Tag Archives: Apolo Anton Ohno

The insanity of short track speedskating relays. And the pancake race where you couldn’t run

There are some crazy-ass sports in the Winter Olympics. The luge, for example (Jerry Seinfeld’s great line about the luge: “It’s the only sport where you can have somebody competing in it against their will, and it’s basically the same exact thing.”)

The snowboardcross. The skeleton (basically a man hurtling downhill at 90 miles per hour).

But nothing, nothing compares to the pure madness of short track speedskating relays.

If you didn’t see it Saturday night, I implore you to do everything in your power to watch it on YouTube or NBCOlympics.com (it wasn’t up at the time of this blog).

My mother-in-law, visiting us from New York, watched the first 30 seconds and said “this is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Hard to argue. It’s five teams of four skaters each, doing a lap around the ice, then, as their teammate skates around the inside of the track, they push the teammate like a relay race, forward into their own lap, and then the whole thing repeats again.

If short track skating in general is roller derby or NASCAR, then the relay is the main event. Man was it fun to watch. The U.S. was trailing most of the race, but somehow got up into third to get a bronze medal. There was bumping, teammates missing the “handoff,” and all kinds of other wild stuff.

Man I wish there was a channel that would show speedskating during non-Olympic years. I’m pissed it’s all over after Saturday.

***Quick hockey update. How ’bout those Americans? SIX goals against Finland in the first period? That’s nuts. And Canada, rolling to a 3-0 lead, then barely hanging on against Slovakia, and winning 3-2.

Man, that is going to be a whale of a hockey game Sunday for the gold medal. Cannot wait.

**OK, as always I try to bring you the extremely serious news of the day here in the Wide World of Stuff. This urgent dispatch from last week says that the organizers of the world-famous St. Albans (England) Pancake Race had to change the rules this year, to disallow running.

When I first heard this story, I naturally assumed the Pancake Race was men, dressed in pancake outfits, running around a field or a track or something.

But no, my friends. The St. Albans Pancake Race involves people running around flipping pancakes and trying to outrun the other teams.

Sadly, it was ruled before this year’s event that running would not be allowed, due to inclement weather. Man that sucks. I thought this guy, David Emery, a captain of one of the teams who was disqualified for getting caught running, said it best.

“This is health and safety gone mad,” said Emery said. “I have been disqualified from a running race for running.”

Get that man a stack fo blueberry flapjacks immediately!

The irrelevance of NBA All-Star weekend. And the scary Alabama professor. And two Olympics thoughts

There was a time in my life when I got totally excited for NBA All-Star weekend. Larry Bird vs. the field in the 3-point shootout. Dominique Wilkens and Michael Jordan going head-to-head for the Slam Dunk Contest title. The greatness of the All-Star game, when Magic and Hakeem and Isiah would throw ridiculous passes and make incredible shots.

I still remember being at my best friend Andrew’s house one year, flipping back and forth between Kenny “Sky” Walker winning the Sam Dunk Contest, and the Tyson-Buster Douglas fight. We were really excited for both things.

Now?  I didn’t even know it was All-Star Weekend in the NBA until late Saturday night, when I flipped around the dial and saw it on. Does anybody really care about this anymore? I don’t follow the NBA very closely, but I hadn’t heard of half the guys in the Slam Dunk contest.

Maybe it’s because I’m a college hoops junkie, or maybe it’s because the NBA has grown so stale and boring, save for LeBron James, who I will watch anytime because he’s on pace to be the greatest player ever (pause while I duck the lightning bolt about to hit me).

But the NBA has lost me in general; I’ll watch some of the playoffs, if LeBron or the Lakers are involved, and I got into the Magic last year since I got to cover a bunch of their playoff games.

But All-Star weekend? Yawn. Too much other good stuff going on, like Duke’s beatdown of Maryland Saturday (always fun to kick Maryland’s ass. For the last 10 years or so, they’ve been just as big a rival to Duke as Carolina.)

**You been following this horrible Alabama professor shooting story? It just gets worse and worse. Now it comes out that the woman who shot three people last week also shot her own brother in 1986.

How does this person get a job as a college professor? She was never charged for the ’86 shooting, as it was listed as accidental.

This thing gets worse and worse, and more sad. Amy Bishop clearly was a woman in serious need of help, who never got it.

**So I probably won’t be writing about the Olympics every day, but a couple quick thoughts from Saturday night:

— Short track speedskating is the most exciting thing going. Did you see those two South Koreans wipe out right before the finish line, when they were about to get silver and bronze medals? American Apolo Anton Ohno got lucky, and went from fourth to second in an instant.

But how much does that suck, to be training for the Olympics for years, be that close to a medal, and then wipe out (and take a fellow South Korean with you) mere feet from the finish line?

–Watched mogul skiing for the first time ever Saturday. Damn that looks painful on the knees. Very cool to see American Hannah Kearney win the gold, the U.S.’ first in the Vancouver Games. She just beat out the Canadian chick, who was in the lead for a few moments, who was trying for Canada’s first-ever home gold medal.

But I think my wife spoke for all patriotic Americans when she said, moments after the race: “Suck it, Canada!”