I decided that I should put my personal prejudices against their clothing - in other words, stop focusing on the groin area - aside and watch some of the speed skating events.
What first comes to mind is what seems to me to be an almost 'free for all' type of activity when there are four or more skaters in the race at the same time. One of the more prominent examples of this, I think, is the race where Apolo Ohno* was in 4th place, his US teammate was in 5th, and three Koreans were ahead of them. On the very last lap, two of the Koreans took each other out. Apolo finished 2nd, luckily able to avoid the sprawled, fallen skaters, and his teammate 3rd.
[*I finally learned how to spell Apolo Ohno's name. Know how I did it? I always thought it was Apollo Ono, but his name was mentioned so many times this past week or so that I thought I'd better start paying attention. I said "Apolo", spelling it out over and over in my mind, until I got it right. And then, because it still seemed so wrong to me, it only made sense that his last name should be "Oh, no!" That'll work for me until the next unusual spelling of a name comes around. LOL]
I just called my daughter to ask if she remembered a lot of pushing and shoving when she competed in speed skating many years ago, and she denied any such thing ever happening. "At most," she said, " there was some gentle touching. I might even go so far as to call it 'nudging'." "It's really hard to pass on the corners," she added.
[She remembers going into the wall a bunch of times. "But it didn't hurt," she said. "Not like falling on those hard wood floors at the roller rink." Whaat?!? You mean to tell me ice isn't hard? :)]
It was while paying more attention to speed skating that I first came across the name Steven Colbert, the host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, whose group came to the sponsorship aid of the US Olympic speed skating team last November. Yeah, yeah, I can hear all of you cableites laughing now, but that's the truth. Anyway, I have thoroughly enjoyed his brief appearances on Bob Costas' show during the games.
He's funny! Upon concluding his first appearance, Steven asked Bob if he would mind if he (Steven) moved closer to the fire to warm up a bit. When Bob said, "Be my guest," or some such, Steven then proceeded to not only move closer to the fire, but spread apart the screen and climbed inside, laying with his back right next to the fire and closing the screen after him. Well, Bob couldn't stop laughing, nor could anyone else (including me!). "So much for realism," was one comment I heard.
For his second appearance, Steven came dressed as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A lot of fun was had with that one, as you might imagine! "How can you not love and respect a country where men dare to dress - and are admired for dressing - as women with child-bearing hips?" he asked. Lots of fun. Doesn't make me want to run out and add cable to my list of multitudinous programs to watch, but a little bit of his type of humor settles very well with me.
But going back to pushing and shoving, even gentle nudging, the judges - I think they call them 'referees' - in these events have been extraordinarily vigilant, it seems to me. I have noticed, many times, some competitors actually being disqualified and others being automatically advanced to the next round because of interference. Normally, these only occur when a skater in a qualifying or medal position is interfered with. Kudos to those judges! They have a difficult task and are handling it well, imo.
Have lots more to say about the last few days, but that'll do it for this post ... ... to be continued!