Friday, February 21, 2014
Hundreds of millions of people will be following the 2014 Winter Olympics, even though the underwhelming motto (“Hot. Cool. Yours.”) sounds less like a paean to athletic excellence than the sort of progression that accompanies a court-ordered paternity suit.
Of course some people will be more keenly interested than others. According to Wikipedia, this 22nd Winter Olympics is on track to be the most expensive Olympics in history, with cost overruns more than quadrupling the original price tag. Perhaps the planners merely underestimated the cost of venues, transportation infrastructure and power supply infrastructure – but political opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin accuse him and his cronies of embezzling tens of billions of dollars.
An indignant Putin told reporters, “I will hold a televised speech to deny these scurrilous charges just as soon as Bill Gates gets through polishing my shoes.”
NBC, of course, has a lot at stake. The network hopes the Olympics will help launch Jimmy Fallon as the new “Tonight Show” host and boost their midseason series. Long-term, the network of “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD” hopes the Olympic momentum will catapult next fall’s “Chicago Lenin’s Tomb Guard” into the Nielsen ratings stratosphere.
Network executives and Olympics fans are mourning the fact that gold medalist skier Lindsey Vonn and other marquee stars have been sidelined by injuries. “How will their compelling PERSONAL STORIES ever be known now?” they ask. (“Well, if they’ve ever made any phone calls…,” offers new Russian resident Edward Snowden.)
Advertisers are hoping for a huge worldwide audience of people watching disciplined athletes stretching the limits of human skill and endurance. Then those viewers are supposed to buy a new SUV for driving around the corner to buy junk food. Only in Amer – well, only on Planet Earth.
Certainly terrorism is a specter hanging over the Games. Putin dreads hearing those horrible sounds. No, not bombs or guns…SHOW TUNES. He wants to make Russia a safe and welcoming place for athletes/tourists from all nations – as long as their national dress does not involve looking like a Native American, cowboy, construction worker, motorcycle cop, leather guy…
Many chide Putin for certain restrictive policies in Russia, but he’s merely trying to uphold the grand tradition of the Russian nesting doll. He likes to see people in a closet inside a closet inside a closet inside…
Rush Limbaugh is concerned that “activist Olympic judges” will start awarding medals of Gold, Silver and Trojan. He also fears the implementation of the “morning after” triple Lutz. (“I sort of regret what I did last night. Let’s have a do over of that event.”)
Pope Francis sees the Winter Olympics as a way to further his human rights agenda. Did you know that, although three continents have been home to the Winter Olympics, a country in the southern hemisphere has never been selected as host? Pope Francis will apply pressure to spread the wealth a little more. But there is no truth to the rumor that he promised Australia he would petition the Almighty to “throw another capitalist on the barbie.”
I’m sure many cheers will be heard during the Games. I just hope they aren’t drowned out by President Putin’s shouts of, “Hey, Oprah – do you have my vodka swimming pool filled yet?”
- Danny Tyree is a syndicated columnist whose articles are distributed by Cagle Cartoons. Danny welcomes reader e-mail responses at firstname.lastname@example.org.