Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Свущ, Syringes, and Norwegian-American Pride

Last night, I watched the tail-end of what used to be one of the most anticipated matches in any sporting year, at least for me and many other Americans: USA versus Russia, hockey. I don't even like hockey, but I'd always watch this. The match had juice, sizzle, it was us versus them, tension. You could imagine the President staying up late, the first wife at his side saying, "It's just a hockey match, Ronny." But it was more than that, always it was. And now. Last night's match ended 5-4 Russia with sticks flying in front of the net and a possible last-second shot sending it into overtime, but, yeah, you know, now I really couldn't care less.

These days, the Russian fans chant Ross-see-you! Ross-see-you! just like the US fans chant U-S-A! U-S-A! (which I'm told started back at Lake Placid). Then there're the uniforms. You'll still find each country using the name they follow at the United Nations (one Russia, the other the US) but now they both share a Nike Swoosh. I'm not saying the Swoosh is the Mark of the Beast; I don't know if all the evidence is in. I'm just saying I remember a time when one country wore Nikes and another wore a pair of shoes. Or skates. You know what I mean.

Norway has a lot of medals. More medals per capita than any other country. I don't have a crack staff of interns. I don't even have one intern. But I can at least provide you with a general idea. Norway, with 18 medals as of this writing, is populated by 4.5 million people. Meanwhile, the United States of America, also with 18 medals, probably has just as many or more Norwegian-Americans.

Austria has 19 medals, but there should be an asterisk -- or hell, a transfusion machine -- by the side of that country's name. On Tuesday, after raids against the Austrian ski team yielded 100 syringes and even a blood tranfusion machine, the country's Ski Federation President said:

"I think they're going too far with the whole thing. This is not sport ... We won't live with this. We can't have our guys going through this. It's no longer about sport, it's just about rumors.''

I find this quote most enjoyable when I picture the guy, a Peter Schroeckschnadel, stepping over a pile of syringes and then side-stepping a blood tranfusion machine.

The transfusion machine, he and other Austrians politely pointed out, was found in a room without any blood. So you know, it wasn't necessarily being used. No transfusion, no foul. Perhaps it came with the rental. The Stones played Torino last year, didn't they? Maybe Keith Richards had the house last.

They should do away with the Olympic Village, all the separate living quarters, and just have one Big Brother-like house. All the athletes come in, there're cameras everywhere, and when NBC1's airing some of the events, NBC2's airing the reality show.

1 Comment:

j said...

Man, I spent all that money on a deluxe transfusion machine, and all it does is collect dust on the kitchen counter. Just another appliance to impress guests, huh?