Winter Olympics

Olympics are ready to give us new heroes ... and, maybe, villains

Friesh from that high-octane Super Bowl, NBC is ready to deliver the Winter Olympics. That means more actions -- and occasional quirks, like the ones that made Apolo Ohno a hero and (to some) a villain. The games start Thursday (Feb. 8); here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

There are many
things Americans and South Koreans agree on. They like action movies,
for instance, and dislike North Korean leaders.

From the Fallon to the Olympics, this is NBC's time for big moves

PASADENA, Cal. -- NBC is trying some familiar draws – from “Peter
Pan” to Dorothy’s “Oz,” from Katherine Heigl to a multi-tasking Amy Poehler –
in its ongoing comeback attempt.

Semi-glory at the Olympics

This must have been a glorious moment for the U.S. women's speedskating relay team. They finished last and won a medal.

This was the four-team finale, meaning that only one team would fail to win a medal. The Americans promptly finished fourth.

Then the South Koreans were disqualified, nudging the Americans to bronze. It kind of reminded me of "Little Miss Sunshine," when Abigail Breslin finished second in a two-girl contest. When the winner was disqualified, she celebrated: "I won, I won, I won."

Winter Olympics, Part V

Russians have had some fine ideas, you know. Share-the-wealth was one (albeit flawed in execution); those little dolls that fit inside each other are another.

This time, however, they're dead wrong. After Evan Lysacek won the gold medal in figure-skating, the Russian he beat (Evgeni Plushenko) was critical. He did a quadruple jump, he said, and Lysacek didn't, so he should have won. His fellow Russians agreed, along with odd bloggers: If this is an athletic event, they said, it should be judged on jumps, not artistry.

Winter Olympics, Part IV

A few quick comments about tonight's Olympics. Please comment; also, please read the Simon Cowell blog that preceded this:

1) One piece of Olympic history today: Ryan Miller became the first goalie in the games ever credited with an assist; that was his pass to Jack Johnson.

2) Here was something more remarkable about that. It was a pass from a Michigan State guy to a University of Michigan guy. Anything is possible during the Olympics.

Winter Olympics, Part III

A few more Winter Olympics comments; please add yours:

1) I do have immense respect for Shaun White. Frankly, if I ever found myself whooshing down a halfpipe atop a narrow snowboard, the last thing I'd be thinking is: "Maybe when I fly up over top, I can spin around three times and do a somersault."

2) For weeks, NBC has been preaching to us about the talent of White, Lindsey Vonn, Apolo Ohno and Shani Davis. Tonight, they seemed surprised to discover they'd been telling the truth.

Winter Olympics, Part II

I think I accidentally watched the Canadian Channel tonight. Either that or NBC's coverage has suddenly tilted way northward.

Granted, Americans always root for Canadians. They're sort of like us, only nicer. They're like Mormons and Minnesotans.

So we root for them, whenever possible. We shared their outrage, when they were (temporarily) robbed of a pairs gold medal in 2002; we shared NBC's fascination this year with seeing them win their first gold on home soil.

Let's talk Winter Olympics

Here are 10 random thoughts about NBC's Winter Olympics coverage; please add yours:

1) I really can't tell the difference between someone who goes a zesty 89 miles an hour and some who merely pokes along at 87. Either one just looks ... well, really fast. They sort of woosh past us and someone says gee that was really slow or fast or something. In short, I'm having trouble enjoying luge or downhill skiing or such.