Category Archives: Olympics

Flying At Your Own Level

Last weekend I was able to watch the Academy Award winning documentary Icarus.¬†Bryan Fogel’s filmic journey into the world of international athletic doping, from experimenting amateur cyclist all the way through to playing midwife to the expos√© that led to Russian athletes being (conditionally) banned from the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, is either shocking or business as usual, depending upon your level of sports cynicism going into the viewing.

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Jasmin Bambur of United States during the Alpine Skiing – Men’s Super-G, Sitting at PyeongChang: an antidote to Icarus?

It so happened that, after finishing the movie and turning back over from Netflix to regular broadcast programming, I stumbled upon NBCSN’s coverage of the Winter Paralympics, also coming to you from PyeongChang, South Korea. I caught a showing of the men’s Super-G competitions, both standing and seated, and if it wasn’t quite as spectacular a show as the regular Olympics alpine events, it was at least athletes in competition and striving towards being the best.

The juxtaposition of those two programs I watched, the scandals of Icarus and the Paralympic competition, coming one right after the other, suggested a bigger picture, and perhaps the possibility that the one event provided the correct answer to the other.

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The Head And The Heart, Olympics Edition

The Rio Olympics have now been in the rear-view mirror for over a week. That’s enough time to make an assessment–or, perhaps, a reassessment–of the Games from a dispassionate distance in time: still recent enough to have a clear remembrance of the event, but with enough days passed to gaze at the thing with a less biased eye.

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Neymar and the Brazilian fans: a gold medal made of joy.

Certainly, going into the Games, I would have had to cop to a heavy bias against the Olympics–a position I made perfectly clear in my pre-event assessment in this space.

However, I did at a certain point overcome my skepticism enough to start watching some of the events. And in doing so, I found myself confronted again and again by the most powerful refutation of every damnation one can muster against the modern Olympic movement: joy.

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Logo for the DFR Audible post categoryAn Anthem And A Message

It would be almost irresponsible to let the Colin Kaepernick situation go by without some kind of comment–although to be fair, I’m not sure there’s really a comment to be made.

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Colin Kaepernick: taking a stand by standing might be a better play.

As the NFL itself has pointed out, Kaepernick is under no obligation to stand for the national anthem. Nor is he an intractable villain for engaging in his protest, any more than Tommie Smith and John Carlos were in Mexico City in 1968. It’s quite simple: there’s a situation, a situation that Kaepernick feels deserves some attention, he chooses not to stand during the anthem to generate that attention–so be it. He has that right, so let’s demonstrate that we understand what it means to be an American by respecting that right.

But…

I would point out that, in fact, Kaepernick could conceivably make an even stronger statement of his position by actually reversing course and standing and saluting during the anthem. And the proof of that could be seen during the just completed Rio Olympics.

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Logo for the DFR Audible post categoryInsane in the Bolt Brain

Did you watch Usain Bolt win his third straight 100 meter gold medal on Sunday? If you did, you’re not alone. Probably half the humans on Earth, at least, were watching that race and utterly captivated by Bolt’s relatively easy victory.

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Usain Bolt blows everyone away.

That third consecutive gold in the Olympics’ showcase track event is indeed a monumental achievement, historic in its impressiveness and unprecedendted nature. However–there’s always a ‘however’–some of the reaction to Bolt’s win has been a little over the top. For example: Usain Bolt’s claim as greatest athlete ever.

Perhaps that statement merely represents an overenthusiastic headline writer. But…greatest athlete ever? Greatest athlete? Ever? Please, folks–put down the bong and clear your heads. Even in an era where the latest thing is always the greatest thing, this claim is wildly over the top.

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Shoot The Real Beast

A curious item came to us this past week: a jaguar that was being used in an Olympics-related event in Brazil was shot and killed after it escaped its enclosure and was perceived to be a threat to human life.

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Juma the Brazilian jaguar: not a fan of these Olympics

As always happens with these sorts of incidents, there was immediate outrage over the animal’s death. Almost certainly justified outrage, I should note; again, as always, these incidents are the products of animals just doing what they do, being what they are. It was the stupidity and arrogance of the handlers that created a fatal situation.

However, the outrage may have been misplaced in this instance, in the sense that there’s a far more dangerous and predatory beast currently stalking Brazil–and any number of other locations around the world–and a little preventative action on that monster is probably much more appropriate than shooting a big cat.

In other words, it’s time to shoot the real beast: the Olympics itself.

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