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February 27, 2006

Gambo on the Olympics

Gambo, a local radio and newspaper personality in Phoenix, offers up this assessment of the Olympics:

Unfortunately these Olympics will be remembered mostly for the follies and the failures. In fact, the Olympics got off to a rough start even before the opening ceremonies when Bryan Gumble decided to throw a racist statement to his audience of HBO's Real Sports. To quote the new Jimmy the Greek, Al Campanis and Rush Limbaugh - Gumble said, "Finally, tonight, the Winter Games. Count me among those who don't like them and won't watch them ... Because they're so trying, maybe over the next three weeks we should all try too. Like, try not to be incredulous when someone attempts to link these games to those of the ancient Greeks who never heard of skating or skiing. So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of Blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention. Try not to point out that something's not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what's called a kiss-and-cry area, while some panel of subjective judges decides who won ... So if only to hasten the arrival of the day they're done, when we can move on to March Madness - for God's sake, let the Games begin."
But no athlete embarrassed us more than Bode Miller. And it's not just that Miller went 0-for-the Olympics and failed to medal. It's that his I-could-care-less attitude he so flaunted. He was more concerned with taking in the Turin nightlife and having fun thanwith representing his country. He wanted to party, wanted to socialize but didn't want to make the commitment to win. He said he did it his way. Someone should have shown him the movie Miracle and told him it's all about the USA on your outfit, not the Miller on the lineup. And reminded him that he didn't pay his own way to Italy, his country did. Miller's attitude was so bad that he comes off like the last Olympic basketball team, where much of the country was actually rooting against him. Miller certainly isn't someone worth rooting for.

Agreed on both points. The only thing I take issue with is this statement:

There was the selfish act of snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis, who gave up gold in her attempt to put a little Terrell Owens in her game. The showboating caused her to fall and tosettle for silver.

Snowboarding has its own unique culture. Let's face simple facts. Jacobellis threw a little style into the mix because that is what snowboarders do. This is an event--boardercross--that belongs in the Xgames and was just recently added to the Olympics. These athletes are not your typical Olympians. They are not the rich kid ice skaters that have been in training for 15 years and are not even 18 yet. The reality of what happened to her and the magnitude of the Olympics did not set in because while in the event of snowboarding, she was doing what she does--be a snowboarder. She gets a pass.

Bode, however does not. Bode was by far the most hyped athlete of the games and completely failed to deliver. He makes gazillions in endorsements and yet acts like he hates being recognized and having to do all the media and endorsement work. He hates to coverage, yet goes and 60 Minutes and talks about skiing drunk. Then despite creating all this hype, fails to even medal. Gambo is right that Bode is like the 2004 Basketball team... guys that you almost rooted against.

Bryant Gumbel made an absolute idiot of himself by making racist comments about skiing and the Winter Olympics in general. There are clearly demographic issues here, in that not a lot of blacks ski, but also, not a lot of blacks live in geographic areas where they have easy access to skiing. It is an expensive sport that requires extensive travel unless you live in an area with a local resort. I wish winter sports were more diverse, but sadly, it is not because of discriminatory practices, but because these tend to be far northern sports and sports that people who live in places with lots of snow enjoy. Notice how Norway, Finland, Germany, Canada, Russia, Austria, Switzerland, etc. tend to perform best at the games. It is simple access to snow.

Posted by Justin at February 27, 2006 01:47 PM


Bode DID watch Miracle the night before his last event... Is Gambo still on the Deuce with Ash?

Posted by: Wil @ 120 Days of Powder at February 28, 2006 08:52 AM

The woman who won the gold in the boardercross event said she threw a grab in the semi-finals, saying something to the effect of, "It's all about having fun."

Posted by: Wil @ 120 Days of Powder at February 28, 2006 08:57 AM

Xtra Sports 910. But yes, he is on with Ash. My favorite sports talk guys from PHX were Chuck and Vince from 860 before ESPN bought them out, but they are now doing the morning show on 103.9 The Edge.

Tell me that if you were one jump away from a Gold medal, and could throw some mad fat air, you wouldn't go large. How does her celebration equate to Terrell Owens? I don't see Olympic Snowboarding as being a team event. Speaking of Olympic Hockey, the games 8 years ago, they finished the event by trashing their hotel rooms. She did not cost "her country" a gold medal, but rather cost herself millions in endorsements, a gold medal, and a ton of embarrassment. But she still won a Silver Medal in the Freakin' Olympics, which is more than Bode or Gambo or TO or the 2004 Olympic Basketball team.

Posted by: Justin B at February 28, 2006 10:00 AM

Yeah, it wasn't like she tried to throw a 9 (which she can throw) or something. The girl is the undisputed world champion (Some stats: 2005 World, U.S. National champion in snowboardcross, 2004 World Cup overall champion in SBX [going the entire season undefeated], Became the first American rider to win boardercross and halfpipe competitions at the same World Cup in 2004, Three-time SBX Winter X Games gold medalist [2003-2005]) and is also amazingly good in the pipe as well. PLUS she is YOUNG, as in cannot buy booze.

Did you see how solid of a rider she was? She got steam-rolled in both the semi and the final and kept rolling along as if nothing happened. My guess is she just caught an edge she would have caught no matther what if she landed in that spot due to conditions. Sometimes it cannot be avoided.

Summation: She fell throwing a trick that lowly Wil with his broken body can throw, lost several seconds, still got the silver, and probably got cardedf. Not a bad day.

BTW: If she's into out-of-shape snow-bums a decade older than her I hereby propose marrage... she's too damn cute for words.

Posted by: Wil @ 120 Days of Powder at February 28, 2006 11:11 AM

Chuck and Vince used to call ME several times a week back in 2001-02 for me to rant about the Suns or D-Backs for about 4-5 min when their callers were all striking out or calls got slow.

"Time for a little valley redemption with Wil in Scottsdale..."

Don't know if you ever heard any of that. It kicked in hard during the summer because I was at all the games, kept score, knew what the hell I was talking about, and ran a pretty popular D-Back blog at the time, Baseballtopia. They'd usually ask me to spin my post into a call rant 2-3 times a week.

Posted by: Wil @ 120 Days of Powder at February 28, 2006 11:22 AM

Nice. Freakin' voice of valley sports here... =)

Jacobellis is hot as all hell. There is no doubt. And she certainly could have thrown a 9 and still won the race. It was dumb luck that she caught an edge. If she had caught an edge in the middle of the track on just a random dumb occurance, the result would have been the same.

It is ignorant to think that showboating (and she was, but damn she deserved too also) was the cause for catching an edge. It is the nature of the beast. She was the best competitor out there and it was a combination of her dominance that allowed her to throw the Method in the first place.

Calling her TO? Maybe the TO with the Pom Poms or the TO with the Sharpie, but not the TO on the Dallas star or the TO doing situps in his driveway while Drew-boy says "no comment". More like Joe Horn with the cell phone. No, probably more like a basketball player getting a T hanging on the rim. Happens all the time and it is part of emphatically celebrating a Dunk. Call it what it is.

Posted by: Justin B at February 28, 2006 11:31 AM