Monday, March 1, 2010

2010 Olympic Rap-Up

The 2010 Winter Olympics have come and gone, and what a great time it was.

Therefore, in honor of the games, I’ve decided to compose a rap song. I don’t know how to represent a beatbox rhythm in print, so we’ll have to go with oom pah pah.

oom pah pah, oom pah pah

To all the disapprovers
Who tried to diss Vancouver’s
Olympic Winter games
Go hang your heads in shame

oom pah pah, oom pah pah

‘Cause it’s a success story
A source of golden glory
For a bunch of Canadians
And even some Scandanavians

oom pah pah, oom pah pah

Second verse, same as the first…

* That last line belongs to those hip hop pioneers and enfants terrible of pop music, Herman’s Hermits.

There were quite a few interesting stories at these games — some happy, some sad. And there were a lot of great Olympians who shone as bright as diamonds in the snow.

For me, none shone brighter than Petra Majdič of Slovenia. This incredible cross-country skier found herself off-course in a training run of the Ladies’ Sprint Classic. She tumbled into a deep ditch and landed on some rocks. She suffered four or five broken ribs and a collapsed lung. Amazingly, she subsequently raced in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals; earning a bronze medal for her efforts. She actually had to be given assistance to step up onto the podium to receive her award.

I remember I once missed an entire day of work after stubbing my toe in the dark on my way to the bathroom the previous night.

Another great Olympic moment was when the German long-track speed skaters squeaked out a win over the U.S. in the team pursuit semifinal. Anni Friesinger-Posterior languished behind her teammates on the final lap and fell before crossing the finish line. She did eventually cross it however; sliding on her belly while doing a strange breastroke-on-ice maneuver.

I’m not sure, but the U.S. team may have had reason to protest this. If anyone were to do a speed-skating motion while competing in the breastroke at the summer games, then they would undoubtedly be disqualified.

But perhaps my favorite Olympian was Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong.

Nkrumah-Acheampong (pronounced Kwah-Mee), a skier from Ghana known as the "Snow Leopard" was the 102nd and final skier to compete in the men’s slalom. He finished the race ( which is more than 48 other guys can claim) and found himself 53rd among the 54 men who completed the course. Who, you may ask, had a slower time?

Albania's Erjon Tola, known as the “Snow Tortoise” finished 46.15 seconds off the lead time. He actually climbed back up the course to pass through a gate that he had missed.

Come to think of it, this could be the beginning of a new and exciting sport in future Olympics. I propose a slalom where the gates are hidden. After you get to the bottom, you’re told which ones you’ve missed and then you have to scramble back up the mountain to correct your mistakes.

But Kwame’s run down the slopes was fun to watch. After seeing him successfully navigate his way through the first couple of gates, I figured I had time to go upstairs to make myself a sandwich — bologna, with mustard, and maybe some mayo. Toasted? No. Lettuce? Sure, why not. A cup of coffee would go nice with that. Here’s some leftover from breakfast. Just warm it up a couple of minutes in the microwave. Great. A little cream and sugar. Back downstairs to watch the rest of Kwame’s run.

OK. He just has a couple of more gates to get through. And he’s made it! Congratulations, Kwame.

I really shouldn’t make fun of these two skiers. Admittedly, had I’d been given the chance to go down that course — and assuming I went cautiously enough not to miss any gates — I might have made it down in time to catch the closing ceremonies.

All in all I’d say these games were an unqualified success. After this year’s Olympic experience, you may wonder if I will tune into the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

You bet your sweet skeleton I will.

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