Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Official G:TB Winter Olympics Preview

Our affinity for the Olympic Movement, in all its corrupt and corporate glory, is one of the several pillars of the G:TB platform. We're suckers for the pageantry, spectacle and competition. Not to mention the 17 consecutive days of sports on our television. And to be sure, the Altius portion of the Olympic motto holds a special place in the hearts of several of our staff members.

It is no surprise then, that we're a little bit fired up for the February 12 opening of the 2010 Winter Olympics. The Olympic torch heads from Revelstoke to Kamloops today on its way across the Great White North. And Team G:TB cranks up our coverage of games with a look at one of America's favorite group of competitions, the Nordic events.

The United States has never won an Olympic medal in Nordic Combined, which features ski jumping and cross-country skiing in various combinations. The individual event includes two 'normal hill' jumps (normal being 90 feet high) and a 10km (6.2 mile) cross-country race in which the starting order is determined how far each participant flung himself (no ladies in Combined, sorry to say) down the hill. The sprint calls for a 7.5 km race following a single jump from the 'large hill' (120 feet). The team competition is some combination of jumping, skiing, and sweating.

Despite Uncle Sam's dubious history in this event, expectations for the Vancouver Games are high. The U.S. captured four medals (three gold, one bronze) at last February's world championships in Liberec, Czech Republic. We were favored to win the team event before being disqualified. I blame Denmark. Brett Camerota, Bill Demong, Taylor Fletcher, Todd Lodwick and Johnny Spillane represent the U.S. of A next month.

U.S. medal hopes in Cross-Country are more tempered, though Alaskan Kikkan Randall became the first American woman to win a world championship silver medal in the freestyle sprint last year. A new allocation system awards more competitive slots to countries who "perform" "better" in actual "competition", meaning the U.S. will only send 8 athletes to Vancouver - 8 fewer than in 2006. Once again, Denmark is trying to keep us down.

In a humorous human interest nugget that's sure never to make it on NBC more than 30 or 31 times, Randall's nickname is 'Kikkanimal'. She's also cute in that wholesome outdoorsy way. FOG:TB Dan has a new rooting interest. No fewer than 30 medals will be awarded in cross-country in individual, sprint, pursuit, and team events that feature at least two different styles of ambulation. I just like it because snot invariably freezes on the athletes' faces. And they ski their ever-lovin' asses off - cross-country skiers routinely fall down from exhaustion at the end of races.

Skiing around in circles and shooting stuff. What's more American than Biathlon? Tim Burke leads the current World Cup standings and represents the U.S. best hope for a medal in an event in which we've never broken into the top 3.

Ski Jumping
is absurd on the face of it, and the U.S. has no real chance. But we're nothing if not thorough, and it is nordic, so we'll include it for the sake of completeness. Anders Johnson, who recovered from a major knee injury to qualify for the Games, will probably receive the Up Close and Personal treatment. So he's got that going for him. Nick 'Zander' Alexander (I don't make up the nicknames, I just point them out and let you mock them) is likely the U.S.' best medal hope. I wouldn't bet the kids' college funds on it.

It all kicks off on February 12, when Canada will fail miserably but amiably to duplicate the awe-inspiring spectacle of our new Chinese overlords drumming and acrobating around the Bird's Nest. As usual, you can expect wall-to-wall coverage here. And Olympic-quality filler.

60 comments:

rob said...

tribe @ jmu at 7:00 tonight. get fired up.

Geoff said...

Rob, there was an opening for a Sarah Palin joke in there, and you passed on it. I would characterize that as a tremendous misfire.

zoltan said...

Misfire. Get it?

rob said...

agreed, geoff. i plead tiredness.

Geoff said...

I'm not a particularly sympathetic audience for your claims of fatigue these days.

Whitney said...

Kikkan Randall reminds me of a blonde Shlara. Dan really will be pulling for her.

zoltan said...

I bet the Canadians will play a variation on the Chinese Birdnest opening. Maybe a bunch of guys in mukluks drinking Labatt and running around a fake Loyal Order of Moose Lodge.

Geoff said...

I don't care what they do so long as Alan Thicke is given a prominent role.

TJ said...

Z-Man, pipe down, you're going to ruin my curling preview...

Mark said...

Along the same lines as Geoff, as long as we get to hear Bryan Adams' angelic voice then I'll be happy.

Geoff said...

People shit all over "Everything I Do, I Do It For You" all the time (with good reason) but he song Bryan Adams did with Sting and Rod Stewart for the Three Msuketeers movie might be the worst thing that has ever been sung or heard.

Mark said...

Are you trying to hurt me Geoff? If so, mission accomplished.

Dave said...

way too many facts in that post, it took too long to get to the snot jokes.

Geoff said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofA3URC1wyk

Enjoy, with a tall glass of chablis.

Whitney said...

Not sure I am digging the Vancouver 2010 Olympics logo. Looks like Gumby in a technicolor dreamcoat.

mayhugh said...

My first reaction to seeing the logo was "Geoff - Senior Year of College".

Whitney said...

Before the Jane Fonda workout tapes?

Geoff said...

Yes, I was the Michelin Man in college.

zoltan said...

When did Geoff become skinny?

Geoff said...

Skinny? Slow down. "Less fat" lets say. I graduated at a svelte 6'2", 275lbs. In 2003 I dropped down to about 200lbs...and I've been lingering at 220ish ever since...though since the twins arrived I've been working on the slow creep back up.

zoltan said...

Good for you. I need to drop a few lbs. myself.

I just saw that South Carolina was fined $25k because their students stormed the floor last night. WTF? It's bad that an arena full of college kids got excited over a big win? Is it better to foster a mausoleum environment like W&M Hall? Sounds like the SEC just wanted to take money from USC because this might bump Kentucky out of the #1 spot.

rob said...

the sec floor-storming policy has actually been in effect for several years. south carolina is a second-time offender, so their fine is $25k vs. $5k for a first-timer. next one's worth $50k.

Chip Wesley said...

Was that Vancouver logo inspired by Burning Man?

Dave said...

wow did i totally not read to the end of whitney's post before posting my rock trivia question! tj was right, i was reading on my way out of ISS duty-- that's when i usually check in to gheorghe. this is bonus time-- ian is sick and napping on the couch and my father has alex, so i'm stuck inside . . .

zoltan said...

I thought the logo was one of those fuzzy bomber hats with the earflaps down and a propeller on top.

Mark said...

I commented on South Carolina's court storming (and fine) as it was happening last night. The SEC is very, very strict on court stormings and field rushing. Sadly, most of G:TB goes to be at 10:30.

I've seen students arrested and/or slapped around for attempting to start such things during my time at UF. Sadly, most of G:TB goes to be at 10:30.

Geoff said...

When does most of G:TB go to bed these days Mark?

Dan said...

Kikkanimal. Shlara. I wub it.
rob - i'll be expecting updates from tribe dukes game. i am traveling and thus will be hobknobbing this evening. that really sounds like an act of gayness doesn't it?

Mark said...

A little before 10:30, Geoff. Thanks for having my back there.

That really sounds like an act of gayness doesn't it?

TJ said...

Dave, is Chainsaw disruptive in class?

TJ said...

As the guy who all told you to watch out for Mr. Downey weeks ago, I was tuned in last night...forgive me for not adding useless text to the gtb coffers.

Dan said...

for you nova'ans, not that you really care, but it is reported that nd and md may playing one another in 2011 at Fedex...
this might be a good opportunity for you 'skins fans to go watch a good football game. 'cuz by then notre dame will certainly have returned to glory, fer sher.

Marlin said...

Who shot TR?

zoltan said...

Chris Farrar. In a Members Only jacket. But then TR woke up and it was all a dream.

TJ said...

Marlin wins the internet.

rob said...

and the arenas contract void watch begins

TJ said...

The "Inspector Gadget"?

Shlara said...

Whit, I think that comarison was a compliment, so thanks?

Let's hope the Wrens bounce back strong tonight.

Mark said...

TJ "told us" about Devan Downey. What would we do without that guy?

Marlin said...

JMU charges for their live video feed? Cheap f's. Makes me hate that special needs school even more.

Still at work and cannot listen to the radio feed. Updates from anybody watching or listening to the dulcet tones of Jay Colley and Chaz Woollum would be appreciated.

Michael said...

I've often asked myself what I would do without TJ. I have yet to figure it out. It always induces cold sweats.

rob said...

tribe up 19-17 10 mins in. and w&m charges a larcenous $8 for their feed.

Michael said...

rob, can you please ask the tribe to cover the 2.5 pt spread? thank you

Marlin said...

ESPN just advised me that the Tribe is down 8 at the half. Craptastic.

rob said...

yeah, i had a bad feeling before this game. tribe's got a big one against drexel on the weekend, jmu's got more talent than their results would indicate.

Marlin said...

I blame the the newly minted Hobokener and his penchant for betting on losers.

Marlin said...

Tribe on a 20 to 11 run to start the half?

rob said...

so it would seem

rob said...

nailbiter for the tribe. shocker.

Shlara said...

OMG...I'm nervous.
And the quality of this internet radio connection sucks

Marlin said...

Updates?

Marlin said...

The S-Dog jinx.

rob said...

tribe down 2 with the ball, 5 seconds left

rob said...

tribe loses, 65-63. clearly marlin's fault. now tied with vcu for 5th in the conference.

TJ said...

This is all Geoff's doing...

zoltan said...

But they were predicted to finish 10th. Positivity!

Marlin said...

Not sure what sucks more. . . 1) Still being at work, or 2) Realizing that of the teams I root for (Giants, Knicks, Mets, Islanders, Tribe) the Islanders may be the best of the lot.

I am going to jam myself at work.

zoltan said...

You could be a Bills/Knicks fan at work listening to a BarBri wills lecture.

KQ said...

what? no one is live blogging the state of the union?

meanwhile, GMU is now 14-7, 9-1 in the CAA. Big match up against JMU on Saturday. KQ and Mr. KQ will be on hand, happy to send updates if anyone cares.

Dan said...

a victory for the special needs school. i wub it.