Day Eighteen — Wait, It’s Over?
This plea doesn’t come from a sense of sour grapes or anything, with the U.S. Americans losing. Two great teams — with the star of the show, Sidney Crosby, writing the storybook ending yesterday — played a hell of a game. And I know that nothing will ever have the same juice as CAN 3:2 USA (OT). But, regardless: I WANT MORE OF THAT.
But, of course, we shall get no more of that — at least for a while. Jacques Rogge pulled the plug last night during what was, to be honest, a disjointed closing ceremony. Between a bewildering presentation by Sochi, the VANOC clown-in-chief’s speech (including some horrendous French pronounciation), the comedy bits (“sorry!”), and the Busby Beaver sequence, it was a vice-royal mess. Neil Young wasn’t bad, though.
(It may be that the ceremonies actually ended on a better note, but the Mothership cut away to The Marriage Ref. Welcome back to fourth-place, NBC!)
A brief attempt at closing analysis — admittedly, without Bob Costas’s back-up orchestra with appropriate montage sequence — after the jump.
These Games were, as Jacques Rogge said, excellent and very friendly. For all of the trouble of the games — from the obvious (the death on the Whistler track, the horrible weather) to the not-so-obvious (the financial hangover to come) — it was a great show. And memorable.
Just about everybody in these games shall now shuffle off to obscurity. And we can delete from our cache the likes of Julia Mancuso and Chad Hendrick and Steve Holcomb, and we can still, somehow, go off to lead productive, useful lives. And yet there were some things to note and remember. These include…
Tessa Virtue. God Almighty — she is just gorgeous. I mean, LOOK AT HER. I don’t really know if she is an unholy bitch in person. But put her on ice skates and dress her in a white gown, and you could get steelworkers to buy tickets.
And speaking of figure skating — Joannie Rochette. No explanation required. No more explanation required, certainly, from Scott Hamilton — there’s a fine line between expressing the emotion of the moment and turning into an amorphous pile of goo.
Beyond that, the TV announce crew for NBC was not horrible, except in patches. Bringing in Al Michaels for extended stretches was a great play. Sending home Dan Patrick after three or four days was as well. Not sending home Cris Collinsworth was a mistake. Tom Hammond is better at calling Notre Dame games. Dan Hicks and Dan Jansen did a creditable job at speed-skating, as did Tim Ryan at alpine. And anybody who watched that game yesterday knows that Doc Emrick is a NATIONAL TREASURE — rightly revered by U.S. American puckheads like me. As for Bob Costas — well, he was his usual Bobness, ranging from pure syrup to self-deprecation to something resembling journalism.
Curling was a massive letdown for the U.S., but the bonspiel as a whole was good — with the right guy, Kevin Martin of Team Canada City, winning in the end.
Perhaps my favorite story was that of Bode Freaking Miller — flinty individualist / asshole from New Hampshaah four years ago, now leaving B.C. with a matched-set of medals. (Also: I totally dug the coach screaming at him at the start-house. “TIME TO LAY ONE DOWN, BODE MILLER!” A nice, growly voice at the start of every U.S. run. Solid.)
Shawn White and Anton Ohno? You can have them, frankly. Halfpipe is figure-skating for stoners, and short-track is NASCAR in an ice-storm. Honestly, that goes for the whole action sports crew. The U.S. Nordic Combined boys can take half of their ink, and it would be more than fair.
It was nice to see Shani Davis lose some (not all, but some) of that too-cool-for-school attitude from four years ago.
And I think a little break from Lindsey Vonn would be nice. But we aren’t going to get it — I’m guessing she’ll be a star soon enough. (Or maybe she’ll be a Summer Sanders type, who flashes back to us every once in a while, out of the blue.)
So — that’s it. And now… Spring Training!
(You know what? I think I’m done with Sport for a few weeks at least. My ability to watch Sport on TV is totally fried.)