In the end, most countries met their minimum standards for satisfaction in the Sochi Olympics, which almost makes the cost to the hosts of $1.54 billion per medal worth it.
The Russians did get the most medals (though none of the one medal Bad Vlad Putin wanted), the United States dominated the X-games sports, held their own in the skiing and snatched the ice dancing final, the Canadians swept their two national sports (hockey and curling), the Dutch crushed speedskating, the Norwegians did what they usually do when skis are involved, the sportswriters got in their standard three days of complaining about their rooms. Not only that, Mary Carillo got to throw down a shot on prime-time television, the Russian State Police Choir got to bust a weird visual move, Martin St. Louis got a good seat at the parade and everyone else seemed to be relatively untroubled by the competitive aspects of the fortnight, except of course for Pussy Riot.
On the other hand, the U.S. women’s hockey team has the dubious honor of winning the worst medal since the 1972 U.S. men’s basketball team – and when we say worst, we mean the one that will provide the least amount of pleasure between now and the end of their lives. That pretty well stinks.
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Oh, and Nicklas Backstrom, the Swedish and Washington capitals hockey player, failed a drug test and was held out of the gold medal loss to Canada. The drug in question was pseudoephedrine, which is found in the notorious street drug and sniffles-retardant Zyrtec-D. Swedish head of hockey Tommy Boustedt said, “the IOC has destroyed one of the great days in Swedish hockey history,” and also accused the committee of deliberately withholding the results until the day of the gold medal game. Ahh, the fun never ends, even when the fat bear cries.
You would be right in assuming the NHL will bring this up as a side issue when the idea of the 2018 winter games comes up.
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The IOC can’t control the rest of the world, it can only hope to contain it, but while it was all over rogue analgesics, it failed to reckon with Canadian halfpipe coach Trennon Paynter. From Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star, Paynter beat the system through subterfuge, persistence and a sense of justice. After a number of competitors were prohibited from wearing stickers honoring Sarah Burke, a Canadian athlete who died in 2012 in a freestyle skiing accident, Paynter, who was Burke’s coach, beat the man by getting himself on the halfpipe at Sochi and scattering Burke’s ashes. He also saved some of Burke’s remains for the top of the mountain and by the rings at Rosa Khutor.
In other words, unless the IOC can enforce local littering standards, it deservedly loses.
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Meanwhile, Jason Collins. Here’s hoping 10 days becomes 10 more.
That said, his wasn’t the most surprising signing of the weekend. That honor belongs to Texan Zadock Winkelmann, who gave a verbal commitment to LSU before escaping the clutches of eighth grade. Winkelmann, who is listed as 6-4, 190, is a quarterback who is the nephew of former Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer – a blessing and curse as it turns out, as he will attend Somerset High (suburb of San Antonio) as the likely backup to . . . Koy Detmer, Jr.
So yes, LSU just got a commitment from an eighth grader who may not even be the best quarterback at his Thanksgiving Day table.
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And they say kids aren’t interested in ancient history any more. From Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, embedded at the NFL Combine Degrade-o-thon: “(Alabama safety) HaHa Clinton-Dix just said the worst thing about his nickname is ‘the whole Clinton/Lewinsky’ thing.”
Google it, minors. And then giggle like you discovered something really dirty.
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Greg Oden (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig) started for Miami Sunday in place of LeBron James (a.k.a. Wally Pipp).
Although it could be the other way around.
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And finally, A’s manager Bob Melvin has rejoined Twitter (under an alias, the coward), if only to spy on/keep up with several of his players and local beat writers. The players should offer no problem, but Comrade Stiglich and his fellow typists are on notice.