Let the Games begin and let the interest commence

Let the Games begin and let the interest commence

Almost time to turn on the lights over in Pyeongchang (I guarantee I spell that incorrectly at least once a day for the next two weeks) because I just checked with the First Lady Of The Beat and it’s late Thursday night there and tomorrow they flip the switch on the big fire.

So, pumped?

I’ve long held that the Olympics as a sporting event are wonderful, good stories, dynamic competition, a rallying point for a country’s sports fans and dozens and dozens of good stories were never know well enough.

It’s great that so-called secondary sports get a chance in the limelight and that athletes who work as hard if not harder than the North American professionals we lionize for little reward are in the forefront.

That’s cool and why we watch.

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The IOC, on the other hand, is abhorrent. Self-serving and in a large part money-grubbing, and it’s hard to separate it from the Games. It takes away from the sporting part of the fortnight and that sucks.

I don’t know if it can be fixed – I doubt it – and I fear it’s creating distaste for the Games which is troubling.

There seem to be less buzz about these Olympics than any in years, maybe it’s got to do with the odd handling of the Russia situation – Are they in? Are they out? Who are they? Can they be trusted? Does anyone care one way or the other? – or maybe it just sports overload in general.

And the Winter Olympics are fighting an uphill battle as it is. I think they’ve been a bit tricked-up in a search for younger television viewers, they have almost an X Games feel to them at times and I don’t know if that’s all that good. Not to take away at all from the athletes, of course, they are dedicated and the best in the world at their craft but, still …

Anyway, I hope these Games become something of a growing sensation here, that the stories as they unfold grab our attention and keep us interested. Some will be fascinating, others will be enduring for the length of the Games, some will be one-day flashes that make us proud of the women and men who wear the country’s colours.

I don’t know if that will be how things unfold, but I hope it is.

And, if you’re wondering, four that will capture my attention and should yours?

Speedskating, long track

They remind me of 400 metre runners with long and loping “strides” and a metronome-like pace to their events. I know the longer distance races can be a bit mind-numbing to watch but there’s just something about it I find fascinating.

Ski jumping

It doesn’t have anything to do with Eddie The Eagle or that poor schmoe who was the poster boy for “The Agony Of Defeat” on the old Wide World Of Sports intro but it strikes me as a more pure competition that the other downhill, go off bumps, twist and turn and gyrate.

Curling, mixed

It’s curling. It’s Canada. My man Cacciola is covering it for the New York Times and that should be fun. Plus isn’t mixed curling like the beach volleyball bastardization of the sport, or outdoor three-on-three basketball?

Speedskating, short track

It’s got some of the aspects of roller derby, Canada always does well and I’m wondering whether there’s a Skinny Minny Miller who’ll emerge. Plus, who doesn’t like a good crash!

Not entirely sure why yesterday was International Clash Day but it was so …


Go to shootaround, hang around the workroom hoping something happens before 3 p.m., type that up, listen to Masai or Bobby explain why they didn’t get anything done and then a game.

This one might have some juice but I can see it petering out, too; lots of chatter and nothing accomplished and at 3 p.m. I’ve got a 550-word top of Nothing But Net to write and nothing to write about.

Love Trade Deadline Day. Or not.

But I could spend a bit of that time putting together the mailbag for the weekend and that’s where you come in.

Since Friday is going to be an entirely dead day, it’ll be a good chance to get started on Sunday’s file so go to askdoug@thestar.ca and do what you do; I’ll be the guy in the ACC work room waiting to hear from you.

Okay, I’m way late to this but it must be said.

I truly and honestly believe Lady Doritos were the stupidest idea since New Coke and I hope whoever dreamed up the idea is suitable chastised and demoted and made to eat them.


I’m an aficionado of snack food and I don’t care whether you’re male or female or in between or if you’re from stinking Mars, Doritos are Doritos. They crunch, they leave dust on your fingertips; it’s what they are and always will be and to think otherwise is ridiculous.
And singling out women for their own special “brand” is as tone deaf as you can get. I know more than a few women who quite enjoy a nacho cheese Dorito or six and who couldn’t care less about crunching sounds or lingering stuff on their fingers.

Another window to FIBA World Cup qualifying, another coach for Canada, we’re not far from the late-February games in Bahamas and no one can say with 100 per cent certainty who will represent the country.

Yeah, FIBA botched this new qualifying process so incredibly poorly, it’s laughable.

Now, Gordie Herbert is an excellent choice to fill-in for Roy Rana, who has Ryerson duties he can’t shirk; just as Roy was an excellent choice to fill-in for Jay Triano, who has NBA duties to attend to but who will likely be the head coach in late June and early July when this convoluted process continues here in Ontario.

But if FIBA officials had sat down and tried to devise a qualification process that would screw up Canada so incredibly much, I don’t think the could have come up with anything different than what they did.

If Canada qualifies – and I still think they will – it will be in spite of process that’s screwed them from the onset.

Winter Olympics playlist


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