Let’s talk Winter Olympics, people.
As someone who grew up in one of the ridiculously cold states, I was exposed to them from a very young age. I mean, Dan Jansen and Bonnie Blair were my hometown heroes, and I have verified through three independent sources that people not from Wisconsin have heard of them too. In these games, then, is the chance for Cheeseheads to prove their worth by moving quickly on frozen surfaces and/or shooting things and/or sweeping the ice in advance of large stones.
But before all that: the opening ceremonies.
We knew going in that they were going to be amazing or a catastrophe, but nothing in between. Russia doesn’t do “in betweens.” (I think “Russia” actually translates into “Go big or go homenik” in the original Cyrillic.) Plus, with the way Putin rolls, you had to fear that anyone responsible for mistakes in the program would be executed. Publicly. Possibly during the games.
Sadly for me, the whole thing kicked off with Bob Costas’s wonky eye. Now I am a big fan of Costas. BIG FAN. No NBC sporting event is complete without coverage from that little man. And yet, when I tuned into NBC last Friday night, I got this:
I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!
You have got to be kidding me.
Then the first of like eighteen hours of opening ceremonies began. A young Russian girl sucked us into her mindhole to teach us the Cyrillic alphabet. And not for the last time, I complained to TheBoy—who speaks Russian because OF COURSE HE DOES)—that the Cyrillic alphabet makes no effing sense. One of the letters is an asterisk, for crying out loud.
Next was some interesting choreographed movement stuff, which wasn’t nearly as good as when the Asians did it. This is true of most things, though. Thankfully, the parade of nations started and I was OVERJOYED when I learned they’d be marching in Cyrillic alphabetical order.
(One of the first things I’m going to do in the afterlife is find Cyril and punch him in the face. Any of my ghost blog readers should feel free to beat me to the punch. Oh, ZING.)
I look for a few things in the parade of nations:
1. Interesting outfits, both good:
2. Countries you didn’t even know existed, like Chinese Taipei.
3. My three favorite teams: USA, GB, and South Korea.
4. The stateless wanderer Olympians, which this year included India because of some juicy corruption scandal.
Plus the awkward running commentary NBC makes its people do to fill time during the marches. The “fun facts” often are about wars, genocide, or other atrocities because life is messy. Awkward.
So the Parade of Nations ended roughly around dawn, at which point it was time to re-enact the history of Russia through ballet. There was a lot of stuff here I didn’t follow, with Vikings and hipsters and Communism. I think there were hipster Communists at one point, even. Oh, and dancers that look like luminescent jellyfish, which seemed like a Project Runway challenge gone horribly awry.
Finally, it was time for the speeches. I’ll be honest: I was on a time delay so I watched this part at 2x speed. The Russian was equally incomprehensible, but the speakers sounded a bit more like chipmunks so there’s that. Then they* lit the cauldron and I realized there either wasn’t going to be a pogrom, or it wasn’t going to be televised.
Speaking of not televised, NBC didn’t see fit to include my very favorite portion of the ceremonies in its eighteen-hour coverage:
Find me the American police choir that’s half as good as this! SHARP, guys. Very sharp.