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Snowboarders Ruling the Olympics for USA February 16, 2006

As of 4:00 PM EST today, the USA ranks 4th in the medal race. American athletes have so far tallied 9 medals, 6 gold, 2 silver, and one bronze.

Interestingly, the Snowboarders account for more than half of these medals — 3 gold and 2 silver. Basically, the snowboarders are saving the Olympics for the USA. Hopefully, this will merit some extra good coverage for tonight’s broadcast of the men’s SBX and tomorrow’s broadcast of the women’s.

Doubtful though. We’re pretty sure it will be all short track and Bode mumfording again. It will be worth tuning into though to see Seth Wescott’s charge into gold medal territory — all of the media accounts make it sound pretty incredible. We can’t stress how critical a DVR is in a situation like this.

Snowboarding… an Olympic Sport!? February 15, 2006

An anonymous heckler comments:

My only point of ‘marvel’ was that it’s been called a sport and even worse that snowboarding is considered an Olympic sport.

What a bunch of crap! The Olympics are for athletes

Really, you’ve got a valid point, Mr. or Mrs. Anon. We also prefer the much more athletic Olympic sports, such as curling, synchronized swimming, figure skating, table tennis, and rhythmic gymnastics.

Anyway, we’re sorry you feel that way about snowboarding. We’d encourage you to give it a try on your own, except that we think the instructor who wrote in earlier may have a really good point… some people are better off sticking to bowling or competitive eating.

Either way, thanks for the anonymous comments. At the GR, we love anonymous comments because we believe in freedom and we love chaos. We will never EVER turn off anonymous commenting*, unlike the wussier blogs in Cyberspace.

* Unless we really want to, because we believe in freedom. See how this freedom thing works? Kinda cool, huh? Comments go below, or send us mail, bitches.

A Plea from Our Nation’s Snowboard Instructors

We just received this interesting letter from an anonymous source:

Fellow Americans,

Many of you have spent the week with your butts glued to the couch, eating cheetos, watching the Olympics, and marveling at how exciting the sport of snowboarding is.  Undoubtedly, this will inspire many of you to break out your dusty, decades old outdoor gear, and head up to your nearest mountain in the next few weekends and give it a try yourselves.

Consider this:  85% of all people who come out and try snowboarding their first time will never come back.  There is a very good reason for this. 

If you are overweight, your fat ass will get stuck on the ground, and you will be unable to get up without the help of your instructor, who will repeatedly be forced to risk life and limb to lift your incredible mass up onto the snowboard, only to have it come pouring back onto the ground because your bloated, awkward midsection makes it very difficult to balance properly. 

If you are out of shape, you will be unable to comply with your instructor’s request to hike a few yards uphill, or skate over to the lift.  If the resort you choose is at a higher altitude, you will have a heart attack.  At a minimum, you will whine frequently and chafe everyone around you, including your instructor, who will smile diminutively at you, in a weak attempt to acknowledge your feelings without encouraging your disgusting slothfulness.

If are old or feeble, you will break one of your wrists, even if you are in good shape.  One would think that this would all be pretty obvious, but for an inexplicable reason, there are thousands of lazy, overweight individuals out there who think that what Shaun White did on Monday night seemed easy enough that they too could give it a try.  If you fit this description, it is my expert opinion that you should find another constructive use for your time, such as bowling, curling, or writing fan mail to the frito lay corporation.     

While I’m at it, if you are dumb, smell bad, prone to crying, or you are recently divorced, you may very well get the hang of snowboarding, but you will thoroughly annoy your instructor so you should probably think about staying home too. 

Sure, there are great minds out there who have worked hard to develop effective teaching techniques for people of all abilities and ages.  And although the well trained professionals who teach snowboarding are well versed in these techniques, you are probably too cheap to afford a private lesson, and therefore, your corpulent ass will end up in a group of 10 or 15 people of varying abilities, whereby, your instructor will immediately recognize that you are a lost cause. 

If you are wise, lazy, and fat, you’ll recognize this early on in the lesson, feign an injury, and head into the ski lodge for a slice of pie.  If you are stubborn, lazy, and fat and decide to stick it out for the entire lesson, you will ruin the experience for everyone else in your group.  Your instructor, recognizing that your 250 lb frame is nothing but a flabby liability, will be forced to hold everyone back, and the 16 year old three season athlete in your group who really does have the aptitude and desire to learn won’t even get to ride the ski lift on their first day, which will ruin the experience for them, too.   

Strangely, the vast majority of you who watched the Superbowl were not inspired to start training to be a middle linebacker.  But, somehow, after watching Lindsay Jacobellis cruise to a gold medal in Turin, you might get the urge to give it a go on your own.

Don’t.  You can’t.  You will be miserable, cold, and waste perfectly good money that you could have spent on Omaha Steaks.  Trust me on this.
Thank you,
Your Friendly Neighborhood Snowboard Instructor

P. S.  Tipping is appropriate and always appreciated.  Thanks!

Comments? Post ‘em or mail them in, bitches. 

Ladies Night in Bardonecchia February 14, 2006

Just like the men, the US women came within a few tenths of a point of performing a complete sweep in the halfpipe yesterday, while walking away with Gold and Silver medals for the USA. This would have been quite an amazing feat, except for the fact that there were only two other riders in the final.

For reals, we thought we were tuning into an international Olympic contest, but NBC decided to nix every non-US athlete except for Aussie hottie Torah Bright and bronze medal winner Kjersti Buaas. Oh, and we did get to see Doriane Vidal in the qualifier, but not in the final. Sigh… we still love NBC though, but kind of in the way that you still love your dog even after it shits on your neighbors rug, because, well, he’s still the only dog you have.

Alright, enough hating on NBC. This is what we have to deal with if we want Mom to ask us about Shaun White the next time we are over there for dinner. So, some love is in order for what was good about ladies night.

Major, major props goes to Hannah Teter for besting Gretchen Bleiler and the rest of the field. Suffering a knee injury that was bad enough to prevent her from attending the opening ceremonies and severely cut into her practice time, she showed major guts when she showed up blasting away huge frontside nines and stomping a line that she had barely practiced all week. What most impressed us, however, was her victory lap. Teter had to be aware that her first run wasn’t substantially better than Bleiler’s, so rather than cheesing it up for the crowd on her second run like Shaun White had done the day before, Teter put the hammer down and went huge. There should be no doubt that yesterday, Teter was the best.

Not to be confused with Kelly ClarksonKelly Clark also turned in an extra gutsy performance. Her last run would have been a medal winner with an easy straight air on her last hit. Instead, she boosted a HUGE frontside 9 (we’re still wondering if she was looking for the 1080 she was reportedly practicing.) If she hadn’t washed out on the landing, that run would have hands down won the gold medal. Nice job, Kelly, now please stop singing before you drop in.

In other Olympic news, Bode “Mumford” Miller is continuing his streak of totally fucking up at the Olympics, having been disqualified from the combine today for straddling a gate. Also, USA snowboard cross team member Jayson Hale was injured in practice and won’t compete on Thursday. The silver lining here is that at least we won’t have to hear the NBC commentators drone on and on about the potential for another American sweep. Sweeping at the Olympics is so 2002 anyway.

NBC decks out during Men’s Halfpipe February 13, 2006

Top Ten Things We Would Rather Watch Than Olympic Men’s Halfpipe*:

5) Sappy videos featuring a shirtless 5 year old Shaun White and stories about Mrs. White burning burritos in a hotel.
4) Ancient Relic and Ex-Olympian Michelle Kwan at a press conference.
3) Bode Miller mumfording.
2) Bob Costas asking Shaun White if he is going to get laid in the Olympic Village.
1) Nifty short track speed skating. (Dude, it’s almost as fun as watching your kid brothers race car set! Around and around they go!!! Yay!!!)

*Or, at least that’s what NBC figures we’d rather be seeing. Was it just us, or did yesterday’s coverage totally blow? In addition to all the crap we had to fast-forward through in order to get to the snowboarding part of the broadcast, there was quite a bit lacking.

Like, how did they totally 86 the German athletes from the contest? What happened on Andy Finch’s second run in the final? Wasn’t there a Canadian rider who made the final? Why didn’t they put Molly Aguirre and Carrie White on the TV more?

The answers are pretty obvious to us: NBC has a deep and festering hatred for Germans and Canadians, NBC is gay, and Pat Parnell was so drunk that he was vomiting during Finch’s second run and so they couldn’t show it on TV. Parnell’s drunkenness also explains how, not once but twice, he made the claim that Antti Autti was the only athlete present to have beaten White before. White finished THIRD behind Autti AND Andy Finch in the 2005 X-games.

Kass:  Air-to-fakie en route to Olympic SilverNBC did do a few things right. First, they at least had the temerity to show both of Mathieu Crepel’s qualifiers, where he landed 1260s. (Not that you would have known that was a big deal, due to Parnell’s extreme drunkenness.) They did hook up the coverage in HD. NBC also showed more of the qualifier than we were expecting, though this was probably because of the nail biter White endured after decking out on his first run. Finally, we got to see Antti Autti choke, and also saw both of Danny Kass and Mason Aguirre’s runs. Danny Kass is a snowboard machine, and props to Mason. (Though, we are thinking that Mason’s silver medal winning run from this year’s X-games might have been good enough to defeat Shaun White’s winning run at the Olympics. Damn, you, 2 run format.)

Still, we are forced to conclude that in 2010, we will be much more excited about the X-games than the Olympics. Seeing the coverage of the event live, in totality, and uninterrupted by a sputtering Michelle Kwan is just so much better than what NBC delivered. Plus, the X-games format, with a 3 run final, is way better than the 2 run format with the quirky 6-12 qualifying scheme the IOC prefers. Fucking skiers.

Even still, we’ll admit that we will be parked in front of the TV tonight for the women’s halfpipe coverage. We won’t spoil it for you here but if you venture into Cyberspace you can get the results for that contest — and it was a bit of a shocker.

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