Browsing All Posts filed under »Olympics«

Chess on Ice; Chess Board on Pants

February 28, 2010


There’s an irresistible cliché for broadcasters of many sports: the “chess match.” Often an announcer is simply pointing out that there’s a tight back-and-forth battle going on. But to make sense of the metaphor there has to be some strategic rationality, where player A tries to predict what B will do before A makes her […]

How Good is Women’s Hockey?

February 26, 2010


Pretty good, that’s how good. The gold-medal game, like all of the games I can remember between the only two consistently-elite women’s teams — Canada and the USA — was certainly a thrill from start to finish. But when we ask, “how good is it?” we usually mean, “how does it compare to men’s hockey?” […]

The Russians Weren’t Coming

February 26, 2010


What happened to the Russian men’s hockey team in their much-hyped showdown against arch-rivals Canada last night? On paper the teams were evenly matched, and clearly the most talented two teams in the tournament, with 7 of the top 8 NHL goal-scorers between them. And yet the Canadians dominated every facet of the game, including […]

“Sports are holy”

February 24, 2010


Surely what most of us Olympics skeptics react to is not the Games themselves, but the way they are packaged and presented. And I found at least part of the explanation for this on the flight home in Esquire magazine's Olympic preview by Stephen Marche, which asks in its title, Are the Olympics Ruining Everything?

Kitsch as the natural aesthetic of nationalism

February 17, 2010


Again, I can’t claim to have watched carefully all of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in recent years. Even the highlights are usually painful. But this quote from Michael Ignatieff in 1993, with Yugoslav civil wars and a recent visit to an exhibition of Nazi “art” fresh in his mind, clarifies a few things: “There is […]

We are more. And less.

February 16, 2010


As a Canadian expatriate — some might say, ex-patriot — I have to say, those opening ceremonies in Vancouver were brutal to watch. If I’d watched them in a room full of friends here in North Carolina, I would have been apologizing on my native country’s behalf. And, of course, my friends here would have […]