February 7, 2014

Snapshots on the Sochi Game – from my couch

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey, Olympics

As the 22nd Winter Olympics held it’s typically massive opening ceremony today, I feel the need to share some thoughts about the Sochi Games and how they’ll turn out – for better and worse.

- The reporting on the toilet and hotel situation for these Games has been second to none so far. I can’t remember ever seeing so many photos of Russian toilets. Thank you, Internets, for keeping us up to date on this crappy situation.

-While there are many things that probably shouldn’t have been left until the last minute by organizers, shouldn’t the stray dog situation have been dealt with a lot better? First off, it’s terrible to cull 2,000 dogs for the sake of appearances; second, with more time, these dogs could have been dealt with properly by finding them homes or a pound. I also know there’s a lot of people in North America that would love to help rescue dogs – send them over here!

-And how about that number of strays?! Get your pets spayed or neutered, Russia!

-I probably should have started with this, but I seriously hope there won’t be a terrorist attack and I’d be willing to bet that the Games will be peaceful in that sense. There will likely be some protests over some of the boiling issues of the area, but no big flare ups.

-Is this going to be the warmest Winter Olympics or what? The only snow I’ve seen is up in the mountains and it’s basically T-Shirt weather in town. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

-I think it’s pretty good that the NHLers will be staying in the Athlete’s Village with the rest of their countrymates. At the London Games, NBA players all stayed at luxury hotels. Then again, when you’re 6′11″, I don’t think you would fit on one of the beds provided in the village.

-You can’t overlook the fact that soccer’s World Cup will be in Russia in four years time and games will be held in Sochi. So, let’s hope that the hotels are finished by then.

-I’ve said this before about the NHL taking a two-week break in it’s season and sending players to the Olympics, but I’ll say it again: I don’t like it. These Games shouldn’t be about pro athletes making millions; it should be about the little guys. But since every NHL team has at least two players heading to Russia, at least there’s some balance out there.

-If I were a better man, I’d take Sweden for the gold, beating Canada. Russia wins bronze, much to Putin’s disappointment.

-How are there events happening before the opening ceremonies? Snowboarding slopestyle and figure skating have already kicked off, yet the Games aren’t even open? Is the schedule really that tight for the next two weeks? I’m sure that this kind of tomfoolery could have been avoided.

-While some criticize slopestyle – or just don’t know what it is – it’s an awesome event. Watching what some of the top guys in the event can do is midblowing.

-Tossup for best nickname of the Games: Iouri (iPod) Podladtchikov or Mark (McRib) McMorris?

-Is McMorris the first star of a MTV show to compete in the Olympics? That has to be a first, right?

-You would think that Canadian Olympians like Sebastian Toutant and Maxence Parrot would have a little class instead of calling Shaun White a coward for withdrawing due to injury. Come on guys, you’re better than that.

-White winning the halfpipe gold is about as sure of a bet as there is at the Games.

-Worst part about the Games for people that aren’t interested in them: There’s nothing else on. Networks will likely go to re-runs and at the theatres, well, they call it “Dumpuary” for a reason.

-The amount of televised Olympics that will be broadcast in Canada reaffirms just how crazy we are as a country for the Winter Games. A total of more than 1,500 hours will be broadcast, which is roughly three times the amount of hours broadcast by NBC in the U.S. and massively outdoing countries like Germany (240 hours), France and the UK (200). It really goes to show that nobody cares about the Games as much as Canada does – for good and bad.

-You’ll be hearing a lot of about Norway winning a lot of medals and wondering how a smaller nation can do so well. The reason Norway usually kills it at the Winter Games: Cross-country skiing events. The Norwegians have multiple medal threats in each event based around cross-country skiing – and there are quite a few. When you consider the climate of Norway and how skiing is part of its culture, it’s a lot easier to understand why it is so good.

PREDICTION TIME

-Most medals: USA-Norway-Canada.

-Most golds: Norway-Canada-USA.

-Russia’s performance: Fourth in medals, average at hosting.

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