Thursday, August 19, 2010

Important Olympics/Orangutan News UPDATE

Mostly for this picture:

It... appears to be working?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Important Olympics/Orangutan News

Dutch Olympian to Teach Orangutans How to Swing -- Reuters

This is exactly what it sounds like. The Netherlands built a new enclosure for their orangutans, one that will allow them to swing around to their hearts' content. The problem? They've apparently forgotten how to do that.

The solution?

This guy.

No, really. The solution for this is to have Dutch gymnast Epke Zonderland enter the enclosure on Friday and, I am not making this up, swing from branch to branch, from tree to tree, in an effort to make the orangutans catch on.

Looks like it's working already.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

O Canada! (True North, Strong and Free)

Point the first: Let's let everyone know whose game they're playing.

Point the second: FuckYeahKateBeaton.

Point the third: The CN Tower is gold.

Point the fourth: Did Canada own the podium? Canada did not win more medals than the US. It did win more gold medals than any other country, and more gold medals than any other host country, ever.

In conclusion: Canada, I know it's not your wont, but feel free to bask. Just a little bit.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hooray for the Olympics!

Can I just say? Can I just say? I love it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ice Dancing!

I do not own a TV. As such, my Olympics-watching has been happening mostly post-game (although that's what everyone is doing, thanks to NBC's not exactly simulcast).

But you guys! My roommate knows Charlie White, who is totally a medalist in Ice Dancing! I'll get my roommate to give me the rundown soon. In the meantime, have a picture of Plushenko looking peeved (or like he's whipping his body around much faster than normal).

Monday, February 22, 2010

V. V. French

While Shaun White was melting everyone's faces off with his Double McTwist 1260, you might have been asking yourself, "What are the French snowboarders up to?" (Please note, if you were thinking this during Shaun White's performance, you are le crazy).

Two words: Sharpie Moustaches.

The coach! The coach has one!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Olympic Overload!

Oh man, there is so much Olympics going on, I can't even say.

First off, we have an amazing entry into the field of sports journalism by Timothy Eagan, about Canada broadly and his fake ID specifically and national identity and all that good stuff.

And then we have some malfunctioning zambonis, that meant an intermission of about an hour for no good reason... but it gave us more time to ogle the speed skaters.

There's a good story in here somewhere about gender bias in the Olympics and why women aren't allowed to ski jump (spoiler alert: it's because they would beat all the men) but a Canadian curler could be competing while five months pregnant (awesome!!).

I've got to write more in-depth about the NBC coverage and the internet and twitter and Olympics Triple Play (and Dick Ebersol and Dick Ebersol's sweater) and why something like this can totally happen in this day and age:

Aaaaaand that's not even getting started on the incredible tales of athletic prowess, speed, precision, and artistry that are going on. So yes! I am going to get back to watching Shaun White beat the pants off everyone. In the meantime, here:

Enjoy your mind trip as you watch Quatchi watch himself WATCH YOU.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Reasons I love the Olympics:

#123010398834: Great cover music.

#2039238480209393: Team Norway's curling pants. Update! Now available for purchase!

#32311232109292: Graham Watanabe:

When asked in a press conference (for probably the five-hundredth time this week) what it feels like to participate in the Olympic games, Watanabe, an American Snowboarder, said, “Try to imagine Pegasus mating with a unicorn and the creature that they birth. I somehow tame it and ride it into the sky in the clouds and sunshine and rainbows. That’s what it feels like.”

Graham Watanabe

An approximation of the beast he tamed and rode into the sky

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Opening Ceremony!

When I was but a wee lass, my family had an antenna system attached to the TV. Because we lived in the middle of nowhere, we had exactly three TV stations available to us: CBS, ABC, and PBS. All were grainy, but I was young and bright-eyed-- I didn't care. My friends had cable, but I didn't mind our grainy stations.

But no NBC, back in those days, meant no Olympics.

There was only one time that my dad went out and started tapping into the neighbor's cable. This was in 1992 for the Winter Olympics. For those two glorious weeks, I held my breath as Kristi Yamaguchi triple axeled her way into my heart.

Flash forward to today. I again find myself without cable, but no matter! I have a laptop with which to watch the live stream.

Only... NBC wasn't streaming. And CTV was inaccessible to Les Américains. So there I sat, refreshing three different liveblogs and reading twitter streams and imagining what it must be like.

Apparently it was a nice ceremony. I've been able to see some clips now, and I'll be sure to watch the entire thing someday soon. In the meantime, a big shout out to Kate Beaton, or @beatonna as she is sometimes known, for keeping me happy while I was not watching the torch being lit.




I realize this is old news, but news it is: the Olympic Movement suffered one of its greatest tragedies right before the Opening Ceremonies when Georgian luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili lost control of his sled, smashed into a pillar, and died while taking a training run on Whistler's luge track.

My urge is to make light of even the most serious of incidents, but I will try and refrain. He will be remembered as a great athlete from a little country, a young man who never reached his full potential.


Goodbye, Nodar. I hope you thought you were flying.



Friday, February 12, 2010

Canadian Superheroes: Official Designation

We here at Mount Olympics are rather proud of the tags on this here blog, but perhaps we have never been prouder than at this very moment. From today's New York Times Sports Section:
February 12, 2010 
A Fashion Statement Designed to Grab Gold
RICHMOND, British Columbia — Look at that figure streaking into view on the Richmond Oval. Is it a crossing guard? Is it a backpacker? 
Actually, it is Christine Nesbitt of Canada in her new superhero bodysuit.
We here at Mount Olympics have been using the "Canadian Superheroes" tag for just under two years, and we treasure it as one of our greatest innovations. As such we will take this opportunity to be a little bit smug. Yes, that's right, New York "Our Coverage Takes the Gold" Times. Because we called it.

OMG Google





Thursday, February 11, 2010

Google ski view

Back in the heady days of 2007, I once dreamed that I could attend the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. It was my plan. I was going to do it.

Now, with a job and some responsibilities, I realize that going for the official Games is ridiculous. (I still occasionally check ticket prices in mid-march for the Paralympic games...) BUT I still want to be there!

And Google has made it as close to possible as I'll get. Fantastic.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How Badass is Curling?

According to the BBC, it is really, really badass.

BBC Sport - 2010 Winter Olympics Inuit Animation

NO snow at the Winter Olympics??

Remember how I said earlier that the Winter Olympics were, at least to some degree, dependent upon the natural world? Well, there are those who wish that were not the case.
I am having a little bit of trouble with this concept, primarily because the only time I visited Vancouver, it was snowy and cold and fairly wintry outside. Also, my house currently looks like this:

Quatchi sees nothing but snow
 Apparently, though, there is a heatwave going on in the Pacific Northwest right now! It's in the upper 40sF (between 6 and 12 Celsius) in Vancouver right now. It's crazy. CRAZY!

It's almost like all of their snow came and dumped on the Eastern Seaboard of the US. 

Seriously, it's apparently beautiful out there, but that's not what we want. We want snow! Lots of it!

Let me be clear. We want that in VANCOUVER, not here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Costumes: Usually not heinous

When last we spoke, I promised to return with some incredibly ridiculous figure skating costumes. I did some research, and it turns out that each ridiculous costume has redeeming value. For instance, Johnny Weir is lauded in some cases for his "ornate, unapologetic style." And no matter what you think of his sometimes questionable choices, you can't help but admit that he wears them like a star.

In another article, Vera Wang (who is apparently in the Skating Hall of Fame for costume design) reviewed some of the costumes of years past. And apparently even neon has its place.


Questionable, but still.

But thank you, Emily, for sending me the article that opened my eyes to the sordid nature of ice dancing costumes. Because really? There is absolutely no excuse for this:

I mean... no.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Figure Skating: A History

This book: it exists.

I tried to check this book out from the library, but it turns out the library does not have a copy of it. "All right," I thought, "screw research." As such, this post will be light on the history, heavy on the Wikipedia, and exhaustive on the skaters in silly costumes.

This is as it should be.

We begin our journey in 1772 when an Englishman named Robert Jones published A Treatise on Skating. He described ice skating as a formal and stiff affair-- that is to say totally and completely English in every way. (To review, the Irish dancers keep their arms rigid because the English tried to root out free-wheeling Irish culture and make everything as staid and inelastic as possible.) This "English Style" of ice skating would not last long, though.

In the mid-1860s, instead of, you know, defending freedom and justice in the American Civil War, Jackson Haines was developing the figure skating style we now know and love. He was a ballet dancer, and he worked to incorporate the same grace and performance into his figure skating performances. He was the first to incorporate much of what we now understand figure skating to be-- the first to incorporate music, the first to actually attach the blades to his boots (instead of, you know, strapping them on), and the first to really do athletic moves in skating. As it turns out, it was hard to stick your landing when your skates were attached with what was basically twine.

Also please note the early introduction of ridiculous costumes.

Then some history happened. It mostly did not involve ridiculous costumes. Pity.

Meet Madge and Edgar Syers. Madge is, to date, the oldest Ladies' gold medalist at age 27.
Also, what is going on with her hat (head cake)?

Join us next time as we bring skating into the modern era with all kinds of technological advancements. Mostly? Sequins.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winter Olympics

Snow! Chill in the air! People sledding down incredibly slick tracks face first! It can only mean one thing: the Winter Games are almost upon us!

The first Winter Games were held in Chamonix in 1924, but nobody knew it at the time. What?

It appears we are at the Winter Olympics, my dear.

Basically, the IOC held a "Nordic week" at the 1924 Olympic Games. Previously, figure skating and hockey had both appeared at the Olympics, but it had become clear that a new approach was needed. Perhaps a week all to themselves? How about eleven days that we'll call a week? Perfect.

Bobsledding was a lot more dangerous back in those days. For one thing, there were GIANT EAGLES clearly bent on killing. Also, no helmets.

From there, it was only a matter of time before the Winter Games became their own event. And once that had happened, why not retroactively declare that "Nordic Week" had actually been the first Winter Games? In fact, why not retroactively declare Pierre de Coubertin King of Everything Forever?

Pierre de Coubertin


However they began, we here at Mount Olymics are glad the Winter Games persevered. (And not just because I gets a huge crush on the speed skaters every single time.) Winter sports showcase a rare instance of athleticism in sync with the natural (or semi-natural) world. You can't ski without snow. You can't skate without ice. And you can't win without understanding that your fate is, in some inextricable way, tied to that of the natural world. Fantastic.

Photo credits:
Gillis Gafstrom, a Swedish figure skater Gillis Grafström and Norwegian Sonja Henie, 1924.
Poster from Chamonix games, complete with terrifying eagle.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Oh, Canada. Not my home and native land, but I love you just the same. We have had some good times together, you and I, and shared many laughs.

But no more.

For the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, however, Canada is taking itself very seriously. Although it has long been a huge player in international winter sporting competitions, Canada has never really come out on top. The world-class Canadian athletes have long settled for silver and bronze, allowing countries like Norway, Russia, and, embarrassingly, the US to dominate.

Hosting the Games hasn't helped, either. During the 1976 Montreal [Summer] Games and the 1988 Calgary Winter Games (think Amik the beaver and Hidy and Howdy), the Canadian team did not win a single gold medal. The Soviet Union dominated both tournaments and the US team made it into the top ten both times.

“We’re the only country to host two Olympic Games and never have won a gold medal at our Games,” Cathy Priestner Allinger told the New York Times. “It’s not a record we’re proud of.”

Well, Canada is fed up and is not going to take take it any more. They are going to win some gold medals come hell or high water. It is taking precautions that some have even termed "American," an insult indeed. For instance, it has limited the practice time American teams are afforded. Also, this year's slogan? "Own the Podium." YEAHHHH!

"Own the Podium is obnoxious and un-Canadian," says Louise Fox, a Canadian etiquette expert told the Wall Street Journal. "Up here we don't toot our own horn like that."

Well, toot away Canada. You toot your pants off. I'll be cheering for you.


Links links links:
"Welcome to Canada... Prepare to Lose," WSJ.
Luge federations spar over Whistler training time , CTV.  
Canada protects home advantage at Olympics, NYT.