Winter Olympics Offered Escape

March 01, 2014 | Tom Federline

Where did the games go? Where is my release from everyday pressures and this relentless winter? Where is “lazy-one-eyed” Bob? I am in Olympic withdrawal. For a little over 2 weeks the Sochi – Winter Olympics offered a welcome relief to the doldrums of an undesirable rough weather February in B-town. Coverage on the two stations was predominantly stellar. Sometimes the primetime dragged on with personal stories and “Travel Channel” type coverage of vacationing in Russia, but that’s what is on the slate at that time of evening. Besides those 3-1/2 hours of primetime it seemed as if there was coverage almost 24 hours a day. Whether it was live, taped delay or rebroadcast, the Sochi Olympics became a favorite tune-in for this guy.

I enjoyed turning on the television and viewing fairly obscure sports presented at their highest level. Precisioned athletic maneuvers reflecting natural ability, combined with years of devoted practice and time. Final standings being decided by seconds, tenths of a second and even hundreds of a second. Case in point, sum total of (4) bobsled/luge or skeleton runs being decided by those increments. “Oh, there’s a little bump there, that’s going to cost them!” 60-80 mph on a sled? Are you kidding me?

With the allowance of these athletes being compensated for their efforts, the past few Olympic games have taken on a slightly more intensive approach. Now as you know, where there is money, there is the potential for “The Fix.” But for the most part, there appeared to be stricter enforcement and fairer award of points on the sports which included judgmental scoring. FYI – USA Medal payoff (which is minute compared to endorsements, sponsorship, etc.) – Gold $25,000, Silver 15,000, Bronze – $10,000. Some of these medal payouts in other countries were much more impressive.

Yes, these athletes are dedicated to their sport. Yes, these athletes have reached a level that the other 99% of us, only dream of obtaining. And yes, there is compensation for those efforts. Kudos for the Olympic committee for opening it up. It was rewarding enough for me just to witness the passion these athletes had for their sport. How many times did you hear, “What an experience this is” – “I am so happy for my teammates, my fellow competitors, my family, my son, my daughter…”, “Finally, it all came together!”, “Gave it my best shot, just wasn’t meant to be, etc. etc.” Truthful, honest, pure heartfelt spur of the moment reaction. Just how it’s supposed to be.

Disappointments were few: USA Hockey teams, USA speed skating. Opening Ceremony with the ring malfunction. Any on your plate?
Annoyances were apparent: I still do not get what qualifications are required for representing a country. Well I do – and that would be – “show me the money”. But I just don’t buy it. What was with that South Korean Russian speed skater (Victor Li Wan Ahn Romanovski?). Come on now, that one put me over the edge. Then there’s the figure skating scams. Here’s a hypothetical, but nonetheless – “Now introducing the skating couple from Suvlakia – he was born in Germany, she was born in Canada, they train in Colorado Springs. What the …..heck? Remember, I’m old school. If you are at the Olympics representing a country you were born there, you train there, you pay taxes there and you live there.

The positives far out weighed the negatives. So many highlights, here are a few of mine: 1. How about that USA/Russia hockey game with the 8 inning shoot-out? 2. USA Ski team – all of them. 3. The first gold medal of the Olympics going to the slope “dude”, Sage Katzenburg. Did you see his runs? Did you see the footage when he had a “Go-Pro” with him and shot himself on a practice run – so cool. 4. Bobsled, luge, skeleton any time of day. 5. Curling, yes, the Curling, “Mongo Ice Shuffle-Pucks”. I should have driven down to Laurel 8 years ago and signed up when I first got fired up about it. 6. Ashley Wagner figure skating to “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” – (Pink Floyd) 7. And finally the cross-country skiing, skiathlon, biathlon, Nordic-combined events. Just great video, great setting and even better commentary. Yes, I was hooked by the combo team of Al Trautwig (deadpan) and Chad Salmela (over-zealous insight and knowledge). Those two captivated me that first Saturday. Anybody who can stop me in my tracks due and pull me in because of their delivery of a sporting event, is tops in my book. Hit me up with your “Top Moments”.

Bottom line – I needed some time to “Take it Easy” – (The Eagles) and coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics provided that outlet. I didn’t even get into ancillary coverage on other channels or the commercials (WalMart – RUSH (Working Man). Sounds like another blog. Teaser – Did you see any of Billy Bushs’ mini-clips on Access Hollywood? I saw 2: 1. Johnny Weir surf fishing on the shores of the Black Sea in a mink and “Rick Owens” green high heeled boots. and 2. Billy and Scott Hamilton at a spa. Priceless. Thanks you NBC and Sochi Winter Olympics for the change of pace.


6 Comments For This Post

  1. unitastoberry Says:

    Now that the games are over Russia can get back to the usual invading its neighbors etc.

  2. JC Says:

    For the portions I was able to take in there was truly the good, the bad, and the ugly, and at times all 3 were entertaining.
    Some takes away’s I had from these games:
    1. Bob Costas is not so good that he can’t be replaced.
    2. If the right people get paid the right amount of money, you can hold the Winter Olympics just about anywhere.
    3. Any sport that is decided by human interpretation is subject to a fix.
    4. The more obscure sports are fun to watch and don’t get enough air time.
    5. You do need some of the human interest stories to remind everyone just how dedicated these athletes are.
    6. Matt Lauer and Al Roker on top of each other on a luge run was priceless.
    7. Having every country send pro hockey players has made that event better.
    8. Sage Kotsenbuurg’s Gold Medal performance with a trick he had NEVER DONE BEFORE will forever be locked into the memories of extreme snowboarders living by the “Go Big or Go Home” mentality.
    9. Anyone Figure Skating to Pink Floyd is extremely cool.
    10. Most importantly, every athlete competed and went home safely without any terrorist incidents. I can give the Russians credit for that. They must have used the Russian Mafia for security.


  3. chris oswald Says:

    what killed in this blog,

    slight bump, cost him, 60-80 mph on a sled, loved it.

    Truthful, honest, pure heartfelt spur of the moment reaction. Just how it’s supposed to be. can’t get that out of that richard sherman.

    shootout by same guy, oshie, was sick

    shine on, then, another working man ref for rush.

    bob’s eye, good chatter

    cruz on deck

  4. Tom Federline Says:


    How about that for timing? Olympics over – now let’s get back to escalating our misgivings with neighbors challenging the Russian regime. Now today I just read where Vladimir (one who should not be trusted) Putin, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize? Just don’t understand it. And once again – why is the USA getting involved?
    Bottom line – no terrorist attacks during the Games. Athletes and their contingent are back home safe. No vacationing in Russia for me.

    Thanks for the feedback. Keep ’em rolling.


  5. Tom Federline Says:


    Missed the Matt Lauer/Al Roker double stack luge run. Ok, I had to go find that one – now there’s one for the highlights of the Today show. I am surprised they were even allowed to be on the track. Al seemed to be having fun on the bottom there. Matt was not a happy “on-top” luger. They should have went down “Skeleton” style. Have to give them props for trying it.

    And you are right on with the apparent “security” of the games. Now on to a much safer site in 2018 – South Korea.???
    Bring on the Summer Games in Rio deJaneiro, Brazil 2016. I think we all good use a little warmth.

    Thanks for the feedback. Keep ’em rolling.

  6. Tom Federline Says:


    How ’bout that hockey game and the shoot-out? Brought back some memories, huh? Where were you for “The Miracle on Ice – 1980”?

    They are replaying some of the more Classic moments of these past Sochi games on NBCSN. They had the hockey game on the other night. I adviser all to try and catch whatever they have on tap. A moment in time to escape.

    Thanks for the feedback. Good to hear from you. Keep ’em rolling.

Leave a Reply