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Winter Olympics 2006 For Dummies

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“I’ll cover the Olympics this year,” my big-mouthed fingers typed into an email to the editors ever in charge of my content and prose. I was proud as a peacock. For I had not only spent many hours as a child watching the Olympics on a small black-and-white television with a grainy picture, I also, ahem, have been giving wide coverage to Fox’s current reality series, Skating With Celebrities.

If the above didn’t make me expert enough for the job, I also watched the Salt Lake City opening ceremonies so there you have it.

The editors smiled down upon me kindly and life was good.

First problem, the time thing.

Torino, Italy is evidently in some sort of different time zone, duh.

Now throughout the years I’ve watched plenty of Olympics in various time zones so the concept is not foreign. In this 2006 year of our Lord, the confusion is rampant.

For the competitions are televised live at times. Those same live events are evidently broadcast later from videotape. Across the wild and wooly Internet, “spoiler” warnings abounded. On those occasions when I did sit down to enjoy NBC’s prime time coverage of the Olympic events the coverage itself caused my head to spin. One minute I was watching skaters shooting around the ice, the next I saw skiers barreling down a mound-covered mountain.

The editors expected an intelligent and insightful report on the Olympics while I felt I was in some time warp with Olympic events swirling around me. In due course I totally lost track of what was real, what was tape and whether Dick Cheney really shot a fellow quail-shooting Olympian or was I hearing things.

To appease the gods of the editors I decided to compose a post on the Olympics from the perspective of, well the perspective of an Olympic idiot.

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I did, then filled with the enthusiasm of the task, sit down and watch the opening ceremonies. I still do not know whether I watched the opening ceremonies live or on tape but I was undaunted. I understand the concept of each nation’s team marching into the ceremony under their country’s flag.

I had no idea there were so many damn countries in the world, countries I never even knew existed. In due course the American athletes marched in and I loved their hats, right off the bat. I then discover the hats as worn by the 2006 United States Olympic team, were all made in Canada.

Somewhere in the middle of the opening ceremony hoopla, I see what was evidently videotape of an earlier Olympic event and my shocked eyes see, I’m not making this up, Susan Sarandon carrying the Olympic flag. I rub my lying eyeballs. This woman is an anti-American actress, for God’s sake. Not a very well-known or good actress at that. Italy’s Sophia Loren was also one of the Olympic flag bearers, but come on! Susan Sarandon is nowhere near Sophia’s league.

It was during the opening ceremonies that I realized that there was a little language problem. Not that time and rotten actress confusion wasn’t enough to roil my silly mind, now I must deal with such as translators. The editors weren’t going to be happy. There were times I considered writing the entire post in Italian. 1) I don’t think the editors know Italian, and 2) I would look totally cool in the process. Since I too do not know Italian I vowed to overcome the language, time and hat issues and get on with the task.

Next up — speed skating.

Here was an event I could get my mind into, I considered as I tuned in during an NBC prime-time feature. I mean, come on, a bunch of skaters going around a rink for a specific distance with the best time being the winner.

The skaters went round and round. And round and round. And round and round.

The time problem kicked in again as the announcer proclaimed various feats achieved by the skaters earlier in the day. Such talk as preliminary circuits and notes of other skating events involving less meters or more meters. Which is another thing. I’ve no idea how long a meter is and besides, if the speed competition varies as to number of meters skated then couldn’t this event in itself be infinite? As in, a competition of twenty meters, another for thirty meters, heck throw in another for a hundred meters. I had no idea which event was then being aired by NBC and frankly after three more revolutions round and round, I didn’t care.

So why do they hold their hands behind their backs like that?

Comes the time to try and ascertain the “rules” for specific Olympic events and if this wasn’t difficult enough, the NBC announcers kept referring to the “new rules” when I didn’t know a thing about the old ones.

I moved onto another event and by now don’t even expect me to provide the sport’s name. I only know a guy laid down on some sort of board and shoosh, went down some contraption that resembled the flume rides at my local amusement parks. Shoosh, shoosh, down this track, the guy lying flat on this board and in due course I wondered what sort of sport this was and what were the talents involved in winning the gold. For to my stupid eyes even I could lie down upon a board and with a handy push from someone I too would go shooshing down the track. Now I supposed that such as leaning one’s body at opportune moments would propel the board faster but this ability didn’t strike me as all that difficult. Blogging, for instance, is more difficult.

The following night NBC featured ice-skating and I knew I was in my element. One doesn’t write and report on all five episodes of Fox’s Skating With Celebrities and not know about such things.

So why did Michelle Kwan go all the way to Italy to announce she would not be competing? Surely she knew about her injuries before the trip?

Whatever the case I settled in to watch and report on this Olympic sport I knew best.

The skating teams began and they all had last names with two, maybe three letters, tops. I really wrote down the names Fang and Tang then knew I was in over my head. Adding to my ice skating confusion was announcer tidbits about events held earlier in the day, “new rules” and required movements.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe editors, I mentally lamented, were not going to be happy. Ah, an idea came into my head. Could the city of Torino, Italy, really be the namesake of one of the most beloved cars of my youth? My investigation proved it true!

Seriously, did any other Blogcritic pick up this tidbit?

And so the week went on and deadlines approached. By midweek I completely gave up and husband’s constant assertions that he hated the Olympics, had always hated the Olympics, thinks nothing in the Olympics made sense-did nothing to assuage my mood. Editors or husband. It was a tough choice.

This weekend I understand there will be, live or on tape delay (take your pick), the curling competition.

I can’t wait. This is something I know about.

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FOR DUMMIES® is a registered trademark of Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Pat Fish is a published author and her books have drawn attention from her fellow reviewers on Blogcritics. Reviews of Memoirs of Josephine Fish and Mystery and Mirth have been conveniently provided for your reading pleasure.

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  • I’ll let you in on a secret: as an editor, I don’t even have high expectations for my own stories. You did just fine.

  • Lefteris Mermigas

    For all of you ignoret dummies let me give you my prospective of the Olympic games:
    This amazing event was a gift from the Greeks to all of you to compete in sports, yes sports that the whole world enjoys. No American barbaric football no boring baseball both of them not an Olympic sport. I was in Greece for the 2004 summer Olympics as an interpreter the American attitute and negative advertizing not to support the Games showed that we as Americans lost touch of the rest of the world, no we are not better than all other Nations, do you know that we only speek English and we make fun of others if they don’t? Torino’s name in Italy existed for thousand of years so the advertizers for the Ford Torino car never read History. Sophia Loren is an icon for the whole world when Americans opposes wars are unpatriotic? In the 1940’s our USA was the most respected and loved Nation, today we are the most hated, so please stop underminding the purpose of the Olympic Games. Time zone maybe some of you still think that the World is flat!!! Thank you Italy for housing this sporting event for the athletic Nations!!!