Saturday, February 10, 2018

Still Life with Robin: Fun and Winter Games 2018

A Winter's Game - Photo by Krazytea (via Creative Commons)
by Peggy Robin

We’re off to a great start with the 2018 Winter Games, with all the spectacle, drama, and controversy needed to make it worthwhile for you to set a recorder and put in the time needed to fast-forward through each day’s tape to find the nuggets of gold (or silver or bronze) in the endless hours of coverage

Not into it yet? Here’s a brief recap of the razzle-dazzle opening ceremonies, shown last night:

There were:
* Larger-than-life dancing tiger puppets
* Thousands of light-up flying drones forming pictures of peace doves and a snowboarder, and the Olympic rings in the sky
* Wowie-zowie fireworks, occurring not just once, but in colorful bursts throughout the evening’s festivities
* Many precision human formations, making good use of some light-up props and special effects
* A long, long, long parade of athletes of all the nations, the highlight of which was this Tongan guy [] – you might remember him from the Summer Games in Brazil, appearing with his naked torso oiled to brilliant sheen, grass skirt below – but this time around he was bopping along in the 17◦F cold, waving the Tongan flag. He’s back as a cross-country skier (in the Rio games, he did taekwondo), but deserves his own special medal for the Half-naked High-stepping Frigid Flag Handling Event.
* The  parade of nations finished up with the entrance of the combined South Korean/North Korean teams, all in white, all smiling as if joined together in peace and harmony from this day forward, as if all the bloodshed and horrors of the past decades could be so easily set aside, not to mention the threats of nuclear annihilation of just the last few months.
* The cauldron was lit and the games declared open – although several events had already occurred, including a new, mixed doubles curling event.

Here’s NBC’s highlights reel -- the best minute and fifteen seconds out of the whole 3-hour shebang:  

As for the next two weeks: I’ll be glued to the figure skating, the big skiing events, and ice hockey. And women’s bobsledding – as this time around there are TWO teams from tropical/no-snow countries to liven things up with their fish-out-of-water-and-sliding-down-a-bobsled-run story-line. There’s the Jamaican women’s team, with their sled named “Cool Bolt,” with a nod to both the Disney movie “Cool Runnings” and the greatest Jamaican Olympian ever, Usain Bolt. And there’s the Nigerian women’s bobsled team, four Texas-educated track stars with Nigerian roots, who live and train in the US. Too bad neither women’s team is thought to have a chance! Learn about the Jamaican women here: And the Nigerian women here:

But what I’m really looking forward to most is watching the curling. Why curling? Because there are brooms. And rocks. And pebbled ice. And it looks like shuffleboard on skates. Gives me the illusion (well, more like delusion) that I could do that! Here’s what you need to know to watch curling:

This and so much more will keep me off the streets for the next two weeks….

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland ParkListserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays. 

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