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.

That's nonsense, of course. Many events -- from diving to gymnastics -- count points for artistry. That includes free-style snowboarding and skiing ... winter events that require awesome athletic skill.

If it were just a matter of who can leap in the most circles, figure skating would be mighty dull. It's not; it's a splendid mixture of the artful and the athletic.

Here are a few other Olympic comments; please add yours:

1) NBC handled the whole fuss skillfully. Scott Hamilton called the event perfectly; Bob Costas added a solid interview of Lysacek the next day.

2) Sunday was a fun day for Michigan people. One moment, NBC was raving about Ryan Miller's great goaltending, as the U.S. hockey team beat favored Canada. The next, it was showing Charlie White and Meryl Davis getting raves for their spectacular, Bollywood-style ice dancing. Miller's from Michigan State; White and Davis are from the University of Michigan.

3) Heading into the finals (Monday, Feb. 22), this ice-dancing event is a dandy. So far, White and Davis are second; Teneth Belbin and Ben Agosto (the silver-medalists in 2006) are fourth. It should be a fine showdown.

4) Still, that ice-dance world is sort of odd. One member of the duo representing the country of Georgia has ... well, never been to the country of Georgia. She's a 15-year-old from Warren, Mich., who got a quickie Georgia citizenship; her brother and sister skate for the Japanese. Maybe they've been to Japan.

5) There are many things I don't understand about these sports. Often enough, the NBC people forget to explain them. Whatever people are doing, they seem to be doing it very, very quickly.