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Olympics

Why are Americans so bad at the shooting sports? [Olympics]

BrickArms Lewis gun and Brodie helmet prototypesI’m watching the Men’s Biathlon right now.

American Joe Teela is our best hope for a medal. He started in 9th place today, which was by far and away the best placement an American has ever had going into the medal round.

I found this a bit surprising. You’d think Americans would be good at a sport that involves skiing + guns—or for that matter, anything + guns. What good are gun rights if they don’t even give us an edge in sports where you have to shoot at things?

Also this sport would be a lot better if they had paintball guns and shot at each other.  Each time you got hit, you’d have to do a penalty lap.

Hey Canada! Enough with the slam poetry, eh?

The Olympic Flame - Vancouver 2010

We're not in China anymore

I didn’t watch the Olympic opening ceremonies, as I wasn’t terribly interested in sitting through a multi-hour Canadian love fest.

But maybe I should have, because from what I’ve heard Canada’s low-budget production was pretty funny–albeit in that cringe-worthy, Larry David kind of way.

They broke the Olympic torch, subjugated millions of TV viewers to slam poetry and gave new meaning to the word hokey.

If you want to see what you missed, check out this hilarious play-by-play recap by Heather Havrilesky, Salon.com’s TV critic.

Here is a great excerpt, but do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.

“In effect, right now, we are sitting in a 60,000-seat snow globe,” says Matt Lauer, “the kind you would have on a children’s or a child’s shelf back home.” I think a real snow globe might be about fifty million times more exciting than this. Aren’t there at least snowmen or Christmas trees in those things?

Wait, some kind of leader type is banging his staff into the snow and blue circles of light are waving out from it. Now Lauer is telling us about the incredible technology that’s being used. I don’t remember anyone prattling on like this during the most dramatic parts of the opening ceremony in Beijing. Next, Costas is telling us that Beijing spent between $300 – $400 million  on their opening ceremony, whereas this one cost between $30 – $40 million dollars. What did they spend that kind of money on? Did Sutherland hold out for an enormous fee for his voiceover?

Here comes a gigantic polar bear made of lights. Oh, I get it. Canada is sponsored by Coca Cola!

[Salon]

Step it up Team America! [Olympics]

2010 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony, BC PlaceSo far we are winning with 8 medals to France, Germany and Canada’s 4 each. But all of the projections say that the final medal count will be close. Nate Silver over at fivethirtyeight has aggregated many of the different projections and he has the USA, Germany and Canada in a three-way tie.

It would bad enough to lose to the Germans yet again, but falling behind Canada would be deeply humiliating. I mean, really, are we going to be beaten by a country that breaks the Olympic Torch and thinks slam poetry is appropriate in the opening ceremonies?

P.S. Why is NBC broadcasting speeds in metric? I thought they paid all that money for the American broadcast rights. Can’t they convert those meaningless kilometer/hour speed readings into something we Americans can understand back home?

Who is winning the Olympics?

Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games InukshukIf you’re not watching the Olympics you should be. They are great. Not because speed skating or curling are particularly interesting sports (there is a reason we only televise these sports every four years), but because the Olympics determine what the best country in the world is. That, and they allow us all to engage in politically-correct jingoism for the better part of two weeks. USA! USA! USA!

As of the end of day three, I am happy to report that America is still the best country in the world with 6 medals to Germany’s 4. Canada, who some accounts have favored to win, (that would be deeply humiliating), is tied with France for 3rd place with 3 medals each.

And don’t let anyone tell you it is the number of Gold medals that counts, because by that metric we would have lost to China in 2008.

You can keep track of the totals on NBC’s Olympic site.

Go America!

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