about her). I thought about linking to Kildow as well, but Kwan and Miller were obvious flameouts. I actually like Johnny Weir--the fact that he was in 5th going into the 2nd program is impressive.
posted by bardic at 12:21 PM on February 18, 2006


This is God's way of punishing America for being at war with Islam.
posted by gyc at 12:24 PM on February 18, 2006


hangashore, you are correct sir.

Stopped clocks, blind squirrels - you know the drill.

Being both Canadian and a fan of hockey, I'm rather conflicted in my reaction. I was cursing at the TV at every boneheaded Canuck play during this whole steaming pile of moose crap, but couldn't help feeling good for the Swiss - doormats no more!
posted by hangashore at 12:25 PM on February 18, 2006


hangashore, is a Slovakia-Suisse final possible? That would be rad.

And congratulations on Duff Gibson.
posted by bardic at 12:32 PM on February 18, 2006


the spin on Jacobellis is Cheneyesque--she didn't biff, she got "carried away." For snowboarders, it's not "winning" that matters. Ugh

I like the snowboarders. They seem like the only people there that come close to being normal people out to have fun and not BIG GIANT SPORTS DORKS who shout all the time and take their little games waaaay the fuck too seriously (ie, like the guy in Murderball that ends up coaching the Canadian team).
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:36 PM on February 18, 2006


I've been dying to see that vid, thanks.
and so long as there's curling, snowboarding's got nothing to be embaressed about.
posted by Busithoth at 12:37 PM on February 18, 2006


Watching Shaun White come back from the final run of the second qualifying attempt in the men's snowboarding halfpipe to win the gold was amazing. Doubly great was his post-medal ceremony interview, when he asked the interviewer if he thought that Sasha Cohen would be impressed by a gold medal.
posted by Ryvar at 12:43 PM on February 18, 2006


ROU, I like the snowboarders too, generally. I just wish they'd stop acting all Bode Miller and actually care about winning medals.

But if Jacobellis wants to go on a date with me, all is forgiven.
posted by bardic at 12:44 PM on February 18, 2006


I find it hysterical that US athletes flaming out is worthy of a FPP, but the historic win of Sweden over the US in women's hockey isn't. Women's hockey isn't a North American (sorry, Mexico) reservation any more. This is wonderful for the sport.
posted by QIbHom at 12:45 PM on February 18, 2006


hangashore, is a Slovakia-Suisse final possible? That would be rad.

Right now the Finns are playing the Czechs, and if the Czechs win you'll have four teams in pool A with 2-1 records (CAN, SUI, FIN, CZE). And the Swiss are in the driver's seat - next two games are against Germany and Italy, so two wins would give them the edge on everyone except Finland (who could still go 5-0). Would be neat to see one or more of the non-Big Six (CAN, CZE, FIN, RUS, SWE, USA) in the medals.

the historic win of Sweden over the US in women's hockey

Yet more Scandinavian pluck - GO SWEDES but not quite enough to beat the Canuck chicks (sorry).
posted by hangashore at 12:51 PM on February 18, 2006


Busithoth: and so long as there's curling, snowboarding's got nothing to be embaressed about.

Whatevs, man. (NSFW)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:57 PM on February 18, 2006


I find it hysterical that US athletes flaming out is worthy of a FPP, but the historic win of Sweden over the US in women's hockey isn't. Women's hockey isn't a North American (sorry, Mexico) reservation any more. This is wonderful for the sport.

"The sport" is a game with less grace, speed, athleticism, and brutality than its men's counterpart. Anything that's "wonderful" for women's hockey is terrible for good taste.
posted by Kwantsar at 12:57 PM on February 18, 2006


I think it says (at least for once a good thing) about the media that I didn't know Davis was black until today -- the other times I'd even heard his name were in reference to possibly being on the relay team and that he was expected to win some medals.

Ok...I'm actually surprised that NBC or someone didn't play up this angle more.
posted by narebuc at 1:35 PM on February 18, 2006


I think NBC will tonight, given the tape delay and all. And I'm sure Nike would like to redo their Bode series with Davis instead.
posted by bardic at 1:37 PM on February 18, 2006


I've gotta admit, after hearing so much about the in-your-face 'tude and rebel without a clue reputation of snowboarding and snowborders I've been hugely and favorably impressed by what I've seen of boarders' genuine camaraderie and spirit of fun and fair play.

In my book, the Flying Tomato's gold was an enduring Olympic Moment. I hope Jacobellis can keep smiling about her silver... and I'm sure she will if all of the knee-jerk nationalistic pablum doesn't wear her down.

Since moving to Vermont, I've been dithering between taking lessons in skiing or riding. Dude, I'm gonna ride! ;)
posted by deCadmus at 1:44 PM on February 18, 2006


Being both Canadian and a fan of hockey

You should just ignore the men's hockey; the women's games are so much better!
posted by zarah at 1:45 PM on February 18, 2006


The original post is actually understating the case. He's the first black from any country to win an individual gold medal, not the first African-American.
posted by smackfu at 1:47 PM on February 18, 2006


Good point smackfu. Not to be confused with Debi Thomas, the first African American (female) to win a medal (bronze), nor Vonetta Flowers (first African American win gold, 2002).
posted by bardic at 1:55 PM on February 18, 2006


This NBCOlympics.com video may not be viewed in your country.

Losers.


Alvy Ampersand -- the reason you can't view the NBC (United States) video is that the International Olympic Committee licenses exclusive television coverage to a single network in each country.

For coverage in your country, Canada, the IOC has a license agreement with CBC. CBC's snowboarding coverage is here.
posted by ericb at 2:01 PM on February 18, 2006


yay for Shani Davis!
posted by matteo at 2:04 PM on February 18, 2006


Thanks ericb, I started checking the CBC for it, but then came across the nekkid curler thang... the rest is a blur. And sorry about that 'losers' thing, NBC.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:08 PM on February 18, 2006


As an aside, traffic to NBC Olympics web site is breaking records this year. Hence, NBC decided to increase the amount of streaming video during these games:
"'Our strategy has evolved over time from one where we would use the Internet and these digital platforms to promote television,' Zenkel said. 'It has evolved into a strategy in which we use these digital platforms to make more content available.'

That means more video on the Internet - much more - rather than a focus on data like results and television listings, he said."
posted by ericb at 2:08 PM on February 18, 2006


A champion and role model: Joey Cheek.
posted by basicchannel at 2:08 PM on February 18, 2006


Classy move on Cheek's part!
posted by ericb at 2:11 PM on February 18, 2006


Listen to the press conference if you get the chance. It's quite moving.
posted by basicchannel at 2:14 PM on February 18, 2006


I'm pretty sure this is real, and should have linked it above: Johnny Weir's myspace page.
posted by bardic at 2:41 PM on February 18, 2006


smackfu writes "He's the first black from any country to win an individual gold medal, not the first African-American"

That's ok the rest of the world is hip to USA code, we know African-American=black even if the black person in question is neither african or american.
posted by Mitheral at 3:09 PM on February 18, 2006


zarah: You should just ignore the men's hockey; the women's games are so much better!

After the way the Canuck men played today, I might say you have a point.

Oh, and Alberta has Monday off, so I'll be in front of the teevee for the grrrls' final. Neener.
posted by hangashore at 3:44 PM on February 18, 2006


Congratulatoins to Shani Davis on his win. Too bad he was such a prick about the team persuit on the way to getting it.
posted by obfusciatrist at 3:52 PM on February 18, 2006


hangashore, they celebrate President's day in Alberta?
posted by ParisParamus at 3:53 PM on February 18, 2006


ParisParamus writes "they celebrate President's day in Alberta?"
Nope Family Day. The difference in naming is quite telling don't you think?
posted by Mitheral at 3:58 PM on February 18, 2006


Alberta Family Day.
posted by hangashore at 3:59 PM on February 18, 2006


Good point smackfu. Not to be confused with Debi Thomas, the first African American (female) to win a medal (bronze), nor Vonetta Flowers (first African American win gold, 2002).

Or Canadian Jerome Iginla, the first black male to win a gold medal period at the winter olympics.
posted by loquax at 4:16 PM on February 18, 2006


Since moving to Vermont, I've been dithering between taking lessons in skiing or riding. Dude, I'm gonna ride! ;)

Good for you. Keep your ass in motion.

Only please don't stop after just enough lessons to make it down from the top alive.
Take a few more and learn some control, which way too many boarders out there have clearly NOT done.

Aside from personal slope observaton, just visit a boarder forum and see all the 'dudes' bitching about having to 'avoid ' people in front of them on the slopes.

Anyone who has trouble avoiding people IN FRONT of them is severely lacking in SKILL.

GOOD boarders ARE a thrill to watch.

Too bad they're so rare to see.
posted by HTuttle at 5:27 PM on February 18, 2006


ericb writes "the reason you can't view the NBC (United States) video is that the International Olympic Committee licenses exclusive television coverage to a single network in each country. "

I've been wondering about that. I thought that was the way it is, but here in Japan it seems each event is licensed separately. Men's Snowboard cross is shown live on channel 8, women's snowboard cross is shown live on channel 12, men's halfpipe is shown live on channel 4, etc.
posted by Bugbread at 6:28 PM on February 18, 2006


in Japan it seems each event is licensed separately

Interesting.

Here's what I could find online vis-à-vis TV Rights Fees for Olympic television coverage.

Of interest:
"TV rights fees provide the bulk of the IOC's revenue, with the U.S. share accounting for about 60 percent of the total. About half the money goes to host cities, with the rest split among the IOC, international federations and national Olympic committees.

The U.S. Olympic Committee gets a 12.75 percent cut of the rights fees." [source]
And this:
"On another issue Wednesday [February 8, 2006], Rogge said the IOC was talking with the U.S. Olympic Committee about concerns that the Americans receive too big a share of television and sponsorship revenues.

Many national Olympic committees have long resented the IOC's deal with the USOC, which receives a 12.75 percent share of U.S. TV rights fees and a 20 percent slice of global marketing revenues. [source]
posted by ericb at 6:48 PM on February 18, 2006


I prefer to use the Mario Kart scoring system in cases like this. 9, 6, 3, for 1st, 2nd, 3rd. That'd give us a true leader.
posted by graventy at 8:41 PM on February 18, 2006


Congratulatoins to Shani Davis on his win. Too bad he was such a prick about the team persuit on the way to getting it.

Oh, bullshit. Davis wasn't the only one to make the decision to skip the pursuit to focus on his own events, so why are we only hearing about him? Is a guy everyone already knows is a loner in longtrack really supposed to run another race before his 1000m just to help Chad Hedrick shoot for 5 gold medals, at least two of which would have to come at Davis' expense?

Give me a fucking break. You could just as easily make the case that Hedrick made the more "prickish" move. What was up with that "Everybody on the team should be excited about stepping on the ice as much as they can...I'm proud to represent my country" crack? How is someone like Davis supposed to take that, if not as a backhanded slap at him as unpatriotic? From here, Hedrick's sense of entitlement seems like much more of an embarrassment than Davis' simple statement that he "could care less what people think...I didn't come here to skate the team pursuit. I've been training all year for the 1000m."

So, anyway, I was happy to watch tonight as Davis beat Hedrick's time for the gold, and Davis' short, abrupt answers during his post-race interview made perfect sense, given the shit he took this week for his decision. I was amazed the NBC reporter had the guts to ask him, "A-are you angry, Sh-Shani?", especially since it's not hard to imagine NBC's need for big ratings affecting its coverage of this particular issue in a way that made Davis look overly selfish.

Finally, after hearing about Hedrick's response to the question, "Are you happy for Shani's win?" (he replied, "I'm happy for Joey," who won silver), I really hope Davis beats him again when they go head-to-head in the 1500m.
posted by mediareport at 9:49 PM on February 18, 2006


That Hedrick should have been smacked all the way home.

White Snow, Brown Rage
The racial case against the Winter Olympics.
(Slate)

NBC's coverage has just been awful--even worse than usual. And having athletes on after they had bad days is ridiculous--maybe one day they'll interview a winner, no matter what nationality?
posted by amberglow at 9:53 PM on February 18, 2006


There's a very sharp commentary about the Davis win up at MSNBC:

It was Hedrick who acted the part of the surly and petulant crybaby. He’s the man who came here with publicists selling — quite successfully at first — the story about how their skater was going to try to equal Eric Heiden’s five speedskating gold medals. He’s the man who clearly blamed Davis for the loss of a medal in a made-up event called team pursuit.

And he’s the man who, after the race was done and he hadn’t medaled at all, answered a question about what he thought of Davis’ performance by saying: “I’m happy for Joey,” referring to silver medalist Joey Cheeks, who had previously won the 500-meter event. Then Hedrick practically bragged about how his sixth-place finish was actually awfully good, considering he’d raced that 1,000-meter event only six times before...

Even if Davis had run the pursuit, Hedrick couldn’t have won five of any color. End of controversy.

But not for Hedrick, who didn’t seek out Davis, didn’t congratulate him, didn’t talk to him at all. Instead, Hedrick talked about how proud he was to be a member of the team and to skate in the pursuit for his team ... and team this and team that.

It was strange talk from a man who had come here speaking only of individual glory, the idea of team coming up only when it related to his own personal quest for five. And Davis’ sin wasn’t in not skating for the team, but in not skating for Hedrick.

posted by mediareport at 10:18 PM on February 18, 2006


What amberglow said. NBC has obviously made the assumption that Americans only care about American athletes, win or lose. It's ridiculous--there's plenty of great stories, both American and otherwise, regarding relative unknowns. I mean, what's more mythologically American than the unknown underdog winning it all? /cue clip of Bill Murray in Caddyshack whacking the flowers and talking to himself.

And I thought it was funny that Ohno threw his hands up after getting the bronze, as if he was imploring the judges for yet another DQ of the people ahead of him a la Salt Lake.

Hedrick is sore that Davis' story is the bigger and better one. Simple as that.
posted by bardic at 10:40 PM on February 18, 2006


"Mountain Poo" LOL, great title for this thread. I love the characters in this Winter Olympics. I wish Jacobellis hadn't fallen. The Flying Tomato, Shaun White, seemed delightfully insouciant to me, making fun of his own weeping on winning. And John Weir is mischievously entertaining. I wish he'd won too, I think his skating is usually far more beautiful than Plushenko's. All of them are exceptional athletes with panache and it was a treat to watch them.
posted by nickyskye at 11:18 PM on February 18, 2006


My thoughts:

F NBC

F The Olympics with mostly endorsed/pro athletes taking a two-week vacation from their real lives.

F The US Men's Speedskating Team for being a bunch of NBA/NFL primadonnas.

F Homegirl on the US Snowboard team for blowing it in front of the entire planet just so she could get her Wheaties cereal box cover shot and a fat check.

F it all in the A with a rusty chainsaw.

Peace.
posted by roguescout at 1:53 AM on February 19, 2006


Well. That snowboarding BIFF was pretty much the only part of the Winter Olympics I've watched this time around. Actually any time around.

Very funny. It made waiting for a computer I was 'fixing' to boot up into safe mode must more enjoyable. The person whose computer I was fixing couldn't help herself but claim it was such an American thing to do - to try to show off. Ah well.

And back in Australia we're happy that our spam-king import from Canada has won the first winter olympics gold for us. sigh. Quite depressing really.

But somehow watching that fall makes it all worthwhile...
posted by Jelreyn at 8:59 AM on February 19, 2006


totally with you on that Wheaties box thing, rogue--but it is a fun event, i think--and they're allowed to bump each other off the course, i think, or something.

Is Weir out?
posted by amberglow at 9:59 AM on February 19, 2006


Are so many of the athletes all messing up because they're trying harder things, or just because they're not good enough? Even bobsledders have been making bad starts or hitting the edges.
posted by amberglow at 10:00 AM on February 19, 2006


Is Weir out?

Yeah, he's done. Missing that bus and getting to the rink late was his last Olympic moment this year. But what a great character, eh? In fact, this has been a pretty fun Olympics for characters in general. One of the most interesting I've seen.
posted by mediareport at 10:18 AM on February 19, 2006


But somehow watching that fall makes it all worthwhile...

That whole women's snowboard cross event was incredible to watch, from the quarterfinals on up, and the final race, with *3 out of 4* top women crashing, one by one, was just an unbelievable jawdropper. Oh, and amberglow, they're not really allowed to "bump each other off the course;" intentional pushing, pulling or attempted knockdown is grounds for disqualification, but some contact is just seen as inevitable with multiple racers. Coming down from a jump onto the back of the board in front of you is gonna happen occasionally.
posted by mediareport at 10:38 AM on February 19, 2006


Maybe some people have been giving him shit but as far as I'm concerned this is the OLYMPICS and people like Shani Davis need to represent their country with a little bit of class. Yeah, I get it, everyone hates you, everyone is out to get you, etc. But I don't think the American people were and I think they deserved to see a civil interview. I think Hedrick has been acting poorly too, honestly, with all the snarky little comments. If you want to be an athlete and act like an asshole, become a pro sports player, where that seems to be pretty common. But don't sully up the Olympics with your bad attitudes.
posted by apple scruff at 10:54 AM on February 19, 2006


I'm not saying Davis necessarily made the wrong choice just that he was a prick about the choice he made and the way he presented it.

I'm sorry to see that others decided to be pricks as well about it all.

Of course, since I only watch about 45 seconds of speedskating every four years I am hardly in a position to care either way.
posted by obfusciatrist at 11:31 AM on February 19, 2006


Shani Davis won a gold--how is that not representing his country with class? The pursuit is a made-up event. And you're incorrect to say that there's some kind of wall between olympic and professional atheletes, at least not for the last few decades. Ever heard of endorsements?

Anyways, it's been pretty grim for the US so far--I'm hoping Sasha Cohen and/or Emily Hughes can work a little redemption. Lord knows the men's hockey team can't do it.

Sally Jenkins on Bode Miller, who doesn't think winning has any connection to his overall performance.
posted by bardic at 11:35 AM on February 19, 2006


And you're incorrect to say that there's some kind of wall between olympic and professional atheletes, at least not for the last few decades. Ever heard of endorsements?

If you read the original comment, I wasn't talking about the financial/monteary differences.

Anyway, winning isn't everything when it comes to class. There is a such thing as a sore winner, after all. A little civility and a smile can go a long way. You're representing yourself and your country, so you may as well do a good job of it.
posted by apple scruff at 12:17 PM on February 19, 2006


I'm not saying Davis necessarily made the wrong choice just that he was a prick about the choice he made and the way he presented it.

You really ought to look at the order of statements coming from Hedrick and Davis on that one.
posted by mediareport at 12:49 PM on February 19, 2006


Why? Has "he started it" become a valid excuse for being a prick about something?
posted by obfusciatrist at 1:10 PM on February 19, 2006


Er, you said "the way he presented it." If you'd said "the way he responded," I wouldn't have added that comment. Davis "presented" his decision in a non-prickish manner. That is all.
posted by mediareport at 1:50 PM on February 19, 2006


bardic writes "Shani Davis won a gold--how is that not representing his country with class? "

To be fair: I have seen zero interviews with Davis. In fact, I doubt I've ever seen a photo of Davis. But I don't think "winning = class". There are plenty of people who succeed in life who have no class. There are plenty of people who fail in life who have class. Maybe Davis has class. Maybe Davis has no class. But whether or not Davis got a gold medal has pretty much absolutely nothing to do with how much class Davis has.
posted by Bugbread at 3:08 PM on February 19, 2006


oh, i meant is Weir out as a gay man? : >
posted by amberglow at 4:14 PM on February 19, 2006


Why is Ice Dancing an Olympic sport? What's sporting about it?

(and tons of empty seats--just tons)
posted by amberglow at 4:23 PM on February 19, 2006


oh, i meant is Weir out as a gay man? : >

[Johnny Weir] was asked about a Chicago Tribune online poll on whether people cared about his sexual orientation. The poll sprang from a story in Thursday's Tribune in which Rudy Galindo, an openly gay former U.S. figure skating champion, called on the media to call out Weir.

Just goes to show how bad ideas spawn more bad ideas. At least the Tribune's readers showed better sense than its editors. As of 5 p.m. Central time, 93% of the 4,571 poll respondents said they did not care.

'I think it's funny that people care,' Weir said. 'I don't have a problem [with] people saying anything. People could be saying, "Let's poll about Bode Miller, let's poll Michelle Kwan being a lesbian [or not]." Something like that. And it's not a big deal. Who I sleep with doesn't affect what I'm doing on the ice or what I'm doing in a press conference.'

...Weir has provided plenty of dots for people to connect. When asked about his love life, Weir refers only to a gender-neutral 'someone' he has dated for two years. He compares himself to Carrie and Miranda on 'Sex and the City,' he talks about his hatred of 'skin issues, hair issues or clothing issues,' he has described himself as "princessy"... [Los Angeles Times | February 17, 2006]
posted by ericb at 5:16 PM on February 19, 2006


oh, i meant is Weir out as a gay man? : >

*turns in queer card*

I can't believe I misread that. But there's a jealous backstory behind Galindo's call for the media to out Weir:

"I worked so hard at creating a program, and then I'll see he's copied something later, whether it's a costume or a move," [said] Galindo, 35..."We don't get along so well because I have no respect for somebody who would copy me," Galindo said. "So we've built up this animosity."

There's lots more good stuff in that article, including a charge that at least one judge this year is a homophobe, and this:

For a U.S. male figure-skating establishment known to be stodgy about acknowledging the whispers about its sport's masculinity, Weir represents the skater who makes many uncomfortable atop a worldwide pedestal. Or as expressed by gay former Olympic figure-skating judge Jon Jackson, who stressed he did not know or care about Weir's sexual orientation, "There's a lot of squirming going on in Italy this week."

Weir seems perfectly happy to be the cause of that squirming:

"I want people to remember me as someone who pushed the envelope, pushed the boundaries of the United States figure skating establishment. I'm happy with who Johnny Weir is."

Anyway, I'm the first to call for outing hypocrites in any realm, but I really don't see the problem here. Weir was pretty much *going out of his way* to tell people he's a fag, poking as loudly as he could at the homophobic establishment without actually saying the words. It's a hoot, with nothing hidden about it (unlike yer typical closet cases), and allows him to be more than honest enough with the world while still enjoying his too-brief moment as the world's "princess."
posted by mediareport at 8:02 PM on February 19, 2006


Another good take on the 'is he or isn't he' debate, with a fun quote from a co-founder of Outsports.com:

"If you got Johnny Weir in a room by himself and he talked confidentially and you asked him, 'Are you gay?' he'd probably say, 'Are you a complete idiot? I've been coming out in every single interview I've done,'" Zeigler says. "Just because I haven't said 'I'm gay' doesn't mean I'm not coming out. To me, he's been coming out since day one and people want him to say those words and I think it's a game to him: 'How far will these knuckleheads go?'"

But Zeigler acknowledges that there is an additional price to be paid for answering a demand to don a label. It's one thing to have people think you're gay, it's another to tell them.

posted by mediareport at 8:12 PM on February 19, 2006


You know why there’s no women’s ski jump in the Olympics?-- ...“So far, we’ve been told every excuse in the book. That it’s too ‘dangerous’ for girls. That there aren’t enough of us. That we’re not good enough. That it would damage our ovaries and uterus and we won’t be able to have children, even though that’s not true. It’s so outdated, it’s kind of funny in a way. And then it’s not.” ...
posted by amberglow at 6:40 AM on February 20, 2006


Thanks amberglow for the article, the cool Feministing List link and info about women being blocked from ski-jumping in the Olympics.

Yeah, figure skating in the Olympics has always seemed a real oddity to me, the whole costume thing (why not have all the contestants wearing basically the same 'costume' like in other sports?) and that it doesn't seem like a sporty sport, lol, whatever that means. It's not like Olympic gymnastics, which I adore to watch, with that intensity of athleticism but there have been some odd -to me- sports coming into the Olympics, like Rhythmic Gymnastics with ropes, hoops, balls, ribbons and clubs. Curling seems to me like billiards or shuffleboard on ice, a mystery why it's an Olympic Sport. If figure skating can be up for Olympic gold then why not that high falootin', competitive ballroom dancing? If curling can be considered an Olympic sport, then why not billiards, hangliding or kite flying? It's curious to me what makes a sport Olympic?
posted by nickyskye at 7:42 AM on February 20, 2006


I'm over 40 and at first I was shocked that Lindsey would "show off" and fall instead of "pusue the gold" -- then I read the comments and I realized that I love these snowboarding kids!

The sport and the fun and the DOING of it is the most important! YES! I realized then that THEY GET IT! I was wondering why I felt so angry at the coverage (Costa was trying to get a rise out of Lindsey, make her feel bad or "confess" that she was sorry for "screwing up the USA medal count" or some such bullshit. Grr. What an ass he is.)

I hate the media coverage and what it says about the values of some Americans. But not all Americans, thank the godess. And I realize now that what I love most about this Olympics is that many of these young athletes -- young Olympians -- have much to teach us "oldsters" about enjoying life and having fun.

Thank you Lindsey, for your beautiful "biff" -- we love you for it!
posted by mooncrow at 8:57 AM on February 20, 2006


mooncrow, I don't live in an appropirate winter climate, but if I did, I imagine I could go and watch snowboarders do their thing every day, and enjoy it (I do think it's cool).

But the olympics has medal ceremonies for a reason. If Jacobellis, a talented athlete, wants to show off, she shouldn't have taken a spot on the squad form an American athlete interested in both competing and winning.

BTW, there was an FPP about women not being allowed to ski jump not long ago.
posted by bardic at 9:30 AM on February 20, 2006


*from* arg

FPP on women not ski jumping.
posted by bardic at 9:33 AM on February 20, 2006




since when is the olympics about fun? it's supposed to be about nationalism and "we're number 1!!!" shit, and laughing at the stupid outfits in skating, and at all the mistakes and stuff and cheesy, cheesy heart-rending profiles of our godlike athletes and their mothers who have cancer or their deaf kid or their terrible road back from a devastating accident when doctors thought they'd never walk again, let alone ski, etc.... ; >
posted by amberglow at 11:39 AM on February 20, 2006


amberglow, your post reminded me of Orwell's wonderful essay, A Sporting Life, in which he says "I am always amazed when I hear people saying that sport creates goodwill between the nations", which is, I think, the pretention behind the modern Olympics.

mooncrow, I so agreed with what you said. I prefer to savor the joy of an athlete's success than revelling in shaming them for a mistake or bad decision. It seems Jacobellis couldn't contain her joy, pride, exuberance, being flippant, whatever her motivation was that flicker of a second and BAM.

All the other Olympic sports seem to be almost entirely about intense focus but there is a certain yee ha I'm having fun recklessly and a rebel too aspect about the whole snowboard thing, which seems to be part of snowboard culture, even in the Olympics.

Controversy grabs attention, it's magnetizing and negatively energizing. It certainly makes money for the advertisers. Maybe there is something of a Coliseum bloodlust in watching the Olympics? The psychology of the Olympics, 'going for the gold', even the name based on Mount Olympus, home of the Gods, implies putting athletes on the highest pedestals (which are all too capable of crashing).

bardic I think you have a good point. The Olympics are about competing, reaching to achieve, not only joy. Thanks for the excellent link to the FPP on women not ski jumping.

homunculus, way cool link to the "Science is Culture" SeedMagazine. Thanks! :)
posted by nickyskye at 12:00 PM on February 20, 2006


Gold and silver medalist speedskater Joey Cheek:
“He announced he was donating his $25,000 United States Olympic Committee bonus to Right to Play, a humanitarian organization based in Toronto that is focused on helping disadvantaged children through sports. … Since Cheek spoke up, Gap, the United States clothier, has pledged $25,000, joining others in a money chain that has surpassed $300,000.”
posted by ericb at 1:21 PM on February 20, 2006


a feelgood post ericb.
posted by nickyskye at 1:58 PM on February 20, 2006


mooncrow : "The sport and the fun and the DOING of it is the most important!"

The sport and fun of doing something is the point of doing something for sport or fun. The competition of doing something is the point of doing something for competition. Having fun during a competition is a great thing, but it should always be a secondary priority to competition itself. If you can have and balance the two, that's great. If you have to pick, though, you should probably pick competition.

Then again, for reference, I am not a big fan of Olympics or other competitions precisely because of that. I'd way rather watch somebody have fun and show off than try to win some sort of medal.
posted by Bugbread at 6:04 PM on February 20, 2006


what bugbread said...millions of dollars have been poured into all these people for years, so they can win here, not so they can have fun--they can have fun on their own dime.
posted by amberglow at 9:49 AM on February 21, 2006


and their corp sponsors want medals too--they want a return on their investments.
posted by amberglow at 9:55 AM on February 21, 2006


Today's U.S. Olympians have a wealth of talent – and funding--... Speedskater Chris Witty, 30, is competing in her fifth Olympics - her fourth Winter Games. Skating is her full-time job. Thanks to prize money, stipends and sponsorships from Qwest, Nike and Dow, she lives a comfortable life in Park City, Utah.

Partners Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin have been professional lugers for 10 years. Grimmette used to juggle his training with roofing, painting and carpentry jobs. Martin worked at a golf club. Today, supported by Verizon and Panasonic and paid performance bonuses by USA Luge and the U.S. Olympic Committee, Grimmette and Martin are just as dedicated to their sport as NFL or NBA players. Their low-budget lifestyle is behind them. Grimmette owns a home in Lake Placid. ...

posted by amberglow at 10:30 AM on February 21, 2006


Interesting info amberglow. Thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 7:03 PM on February 21, 2006


Skating around the issue --
To be fair, no one in the media -- not even Rudy Galindo, who was extensively quoted in a controversial Chicago Tribune article last week -- has said flat-out that Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir is gay.
Then again, no one had to.
The innuendo about Weir's sexual orientation was so thick in the past few weeks that the media might as well have slapped a pink triangle on the skater's forehead. A quick database search of major print media outlets turned up 160 uses of the word "flamboyant" to describe Weir in the past 90 days, with several sports reporters describing his failure to win an Olympic medal this week as a "flameout" or other variations on the word "flaming." (The controversial Olympian Bode Miller, by contrast, was typically described as "reckless" or "rebellious.") ...

posted by amberglow at 7:16 AM on February 22, 2006


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