MICHAEL RUSSELL

Opinion: Three takeaways from opening weekend of Winter Olympics

Feb 12, 2018, 5:04 PM

Mirai Nagasu of the United States celebrates after her performance in the ladies single skating fre...

Mirai Nagasu of the United States celebrates after her performance in the ladies single skating free skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

We are off and running: The 2018 Winter Olympic Games are underway in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

I’m a huge fan of the Olympics. I know there are a lot of you that roll your eyes when it comes to the biennial events, but I take them for what they are — entertainment.

The Olympics don’t renew my American pride (it doesn’t need renewing). I realize that the “world coming together through sport” is Hallmark nonsense.

Don’t believe me? This is the 23rd Winter Games and the first 22 didn’t seem to rid the world of strife.

Yes, that is a hard truth but an important reminder to take these games for what they are: entertainment and big business. So grab a cold whatever-beverage-is-sponsoring-the-games, grab an American flag, park your behind on the couch and be entertained.

Here are a few of my takeaways from opening weekend.


Opening ceremonies

(AP Photo)

First, it’s time to retire Ralph Lauren as Team USA’s uniform designer. These things were just ridiculous. Hey Ralph, Lloyd Christmas from “Dumb and Dumber” called and wants his gloves back.

Next, Greased Up Topless Guy makes a mockery of Olympic sport.

Remember the tae kwan do fighter from the Summer Olympic Games? The one that greased himself up and lead his team as the topless flag bearer? He came back.

I guess it so easy to be an Olympic athlete that you can pick another sport in order to continue your 15 minutes of fame and still be the topless flag bearer. Pita Taufatofua of Tonga decided to give cross-country skiing a shot so women around the world could swoon once more.

Finally, technology is scary. Did you see the tiny drones flying through the sky and taking different shapes?

This had my kids asking why daddy was hiding behind the couch and mumbling something about SkyNet.


The Games

(AP Photo)

By “games,” I mean game. Curling dominated the first weekend of the games.

In my opinion, curling is the best Olympic event. It was spruced up a bit this time around with mixed doubles. This was a genius move! It made the sport the most relateable to viewers.

Think about it: Couples working through issues, screaming at each other, solving problems, screaming at each other, celebrating and more screaming at each other. This has become every married couple’s new favorite game.

And speaking of International Olympic Committee moves, how many of you were scratching your heads when you first saw the OAR — Olympic Athletes from Russia — banner?

I thought, along with most of the world, that Russia was on a “time out” after the doping scandal from the last two games.

I guess we were wrong. Russia flexed their ‘roided out muscles and the committee curled into a little ball and let Russia send their 169 athletes to the games. The new punishment: No Russian flags or colors.

That’ll teach ‘em?


Oh, NBC

(AP Photo)

A final note from the first weekend of the Winter Olympic Games: NBC is completely screwing this up.

Look, I love that curling is dominating air time but why did I have to catch Red Gerard’s gold medal win as an end-of-day highlight?

They did, however, find time to show his dad power-chugging beer back home in celebration. Points for that.

Why can I only watch these games on two channels and the interwebs?

Remember the good old days? The days when we could scan USA, TNT, TBS, NBC and NBC Sports to choose which event we wanted to enjoy?

Look, I know I sound old, but I don’t want to watch the games on my computer or phone. NBC is pushing too much online.

Also, the vignettes have got to end! Just show us the games. NBC picks the same storylines with different characters.

We get it: The kid had a hard life but someone said that they believed in them and now they are at the Olympics. Got it. Move on.

Michael Russell

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Opinion: Three takeaways from opening weekend of Winter Olympics