Like all good things, the Olympics have come to an end (and I'll have to return to regular TV tomorrow), but what a good ride it has been. Today there were only two events and neither is really my cup of team, but a little interesting anyway.
First the 50 M cross country ski event - that's 30 miles on skis with 40+ of your best friends. At the beginning it looked like the start of a bike race, and they hung in together most of the way. I didn't actually watch much of it, but it was pretty to see with all the colors. Wonder why so many wore white, tho. Except for their bibs they disappear into the landscape. Maybe it's so they can sneak up on the competition...
The big draw of the day, tho, was the gold medal ice hockey game between the US and Canada. Unless you have lived under a mushroom for the past two weeks you know that this was the one that Canada really wanted and they got it. It was hard to root for the US with all those anxious Canadians packing the stadium and that sea of red jerseys. And their win meant one more rousing rendition of "Oh, Canada".
I wonder if there is some way we can talk them into trading national anthems with us? or maybe Virginia could secede from the US and become a part of Canada? We need to do something to get that anthem - it's too good!
One thing we all need to remember, tho, is that virtually all the hockey players are NFL players, so the good quality of the game shouldn't have been surprising.
Closing Ceremonies: Now comes the final opportunity for everyone to struct some stuff and enjoy one last happy moment. They have given out the white capes again so they can use the audience as part of the scenery. In case you missed the opening event, they had a problem with the cauldron not coming up the right way - one leg of it never came up. Tonight they made fun of themselves by having a mime repairman come out and supervise the raising of that leg of the cauldron before the event began. It's nice to see a country that's able to laugh at itself.
Now comes the entertainment. Apparently it's our opportunity to see some more of "our" stars who are actually Canadian. So a snowboarding drill team, Ben Hepner, a Russian choir, Neil Young (sans Cosby, Nash, and Stills), and moose ears for all. A handover of flags, national anthems sung, a bit of pageantry and a lot of photos taken. Now it's time to reveal those Canadian stars: Captain Kirk, Katherine O'Hara (it's hard to do stand-up comedy in front of 60,000), Michale J. Fox, and Michael Buble. And, it's dancing Mounties and hockey players; giant inflatable beavers and moose, and dancing canoes - a bit like Rocky and Bullwinkle on steroids! Somehow, it's like being inside a giant snow globe.
One last fashion report: The US team has shown up in their Ralph Lauren outfits. They've (the sweaters) gotten a lot of flack for the huge Lauren logo on the front. It does look pretty commercial, but overall I like the look, and especially the berets. It's a kind of marriage of Noel Coward and Russian Cossack.
The Canadians are more informal in their sweaters - complete with a moose head on the front - but their hats are way too much.
Today I'm saving my snarky remarks for the "award ceremony jackets" the US athletes have been wearing. For the first few days I couldn't figure out why sometimes they looked good, and sometimes they looked awful. This photo tells it all.
The fabric is some sort of "ombre" that fades from a dark gray/navy shade to nearly white. And to make it worse, they have not done a good job of matching back to front - pattern-wise - so from the side they are a mess. The second man from the left looks pretty good, with more dark color that anything else. But the guy on the right has a big white ring around his... well, his buttocks, and the guy on the left has a big white ring around his chest. Neither is flattering. The sleeves look like they were playing in Clorox somehow. This is the four-man bobsled team, so they are a bit beefier than most of the athletes, but it didn't work for anyone. Would have been so much better to have gone with the dark color all over.