After all the foofaraw about the righteousness or the wrong-headedness of allowing Michele Kwan to be on the Olympic team when she could not compete
in the qualifying meet, Michele Kwan withdrew from the Olympics over the weekend. Look, I don't know Michele Kwan from Genghis Khan and - truth be
told - I really have no interest in knowing her, but all the 'energy' that was given to that issue really makes me wonder if it was all staged. I
wonder if everyone knew all along that there was no way she was going to compete in Turin.
I don't follow figure skating and - truth be told - if it were banned from the sporting firmament tomorrow, I'd let out one of the loudest cheers.
But unless I missed something, Michele Kwan's last major competition was a year ago in the World Championships where she finished 'out of the money'.
Folks, if I look at past performances only , I'd be tempted to pick Secretariat to win this year's Breeders’ Cup Classic - except for the fact that
the only reason I'd be picking him is that he's Secretariat and he was a great racehorse 30 years ago. In terms of recent 'racing form',
Secretariat's is a bit thin - because he's dead. Michele Kwan was in the Olympics for only one reason; she's Michele Kwan and she used to skate well.
But in 2005/2006, she's been a loser.
After her withdrawal, she issued a statement, 'I have no regrets; I tried my hardest. And if I don’t win the gold, it's OK. I've had a great
career; I've been very lucky.' Excuse me, 'IF you don't win the gold...'? You can't be thinking for even a nanosecond that you'll be finagling your
way onto the 2010 Olympic team can you? By that time, you'll have done your 750th performance of The Wizard of Oz on Ice if you continue to be lucky
in your career. Otherwise, as Tony Kornheiser might speculate, you'll be slicing deli meat.
Oh, but this saga didn't end there. No, Peter Uberroth, USOC Chairman, had to venture way out into the wilderness of hyperbole. Said
Uberroth,'Michele Kwan means more to the United States Olympic Committee than maybe any athlete who has ever performed.' I want to do a public
service here for our nation's esteemed Olympic Committee Chairman.
Memo to Peter Uberroth:
Google some of the following names/terms in order to give yourself some historical perspective with regard to the
committee you head up:
Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali
'Do you believe in miracles?'
So, now to generate more buzz, look for the USOC and the IOC to figure a way to get Tonya Harding to do a cameo appearance in Turin. Truth be told -
her 'appearance fee' can't be very high these days...
Oh, and Bode Miller took gas over the weekend too; one more hyped gasbag goes down in flames. Maybe he needed a few pops before hitting the slopes?
If there is justice in the universe, this guy will recede into the dimness of our collective memory as he gets on with his life and pursues his career
delivering newspapers. And - truth be told - there is just a hint of irony in the results of the downhill race here. Bode Miller - the skier who
sometimes went down the mountain 'under the influence' earned 'a fifth' place finish.
The US women’s ice hockey team is being mentioned as a contender for a medal. In their warm-ups for the Olympic competition, the team played a
boy's high school hockey team. And the Olympians got pasted. I doubt that NBC will allow that truth to be told when they try to get you to watch any
portions of the women's ice hockey competition.
Speaking of ice hockey, I did check to see that the Canadian men's team is currently at 11/10 odds to win the gold medal. That's a good thing because
at those odds it's less likely that Janet Jones will be getting down on that action - - and Wayne Gretzky and the NHL need for her wagering habits to
recede into the dimness of our collective memory even further than Bode Miller will.
While grazing through the channels, I happened upon a run of the two-man luge competition. I have no idea who was competing and I dallied on the
channel for about 10 seconds or so. But it did get me thinking that if two men wanted to train for this competition, they could do so by luging - is
that a legitimate gerund? - down Brokeback Mountain. And the more I think about that picture I saw, I suspect that training for the two-man luge
competition might be illegal here in Virginia where I reside.
The Raiders finally hired a coach. Art Shell will return to the Raiders. Let me tell you how long ago it was that Art Shell was the coach of that
team. He never coached the Oakland Raiders; he coached the Los Angeles Raiders. Let's just say that the intervening coaches have been less than
stellar - save for Jon Gruden who had a winning record with the Raiders but could not get a long-term lucrative deal out of Al Davis. And we do know
what happened as soon as the Raiders 'traded' Gruden to the Bucs for some draft picks...
Finally, here's a tremendous line from Bernie Lincicome of the Rocky Mountain News as he did his lead-in column for the Winter Olympic Games:
'Luciano Pavarotti, the Italian tenor of The Three Tenors, the last tenor if you believe the hype, will perform (in the Opening Ceremony) meaning that
not only are the Games not over, they can't even start until the fat laddie sings.'
But don't get me wrong, I love sports... ... ...
[Edited on 22/2/06 by TRD]