Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Olympic Winter Games

Being a couch potato means, it seems, relaxing in front of the telly while others run around. Well, right now, I am potatoing quite a lot, looking at sports activities I rarely see in real life.

The vast majority of the athletes have friendly, open faces, a pleasure to look at. In this they differ markedly from other people in show business like singers, artists, celebs or fashion workers who feature several layers of paint to hide wrinkle inducing life style......

The time lag between Vancouver and here is terrible. When they start to get going, let's say around 10 a.m. it is 7 o'clock over here, supper time. Thus I record the events on tape and look at it next day.

I am German though living in France and this gives me a split personality, these days. I like to see the French win against anyone except against the Germans. When my wife feels differently I have to make a mental effort to understand. That's particularly strong and irritating like in Biathlon/Nordic skiing where athletes from the two countries compete against each other.

Unlike F1 car racing or professional football (soccer) where the players feature brazenly brand names like Samsung, Siemens, Toyota etc. etc. on their clothes, the olympic athletes are probably forbidden to do so. But all is not lost. Their gloves come from somewhere, someone made them and thus I see with pleasure the camera dwelling for some seconds on those gloves to show the manufacturer's name printed on them in huge black letters. Same for the shoes and helmets, the lower parts of skate boards the riders insist on showing.

Downhill racing is one of my favorites. Maria Riesch and Lindsay Vonn. You need tremendous courage to do this at over 100 km/h (70 miles/h), especially when the slope is partially iced over. Normal people hesitate even to hit the side walk when some snow is falling.............

I wonder if the winter games are being shown in Muslim countries like Egypt, Yemen, Iran or Pakistan. I'll try to find out. In these hot countries women are frequently dressed in black curtain stuff (obituary quality) with a piece of cloth hanging over her nose. There is a slit for the eyes: they must have a vision similar to a tank driver or a submarine operator in WWII, looking through the snorkel.....

As the days pass by I come to dislike journalists more and more. They talk and talk and talk, say what I see anyway, make corny jokes and have a marked tendency to fake turning hysterical with high-speed talking when a beloved national approaches the finishing line.

Sometimes, assisting those know-everything-journalists, there is a person who has done the activity herself or himself. What a difference: more facts, more humility, no digressions, no lame-brain language.

When the Games started, there was a lot of talking about the "First Nation" people, meaning those Indians who lived in the Americas before Christobal Columbo (ha, ha, ha) hit the place five hundred years ago. Well, I don't like this First Nation word. Must have been coined by some communications wizard because it sounds like a publicity stunt.

Anyway, looking at some of these FN-people being interviewed is was somehow flabbergasted; they look like people over here in Central France, like you and me. I remember well those black and white photos made in the second part of the 19th Century showing Indians in North America. They looked like Mongols, people from Central Asia. Nothing to do with those Sally this and Johnny that, McDo-fed European looking people. Maybe there is some relation to the US habit who call everyone black who is not rosy-white. Or the Chinese, Koreans, Japanese who are called yellow though they have exactly the same skin color as I have. Another interesting riddle to humanity to find out. Some explaining comments from my readers would be welcome.


  1. George,
    Germany has a very good chance for 2ed place by 18 medals so far after U.S with 24. I loved the German's outfit at the opening ceremony the most. Canada right now has a 5th place but I hope they could catch up for 3rd.

    There is one Iranian girl in Alpine slalom I am looking forward to see her. I know how hard it must be for her to make it up to here.
    Actually Iran national tv show Olympic events, but not full coverage.

    and last point in Iran rarely you'll find any women with veil and mostly traditional women wear the black curtain (called Chador) which is encouraged by the Islamic regim . Young girls and non-traditional woman wear scarf and mantu which you can see by google "iranian girl" for example.

    Enjoy the rest of the Olympic :D

  2. Bonjour Hiva,

    Thanks for explaining though you did not do so in fully. What I would have liked to know is precisely which competitions are shown and which are not.

    As to the Iranian woman skier, I have found her on YouTube. Unfortunately, she was only interviewed. Interesting nevertheless.

    Thanks, too, for explaining scarf and mantu and traditional women. It might be interesting to know how many are "traditional".


  3. George,
    I looked at the schedule of channel three (IRIB 3). This is a sport channel in Iran but I couldn't find anything about winter Olympic, maybe some news only but nothing else. I remember when I was in Iran national TV used to cover some part of the summer Olympic. Inside Iran only few percentage who has satellite are able to watch this event now.
    about "traditional" it's hard to say, I know in Tehran most of young girls even from traditional family likes to wear mantu, but I have no statistic for this :)

    Germany 23 medals, they are tie with US now ::D

  4. "the US habit who call everyone black who is not rosy-white." not sure that's accurate anymore :)....
    Haven't been watching the Winter games but I do know the US and Germany (your team and mine) are running neck to neck ...let the better team win : )

  5. Je te souhaite une bonne fin de journée
    Un bisou amical.

  6. i found myself irritated with the 'talking heads' too- you would think that at the very least they could speak english if it's their first language! good god! i also found myself irritated that the press seemed to focus so much on the 'beautiful' athletes like vonn- not my favorite although i am american. give me the snow boarder girl who is less attractive but volunteers her time helping the less fortunate in kenya over the egotistic barbie doll vonn any day.

    incidentally, i rooted for canada more than america- except for short track skating- and hamelin skated superbly. i just have a thing for apolo ohno ;) bonjour!!!! by the way... :)

  7. Hi everybody: I've been absent one week. Thanks for commenting.

    To Hiva
    Thanks so much for the search. Now I know a little more and that is more than nothing. Maybe in ten or 15 years Iran will be able to win a lot of medals in the Winter games, men and women. You have certainly the potential and higher mountains than over here.

    To Id
    Your "rosy-white" comment. I had that impression while reading posts and comments on a blog "born-again redneck", during your election period. I'll keep in mind what you are saying.

    Pour Viviane
    Merci, ma chère.

    To Betmo
    I looked a lot at those snow boarders, too. To carry out those jumps one needs more than normal courage. And the ski cross, performed on the same plot, seemed like a suicide mission. As to the journalists, have a look at this add-on. Very funny, at least I hope so.

  8. Tu as fait une analyse très juste de la situation.
    je pensais en même temps que je lisais à ces bergers du kenya qui ont délaissé leurs vêtements traditionnels pour adopter des kilts écossais rouges. Tu t'étonnes qu'ils se fassent bouffer par les lions après ça!!!.
    a plus mon ami!
    nous passerons qq jours à marmanhac de vendredi à mardi en raison de l'état de santé de ma soeur et de ma mère.