American highs and lows from Torino

By Sean Quinn

Americans are feeling about as empty as the medals themselves now that the Winter Olympics are over. They came and went about as fast as a Ben Affleck movie. For two weeks, we watched odd sports performed by athletes and just regular folk. Our eastern European geography lesson is over, as is our craving for curling.

Unfortunately the events are over, but Avril Lavigne is still singing, or at least attempting to. Whether we related to a Home Depot employee or an athletic icon, we did so on delayed time.

We have to slip back into our boring, non-Olympic society, and we’ll have to settle for March Madness. Here are some of the best and worst from Italy.American athletes we’ll miss

Tanith Belbin

Belbin and partner Ben Agosto’s silver-medal performance gave the Americans their first ice dancing medal in 30 years. Her beauty and grace both on and off the ice gave Americans a breath of fresh wintry air compared to the moist bitterness we tasted after watching Misty May and Kerri Walsh sloshing around the sand in Athens. We’d all rather watch Belbin build a snowman wearing three layers and a parka than gaze at the volleyball tandem oiling each other up on the sand. It’s like comparing…well, Belbin to any other female athlete. She’s the only thing America has ever wanted from Canada. The American women figure skaters were supposed to steal the show in Torino, but it was Belbin’s performance that garnered the largest enthusiasm out of any American woman at the games.

Apolo Anton Ohno

Oh, yes. We’re still not sure what exactly is on his chin or whether anyone has ever told him Deion is the only one who pulls of a bandana under a helmet, but we will surely miss his dedication to his craft. The intensity of the sport only adds to the allure of Ohno. The race goes faster than Paris Hilton on a first date, and although Ohno started off slow in his first races in Torino, he finished strong with three medals. He is responsible for making short track speed skating popular among youths in this country and hopefully this won’t be the last we see of him.

Sasha Cohen

A silver medal was a gift for America’s shoulda-woulda-coulda golden girl. Her permanent teeth still haven’t come in, so don’t be surprised to see her in Vancouver in 2010. Michelle Kwan bowing out could have put the final ounces of pressure on Cohen, which pushed her down on the ice twice in her long program. After Tara Lipinski and Sarah Hughes captured gold for the Americans in the previous two Olympics, Cohen couldn’t come through for her country, but as long as she’s bendy, she’s beautiful.

Shaun White

He’s not Cohen dating material, but he is a gold medalist. “The flying tomato” didn’t splatter on the halfpipe like his crush Cohen did on the ice. The Americans dominated snowboarding, as they should have at these games. Anyone over the age of 25 really hasn’t heard of White before, as the X Games are usually far down on their list of priorities that are highlighted by icy hot, orthopedic shoes and lots of Dr. Phil. His big hair and big head, though, did represent Generation Y well in the eyes of many American spectators. And you have to admire his grammar, which unlike Lindsey Jacobellis, did not contain the remark ‘like’ after every other word.

Joey Cheek

It takes a big man to be called Joey beyond the age of 10. America has been looking for a Joey to admire ever since “Full House’s” Joey Gladstone. All you can say about this Joey’s contribution of his prize money to charity is “Whoah!” This isn’t an athlete that makes millions or even tens of thousands of dollars competing in speed skating, making his donation all the more astonishing. The sport makes him about as rich as celery. Cheek should get his own show on NBC replacing Matt LeBlanc.

Performers America wants to ship to Iceland

Bode Miller

We liked Miller back in Salt Lake City, as his confidence merely tip-toed the line of cockiness and led to two silver medals. Americans and Nike, apparently, expected more out of the first American in 22 years to win the Apline’s overall World Cup title. The party boy, though, drank more bottles of Bacardi during his first night in Torino than the number of races he finished. Miller did not finish two races, was disqualified from another and his best finish was a mediocre fifth place. Still, he insisted he was pleased with his performance. The only thing worse than his performance were the brilliant ads made by Nike’s junior varsity squad.

Michelle Kwan

What are you 80? Seriously, the girl has been eligible for four Olympics. She’s lucky an injury forced her out of these games, because another lackluster skating performance on the sport’s grandest stage would only add to the misery that is Michelle Kwan. Her performances aside, though, her conniving remarks and bitterness around Lipinski in Nagano, along with her rush out onto the ice before Sarah Hughes skated off in Salt Lake City has made her character mirror that of Tonya Harding. Kwan was never America’s sweetheart and rightfully so.

USA Hockey

It should be simple for USA Hockey – watch “Miracle” before every game. Without a bitter rival, good vs. evil, it might be hard for the Americans to play with much passion. Perhaps Afghanistan will get a hockey team. The grueling NHL schedule did not give the American men much time for rest and apparently didn’t give much of anything to Mike Modano. The women’s game has become so much more competitive than eight years ago, as Team USA lost for the first time to a country not named Canada. It wouldn’t be such a bad idea to let the amateurs play again for the Americans, maybe then we’d see some heart.

Johnny Weir

Stop raiding RuPaul’s closet. What a weirdo this guy is. He makes Michael Jackson seem like a stand-up guy. How about his excuse for his poor performance in the long program, that he didn’t get to the rink on time and he was black inside. Oh yeah, he lost his aura, too. Now, if he lost his dog that would be a different story. There’s no way a guy so fruity can every feel less than purple inside. America is in bad shape when we start longing for the days of Brian Boitano.

Lindsey Jacobellis

Just don’t fall down. Just stand up. Just coast into victory. That’s all Jacobellis had to do to assure herself of a gold medal. Instead she performed a sixth-grade trick and fell down, finishing in second place. Showboating at the Olympics goes over about as well as making out in front of your grandparents. Jacobellis showed us why we were afraid of snowboarders. She had to maker her parents proud, and by parents I mean Bode Miller.

Shani Davis

This guy really isn’t even American, he trains out of the country and sees his fellow American speed skaters about as often as Britney Spears’ baby sees a car seat. Davis should have competed in the relay with teammates, including Chad Hedrick. The first African-American to make a U.S. speed skating team could have left a lasting impression on these Olympics, much like what Vonetta Flowers did in 2002, instead we’ll remember him for what he didn’t do, not what he did – win two medals.

The medals

This could be the reason Bode Miller didn’t want to win any medals, they didn’t serve as adequate coasters for his can of O’Douls (the water-downed taste is appetizing to the water-downed performer). The medals looked better the first time these athletes saw them, in their CD players. Apparently the concept of medals, not doughnuts, eluded the Italians. What did we expect, after all, we’re still not sure if the Olympics were in Turin or Torino or Albert Tomba’s backyard.

One reply on “American highs and lows from Torino”

decent article… Except I’m pretty sure in 25 years more people will remember Shani Davis over Chad Hedrick and Joey Cheek, unless either of the latter two become FBI-wanted criminals. Shani did what was best for him. Hedrick wanted him to skate for Hedrick’s personal glory (going for 5 golds) but Shani had no part of it. They were both looking out for themselves. Let it go.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *