Saturday, February 17, 2018

You knew this was coming; my unprofessional yet very personal take on the 2018 Winter Olympics to date

Like football, that I opine frequently, when it comes to Winter Olympics, I am not an expert, my thoughts are my own, I am no professional.  Hell I come from a place that goes bonkers when we even witness a snow flurry and we certainly do not know how to handle ice.  With all that being said I have been enthralled with Winter Olympics since the miracle on ice and then became a dedicated viewer of the entire media package in 1994 when the Olympics were in Norway.  During the 90's the American Winter Olympic team was not that inspiring, winning 13, 13 and 11 medals in that entire decade.  Then something changed, inspired by the return of the Winter games to America, in Utah, from 2002 until 2014 the American team won 29, 37, 25 and 34 medals.  Note: that 34 medals was just 4 years ago; expectations for 2018 have been sky high.  Fast forward to this very day, more than halfway through these South Korean games and Team USA sits at a disappointing medal count of 9.  It is now more likely that the overall team will end with 15 medals than ending with, say, the 25 we won in Vancouver.

Now time and time again, throughout the coverage of these games, potential medal winner, even gold medal winner for good old USA has failed to make the stand.  In alarming numbers Team USA has already not medaled in things we received medals for in both Sochi and Vancouver.  In fact, as we speak I am watching the ladies cross country relay where USA is highly favored to medal and already they have fallen into last place.  Similar scenes have played out over and over again.  So my thoughts are not to belittle the athlete, although they do bear some responsibility for sure, but what the hell happened to the increased training and focus and dollars dedicated to the winter athlete??  What is the USOC doing, how do they square their efforts with the reality on the ground in Korea?

I admit, being all unprofessional and all, I am too much of a homer, meaning, I could care less about the human interest stuff and the incredible this or that of some guy or gal from Norway or Austria or anywhere.  I want full focus on Team USA and I want winning medals by American performers.  Pure and simple.  When this does not happen I do not enjoy the game and I wonder, how can a nation, presumably so big and bad and loaded with $$$, not be on top.

Now my wife cautions me that there are plenty of Games to go and many opportunities for USA to medal.  Well the hockey teams are not doing great, men look awful, women will probably contend now for a bronze, there are many more X game type events left, once very friendly to USA, but now other nations are catching up.  The ice skating has proved to be a big "so what" so far but hopefully someone, probably a woman performer, will medal.  All I can do is watch, and I will, but I need some Team USA success for me to be happy.  Yes, I'd like to hear more of our national anthem than that of Norway or Canada.

And I'll just console myself with this reminder; Summer Olympics are just 2+ years away!!

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