Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Olympic Schadenfreude

Every two years, Americans partake in the sport of Olympic Shadenfreud - that of watching the athletes of the world do their best only to fail in Olympic fashion. 

Monday, the news from Vancouver is that the Russians are shut out of medal contention in pairs figure skating for the first time since 1964.  It seems that Russian Yuko Kavaguti (above) fell on the ice, thus ending the 12 Olympic run.  Poor Yuko, no soup for you.  It must be humiliating that this happened.  Let's watch it on the instant replay, again, and again, and again.  Quick, cut to the box where Yuko and her partner are awaiting their scores with the coach who is not pleased.  Of course there used to be anxiety on top of the humiliation - back in the days of of the Russian dictators, Yumi's little mistake would have at least earned her a one way ticket to "camp" in Siberia.  But now, Yumi must be happy that her life's drama is playing out on the NBC Schadenfreude Olympics.  Tsk, tsk, tsk.

And then there is the case of Norway's Petter Northug, a strapping young man of great accomplishment, and the current world champion in his sport of cross country skiing.  Favored to win in the Men's event on Monday, the NBC Commentators took great relish in watching Northug self-destruct on the course.  Even though they called his lack-luster performance a non-issue, they kept going back over to the camera trained on this man and continued to shred his performance, and proclaimed with glee that he finished a middling 41st.  Never mind that the closest American to the viking finished a full 30 seconds behind Northug.  ANd did anyone out there thing of Northung's last name?  NOR and THUG; a lst name that surely stands for a combination of "Norway" and "Thug" in the minds of American Spectator.

When it comes to the Olympics, American's in their living rooms always take the Gold in Schadenfreude.

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