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On the Axel of Evil, the boredom of the Winter Olympics, and Amazon women

By Jackson Murphy
web posted February 18, 2002

I was at the barbershop getting my hair cut last week and the topic du jour, the barber philosophy if you will, was the Winter Olympics. That is not entirely true, the girl cutting my hair thought most people wanted to talk about the poor haircuts her colleague Lynne was giving. Lynne for her part was showing off her brand new belly button ring-which is probably why the old guys didn't mind coming back to see her after a bad haircut.

Still the Olympics were the real buzz. Specifically, the topic was the ongoing controversy over the botched judging of the Pairs figure skating. I overheard one conversation that basically said, "That it is about time this corrupt sport was cleaned up." "It's been that way for fifty years," said the sage barber. The two Canadians are going to get a gold medal after all and hopefully that will be the end of it.

First of all it can hardly be called a 'sport'. Anything that requires a panel of judges to determine 'artistic impression' is not unlike canine "Best in Shows" or worse the Academy Awards. The pundits called the judges the "axel of evil" and everyone knew that it was some sort of quid pro quo between the French and Russians. How much money did the French judge get from Enron anyway?

Canadian pairs figure skaters David Pelletier and Jaime Sale react to news they will be awarded the gold medal
Canadian pairs figure skaters David Pelletier and Jaime Sale react to news they will be awarded the gold medal

Second, I thought the endearing thing about Figure Skating was that it seemed so Mafia corrupt. The fact is that the Russians always win this pairs thingy and it was a wonder anyone was surprised that the poor little Canadians didn't. They are much better off, financially, anyway for the controversy. Forget the jumps, the 'quad this' and 'triple that' people watch these non-sports to see these athletes fall and fail-then let a panel of serious looking people 'judge' them. It is preposterous and that is probably why it is more compelling than say, luge, or curling. There is at least a hint of smutty drama.

The Olympics are not what they used to be. Back in the glorious days of the Cold War they may have actually meant something. I say 'may' because it was amateur hour but now the hockey and basketball players are all pros and the Canadian women's curling team is being marketed as 'sexy'. Back in the day, blocks of nations could boycott the games for diplomatic reasons and that was fun. It was also good to see East Germany try to dress men up as women to compete-at least it looked that way. Seeing Amazon Warsaw Pact girls competing in aquatic events, hairy armpits et al, was fabulous. Where are the manly women now? I guess it just isn't important enough or they aren't marketable enough. The drama is gone and in the absence of real conflict these minor blips of controversy are like blood in the water for the media.

Sexy Canadian skip Kelley Law, of Coquitlam, B.C., watches a rock enter the house, as sexy teammate Julie Skinner, of Victoria, sweeps during round robin competition
Sexy Canadian skip Kelley Law, of Coquitlam, B.C., watches a rock enter the house, as sexy teammate Julie Skinner, of Victoria, sweeps during round robin competition

Now that most of the nations are in the World Trade Organization and not embroiled in a global struggle the Olympic games just aren't that important. Back in December David Plotz of Slate.com wrote, "The Winter Games, after all, are an embarrassment to sports in general and to the United States in particular. Why should we bother with an event that has managed to produce only a single compelling moment in 76 years? (The U.S. hockey team's defeat of the Soviet Union in 1980-the 'Miracle on Ice.' The miracle was that something interesting happened.)"

There are now 78 winter medal events. It is totally out of control. For Canada the big event is supposed to be Ice Hockey an event that Canada has failed to win in fifty years. When our so-called athletes aren't getting stripped of medals over restricted drug use, they certainly are being overly burdened by hearing the national anthem at the winner's podium.

In Olympic hopeful city Vancouver, British Columbia, "figureskategate" helped to take away headlines from our own government, which has, according to the various left wing crybabies, declared war upon the citizens. This is all news to me.

Apparently the New Socialist Group believes that, "People are going to die because of this government. Some will die waiting to get into emergency rooms. Some will freeze to death, living under their truck for shelter. Some will die from tainted water, or from workplace speedup. Some will be shot to death at roadblocks, defending their right to lands that were never ceded. This government has declared war on all of us. We'd better start getting used to the idea." Oh my, and we thought the Cold War actually ended? Mercifully the figure skating caught the headlines not the class warfare in British Columbia.

All this excitement is what awaits Vancouver should it win the Olympic bid for the 2010 winter games-and the anarchy of Vancouver awaits the world. If the 'war' in British Columbia continues the Olympic powers that be might think twice about holding the games in such a hot spot-perhaps Kabul is free?

Jackson Murphy is a commentator from Vancouver, Canada. He is the editor of "Dispatches" a website that serves up political commentary 24-7. You can contact him at jacksonmurphy@telus.net.

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