What’s This All Aboot?

 

We interrupt this broadcast of 8-year-old Chinese gymnasts masquerading as 16-year-olds for an urgent message: ONE OF THE PARTICIPATING NATIONS IS NOT HOLDING UP ITS END OF THE BARGAIN.

As of the time of this post, the fine nation of Canada had won 0 medals. Yup, that’s right, not one of the 33 million Canadian citizens can say that they have a medal at the 2008 Olympic Games. You, sitting on your couch yelling at American gymnasts for falling off a balance beam the width of your remote control, have just as many medals as any Canadian athlete.

Just for comparison’s sake, let’s take a look at some of 50 powerhouse nations that have managed to justify the 4 years of training, millions of dollars worth of travel, and countless amounts of commercials by actually winning a medal:

  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Mongolia
  • Togo (I guess they’re not just a sandwich shop anymore)
  • Vietnam
  • Egypt
  • Zimbabwe
  • Finland
  • Georgia (actually a country, not the Peach State)

and my personal favorite…

  • The Stan Brothers: Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and of course the home of Borat, Kazakhstan.

It’s not like Canada is perenially in the poor house when it comes to the Olympics. In Athens in 2004, the Canucks took home 12 medals, including 3 golds! I don’t know what happened between now and then, but it seems like they never thawed out from the winter.

Hey, if your country is gonna spend its hard-earned Loonies and Toonies to get you here, you might as well compete, right? Here are some possible reasons for why they haven’t been able to break through with that first medal:

  1. Too much poutine.

    French fries and gravy....a marriage made in heaven

    French fries and gravy....a marriage made in heaven

  2. Still hung over from too many Molson Canadians on Canada Day.
    I think I had too much, eh?

    I think I had too much, eh?

     

  3. They are disqualified because they bring their hockey sticks to every competition.

    These guys showed up for gymnastics

    These guys showed up for gymnastics

  4. Instead of a swimming pool, the Canadian swim team practiced in a vat of maple syrup.

    This might get you through one Canadian breakfast

    This might get you through one Canadian breakfast

  5. All the real Canadian athletes stayed behind to become Royal Canadian Mounties.

    They always get their man...but unfortunately no medals

    They always get their man...but unfortunately no medals

 

Those are just a few ideas about why our friendly neighbors to the north have been struggling thus far. The most logical reason, though, is that they’re saving up so they can blow everyone to hell in Vancouver in the 2010 Winter Olympics, where they consistently give everyone else a good old fashioned wood-shed beating (24 medals, 7 golds in Turin in 2006).
With my luck, the Canadians will have 8 medals by the time this posts, but hey you gotta take any opportunity you can to take a shot at Canada, eh? What with their universal health care and friendly, helpful nature.

The Faux-Lympic Games

Alright, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Yes, at long last I have returned from my vacation to historic Charleston, South Carolina. No, that’s not a joke, I actually went on a family vacation to the Palmetto State, and I have to say it was quite a good time. Here’s the official tally:

Trips to the beach: 5

Waves ridden: 7

Jellyfish Stings: 2 (one to right foot, one to right ankle…on consecutive trips. I started to think i was going to set a Cal Ripken-esque streak for number of consecutive trips with a jellyfish sting. Alas, on the third day they got my brother instead. That’s like if they replaced Cal at short one day with Billy Ripken.)

Crabcakes eaten: 4

Shrimp eaten: 1,356

Ounces of alcohol consumed: priceless

 

Anyway I can’t say that I was too out of touch with the sports world while I was gone since we had digital cable with every channel imaginable. I was able to receive by-the-minute coverage of Favre-Gate 2008 (has a nice ring to it, eh?) even after the SportsCenter anchors insisted that Favre’s reign of terror was over. Now they’re giving us updates on how he is fitting in with his new team because he was forced to run a punishment lap. Just like a normal guy! Imagine that! Luckily, there was a crawl across the Bottom Line saying “Brett Favre runs punishment lap in 34.3 seconds. Jets management “satisfied” with time.”

I then turned my attention to the second-most covered story of the week: The Games of the XXIX Olympiad. 192 independent countries sent their finest athletes to Beijing, China where they were treated to one of the most impressive opening ceremonies I’ve ever seen. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, find a replay and watch it. You won’t be disappointed. Here are some stunning high-resolution photos  from the NY Times.

What was somewhat disappointing, however, was the list of “sports” that will take place at this summer’s Games. Here are some of the events we will be treated to at 4 a.m. on BRAVO, CNBC, and other affiliates while the real NBC turns into Michael Phelps’ own reality show, Michael Phelps: Silver Ain’t Good Enough.

  • Handball (the nations must decide the rules before the match, i.e. whether to include “rainbows,” “slicies,” and “bouncies.” See here for some commonly-used techniques.)
  • Synchronized Swimming (aka freaky twins showcasing their mind-control powers by dancing in the water)
In the midst of a riveting game of Marco Polo

In the midst of a riveting game of Marco Polo

  • Badminton (white sweater must be tied around neck at all times, or a point is awarded to the other team. Official timeout when Jeffrey brings out fresh-squeezed lemonade.)
  • Canoeing (one team member must stand at the front of the canoe with a spy-glass; extra points awarded for any land discovery)
  • Water Polo (what happens underwater…stays underwater!)
  • Fencing (before every strike, the striker must recite, in his best Spanish accent, “My name is Inigo Montoya…you killed my father…prepare to die!)
  • Table Tennis (Timeouts taken when the ball gets broken and/or lost under the garage beer fridge. Also, Tyler Hansbrough and Bobby Frasor avaliable for “Texas Ping Pong” tiebreakers. The fun starts around 3:08 )

 

  • Weightlifting (the U.S. team consists of four Jersey Shore residents who attempt to intimidate their opponents by grunting while they get their swell on. They are also known for their elaborate victory dances.)

 

With sports like these, who needs football, rugby, or golf? They’ve even decided to dump softball for the 2012 Olympics. I guess they need sports with more subjective judging involved rather than clear, outright winners. I’d personally like to see Mixed Martial Arts make its way into the Olympics. Some say it’s too violent, but one of the mainstays at the Olympics is “Shooting.” I think I’d rather see two guys face each other in hand-to-hand combat than an Aaron Burr-Alexander Hamilton style duel…but that’s just me.

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