Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vancouver Day 17: See You in Sochi

Yes, the Canadians set the record for gold medals in a Winter Games. Yes, they got the one they really wanted and Sidney Crosby's legend is secure. But ultimately, I think the real winner of these Games will be the British Columbia tourist industry. I expect the Olympics will do for BC what The Lord of the Rings did for New Zealand. Postcard perfect! We went to Oregon for our honeymoon and just fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. If we hadn't been so set on settling in the Eastern Time Zone, I think that part of the world would have been a wonderful alternative. Perhaps in the next life...

What a hockey game! I'll say it again, how could Gary Bettman not want this?'s Michael Rosenberg had an excellent column explaining why the NHL should stick with the Olympics forever. My favorite line from the piece: "If you don't like watching Olympic hockey, you will never enjoy watching hockey."

The only reasonable alternative would be a quadrennial World Cup in the summer and I have a very difficult time imagining that hockey on its own could generate Olympic-level buzz in the off season. Olympic hockey is already steeped in mythology and casual fans are going to pay attention. Granted, we're not always going to get the storybook ending we got this time but there is no substitute for the best in the world playing for love of sport and pride in country.

My Wife, an enthusiastic gardener, was curious about the flowers given to the medalists. According to Slate Magazine: "A combination of spider chrysanthemums, hypericum berries, and aspidistra leaves." Here's the scoop, along with the answers to many other Olympic questions.

There were peaks and valleys in the Closing Ceremony but boy, I love that Russian national anthem! It is definitely the world's best and I got to play it once in high school band as part of a welcoming ceremony for some Russian (then Soviet) exchange students. It should also be recognizable to fans of the film The Hunt for Red October. I love the Olympics but to be perfectly honest, I'd be just as happy with two straight weeks of Russian choral music. I'm not even kidding. As much as I like Sarah McLachlan and Joni Mitchell, I'll take Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky anytime.

The Games were great. Sticking with hockey and curling and thus minimizing my exposure to human interest stories worked out pretty well. It's good to get a glimpse of all the different sports but it's also nice to dig more deeply into one or two. I have yet to latch on to a Summer Olympic sport as I did with curling this time. Maybe I'll find one in 2012. On to London in two years and Sochi in four.

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