Well, after two weeks of controversy, sweat, tears, and stunning failures, the Olympics are finally over. It was a very mixed bag. Several athletes tried to eat their donut shaped medals by mistake, providing an unexpected boon for the Torino dental profession. The Closing Ceremonies went off without a hitch, although the decision to extinguish the Olympic flame with a gigantic seltzer bottle drew some complaints from "traditionalists." Also, the decision to give fifteen minutes of time to Count Dracula and a group of Italian Satanists, was roundly criticized by Pope Benedict XVI who pretty much spoke for everyone on the planet. Organizers made up for these setbacks with an exciting musical performance by Matt LeBlanc of American TV's Friends and Joey.
There were a few actual athletic highlights as well, but as these all took place in curling and biathlon, we'll skip them so as not to put anyone to sleep. (I myself happen to like curling, but I also enjoy watching lawn bowls, so take that in context.)
So let us leave Torino, or as the Chinese call it, "Torino", by rounding up the results in some of the more hyped sports:
Figure skating - Michelle Kwan left Torino in tears and disappointment, and not just because Bode Miller kept ringing her up and asking her to go on a skating date. Her injury ended one of the longest and brightest Winter Olympic careers. Unfortunately, the chants of "It's about time, you geezer!" and "Give some of us a chance, you old fart!" from younger skaters, didn't make it a graceful exit.
The winner of the women's singles was Japanese skater Shizuka Arakawa, a revelation because she wasn't given a Bode of a chance to win, and also a revelation in the costume department for the most notable wardrobe malfunction since the 2005 Super Bowl, and we'll leave it at that, except to say that she is also currently the most popular skating champion in several decades. The additional irony of this, was that this incident was far less egregious than the average costume worn by an Olympic skater, or the fact that one of the medalists was named "Slutskaya."
On the men's side, tough skating punk Johnny Weir found out that he inspired about a much fear in his fellow competitors as he does in the Canadian Men's Hockey team, losing out on the medal race and on his attempts to get Bode Miller to ask him out on a skating date.
The pairs and ice dancing competitions I'll have to skip, because this is really too long for a proper football supporter to write about figure skating. (For a humourist though, this really is where most of the gold is...moguls notwithstanding.)
Ice Hockey - In a wild and unpredictable tournament, Canada, Russia, and the USA were all shut out of the men's medals. One U.S. sports columnist suggested that the U.S. should no longer use pros at the Olympics because, "Hey, they won in 1980 and didn't use pros!" his logic apparently being that deferring to something called the "Miracle on Ice" is a great way to get consistent performances at Olympics. The very same columnist then had the audacity to make fun of Bode Miller for making over-hyped statements. He should be Bode's press agent.
The Canadian and US women fared much better, earning Gold and Bronze respectively, and failing to draw any reprimand for repeated slashing fouls on Bode Miller in the Olympic Village when he asked them out on group "skating" dates.
Alpine Skiing - I'm not going to mention "you know who" here (No, Ms. Rowling, I'm not talking about Lord Voldemort... No, not him...no, it's Bode Mill... oops.)
Lots of Austrians won. A few Nordic skiers as well. Then some more Austrians. I forget the names. They were all German sounding, if I remember correctly. The Austrians viewed the whole Olympics as a loss though when a Frenchman won the men's downhill. Vive la France!
Ski Jumping - Austria (yet again), Finland, and Norway continued their joint domination of these events, proving that they can still cooperate with gravity without falling down too often. The biggest shock of the events here were when a German ski jumper had one of his skis more than 7 degrees out of alignment. He was promptly shot by a firing squad of biathletes.
Britain fared better in these events than in past years... by wisely deciding to not send any competitors at all.
Luge and Bobsled - I'm not really sure. It all happened so fast.
Speedskating - There were a number of rivalries. Apollo Anton Yoko Ono irritated the South Koreans. The South Koreans irritated the Chinese. Two American long track skaters irritated each other, and then, in the spirit that symbolizes the Olympics, shook hands briefly and went off to sign separate six-figure contracts with the Wheaties people...without wiping off their hands.
Such is the noble Olympic spirit.
Farewell Torino, Turin (English), Turinovskyisch (Russian), Turinobaba (Pakistani), Torinichensteinensprechensteinich (German), Torinichensteinensprechensteinich-ich -ich (Austro-German), Toe-ree-no (Texan)!!!
All right all you citizens of Torino on holiday, you can come back now! Sorry for the mess.