This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Biennial EPTH Olympic Review

Whatever happened to just winning gold medals and not being extreme?

The Olympics are over, and despite the USA's obvious failures, very few watched. We'd apparently rather watch those "other" Olympics, namely American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. Anyway, The great thing about the real Olympics is that technically only 3 people or teams in any given event succeed, and the others go home totally emptyhanded and in various states of shame. Instead of celebrating the champions, who have worked way too hard on a freak sport that only takes on significance once every four years (and requires you to be cold for long periods of time), let's celebrate the losers, who probably have actual lives beyond skiing and skeletoning:
  • The Grand Daddy of Olympic Failure, Bode Miller didn't finish higher than 5th in any of his 5 (that's FIVE) events. The "brazen and unintimidated" Nike pitchman made his failure complete on the last day of competition as he got disqualified for straddling the very first gate* of his last event, the Super Duper Giant Slalom. This was choking at a Greg Norman- or (dare we say) Dan Jansen-level. Need I remind you that this dude was on the covers of Time and Newsweek in the days heading up to the games? Need I remind you that this guy wasn't just a contender but a favorite in at least 3 of these 5 races? Need I remind you that, according to english grammar, this guy mispronounces his own name? However, Epth Nation loves Bode Miller for his cavalier attitude towards losing and therefore forgives him for his brazen skiing persona.
  • Sasha Cohen, while not technically a failure (she won a silver), fell spectacularly a couple of times right at the beginning of her final program ("long program?" "short program?" "Free skate?" "Let's extend this competition to get better Olympic ratings...program?"). This ensured that she would lose the gold, which since she was the favorite makes her a failure. Not even favorable judges and a system that rewards past success could save her -- she just fell too dang much. Maybe now she can stop taking those hormones that keep her so short, and get on with her lifetime of Stars on Ice XXVII and Skating with Celebrities IX. I hope she likes Gary Coleman.
  • Lindsey Jacobellis, the heavy favorite in whatever snow-board-intensive event it was she competed, was winning. Had she just left well-enough alone, Epth Nation wouldn't have noticed her at all. However, because she saw herself as the living embodiment of the X-Games spirit, she did some obvious and anti-sportmanshippy hot-dog move at the end of her race, totally biffed, and ended up losing the gold. As grandma would say, "Serves her right for being such a poor sport." But that's the spirit of the X-Games, which have somehow made their way into the Olympics. Were it not for these X-events (and the terribly tricked-up Short Track Speedskating), we in the USA wouldn't have won 2/3 the medals we did. Even so, Norway ended up beating us. That's not Lindsay Jacobellis' fault, but since she sacrificed a gold to become the Avatar for the word "extreme," it goes in her bullet point.
  • The US Hockey Team, a team chock-full of NHL superstars, went 1-4-1 before being eliminated by Finland in the Quarterfinals. At least they didn't trash the hotel like they did in 98, right? Still, it's very disappointing. We Americans are looking for some hockey team to take the torch from the '80 team -- which is still running in place, looking at their collective watch, and wondering when the next team will show up and if they left the iron on. But think how Canada feels -- they got eliminated in the quarters, and those people actually care about hockey.
  • The apparently beloved and defintely mega-hyped Michelle Kwan waited until the last possible second to tell anyone that she wasn't going to show up, so they had to use the Concord or something to get poor little Emily Hughes over there so she could fail in Kwan's place. Despite her hype, Ms. Kwan has won a total of 0 (zero) Olympic golds. Nobody likes a bang-to-hype ratio** that's so out of whack. Maybe she'll win one when she's 40.
  • The rest of the US Olympic team, who excelled in the new sports that we invented (snow cross, snow boarding, that event where they launch themselves high up in the air and twist around, snow pot-smoking, extreme death luge, red rover on skates, nordic combined and at the same time (think about it), etc.), but failed almost universally in every other sport. And even when we didn't fail, we were horrible winners who hated our own teammates. Maybe B. Gumbel is right -- bring on March Madness.
*I didn't see it, and I don't know what this means, but I'm getting a disturbing mental picture right now. That's probably something you should be DQ'd for.

** term copyright M. Rhyner, KTCK, 1998?.


  • At 10:21 AM, Blogger pete said…

    I heard a comment on ESPN radio that the Olympics are nothing for us because we frankly beat the world at most of the things that really matter (big guns, nice houses, movies and cable TV. For little Croatia to take it to the big Eagle is terribly empowering for them. They live it up for years - literally.

    I suggest a new Olympic strategy - suck. That's right, "let the droid win", over and over again. To the point that these countries begin to feel sorry for the poor hapless Americans who try so hard and always come up sucking wind. Honestly how can you hate a country that can't even win an Olympic medal?

    No more ugly American, now its "Buy that poor chap a pint and give him a free t-shirt, after all he's only an American." Global security thing solved instantly and not for billions of dollars but for the minor cost of giving up medals in the biathalon and decorating with sequins.

  • At 7:58 PM, Blogger Mike Pape said…

    We should definitely let other countries invent sports that we're no good at, like standing in line. If I weren't American, I would root against us. It was so much better when there were Russians.


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