Saturday, February 20, 2010

Watching the Olympics

We get two sports channels on cable here in Sarajevo, EuroSport 1 & 2. They have been airing Olympic events pretty much non-stop, but just like NBC, much of it turns out to be repeats.

Since our time zone is nine hours ahead of the west coast, we see live morning and afternoon events in the early evening. Evening events are shown in the wee hours of the morning.  We’re not crazy, so we watch those events the next morning with breakfast.

We’ve seen Bode Miller win two medals, Lindsay Vonn win two medals, and the Flying Tomato win with his spectacular snowboard freestyle. There have been hours of cross country skiing; these events are very popular in Europe. There is competition in “traditional” cross country, with skis pointed straight ahead and a back and forth motion and there’s also “freestyle” cross country skiing where the skier uses more of a v-shaped skating motion. Both look exhausting. There are two additional cross country events: one combines cross country skiing and shooting and another combines cross country skiing and ski jumping. Norway always picks up medals in the cross country skiing events.

My favorite events are the figure skating events, and I love them all: pairs, ice dancing, and men’s and women’s events. The pairs competition was very good and the men’s competition was possibly the best ever. I have never seen a field so deep. There were 8 – 10 excellent skaters this year. The gold medal win by US skater Evan Lycacek was amazing. His performance was flawless; it had to be for him to triumph over so many outstanding skaters.

Now and then we get what I think must be British commentary on EuroSport, but most of the time it is in Bosnian. I can catch a word or two, but for the most part I just tune out the commentary. But without commentary, I was unaware of the complaints from Russian skater, Plushenko that he should have gotten the gold medal because he performed a quad jump and Lycacek didn’t. I saw the story the next day on the internet. His team has not filed an official protest of the judging, but that has not stopped them from sniping behind the scenes. That’s the skating world. Still looking forward to seeing the ice dancing finals and then the women’s competition.