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Olympic Moments 2014 – Final Comments & Suggestions

olympic_flightOlympic Moments 2014logo2_sochi

Final Comments & Suggestions

 The Crusty Conservative’s Ongoing Commentary re the 2014 Winter Olympics

 

 Current Comments:

Now that the Sochi Winter Olympics are over, I would like to offer some final comments and a few suggestions for future games:

Congratulations!                                                                                                                

Russian President Putin

Russian President Putin

Despite all of the dire predictions about terrorists, “black widow” suicide bombers and oppressive security, the Olympics in Sochi went off with, Thank God, no terrorism and hardly a hitch. And once the competition started and the focus was on the athletes we stopped hearing all of the self-centered grumbling by the press about uncompleted facilities and minor inconveniences in Sochi. Congratulations to Russia and President Putin. You put on a great show!

 

 

 Thank God For The “X” Games

half pipe

and what they brought to the Sochi Winter Olympics. Indeed if it were not for the inclusion of sports developed at and for the “X Games”, we would not have had snowboarding, the exciting ski-cross races, half-pipe, aerial skiing etc. and all of the excitement and thrills that accompanied these events. In fact, without the “X Games” events, the US would have just a few Gold Medals and NBC would have had great difficulty in attracting and keeping a young viewing audience.

 

 

A Management Guru Leaves His Mark on The Olympics –

Twenty years ago, the late Peter Drucker was the most read and followed management expert in the world. MBA candidates competed to study under him. His many

Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker

management textbooks were best sellers and most Fortune 500 companies had adopted and were following many of his management principles and guidelines. The foundation of Drucker’s management advice was a simple axiom that to be successful one had to accurately and acutely identify what they did well and then to keep doing it over and over.

Watching the 2014 Olympic TV coverage, it seems very obvious to me that NBC and the organizers of the Sochi Olympics read and followed Drucker’s advice. They identified what the TV audience (their customers) wanted and each night, they packaged and re-packaged various versions of these same popular sports. Over and over again, many times with the same athletes competing in slightly different formats, at different distances, or at different venues, the organizers and NBC did what they “”do well and gave their audience what they wanted to watch –

  • The same skiers and snowboarders, night after night, competed over basically the same or similar courses in slightly different approaches to what they “do well”.  That is to see who can go down a mountain the fastest and/or with the fewest mistakes.
  • The speed skaters, night after night, also did what they “do well” – skate around varying distances on the same oval track as fast as they can.
  • Night after night an assortment of male and female daredevils, alone or in teams, head first or feet first, did what they “do well” by plunging down a curving, banked sheet of ice at 90+ mph on a variety of different sleds.
  • And in the figure skating events,  we saw the same skaters do what they “do well” over and over again, in a variety of formats, as individuals, as pairs or in teams, in skating or dancing formats, in long programs and then the same thing again in an abbreviated short program.

Night after night the Olympic organizers and TV producers followed Peter Drucker’s advice. and gave the TV audience exactly what they as customers and viewers wanted and liked. They and the athletes who competed all “did what they do well” over and over again. And again, it worked out with NBC garnering one some of the biggest audiences in TV sports history night after night for two weeks. Peter Drucker- if you were alive, you would be proud.

 Country vs.  Country or Individual vs. Individual Competitions?

Russian Gold Medal Figure Skating Team

Russian Gold Medal
Figure Skating Team

 

For years, the International Olympic Committee has tried to de-emphasize the country vs. country competition and medal counts which naturally occurs at the Olympic Games. Rather, they have attempted to bill the Olympics as a series of competitions between individual athletes not as competitions between countries. Now this year, medals were given to both individuals and also to the same athletes as members of their countries’ national teams in figure skating. Why? Could it be that figure skating is one of the most watched events at the games and this new, so-called team skating competition gives the broadcasters several extra nights of prime time skating to show and produces sizable, extra advertising revenues?

 

 

Why Team Medals in Individual Events and Why Not Individual Medals in Team Events?

 

US Speedskating Relay Team

US Speedskating
Relay Team

 

If we are going to award team medals to countries for their individual athlete’s performance in ice skating, why not for skiing, speed skating, snowboarding, cross-country etc., etc.? And also, if we are going to award team medals for performances in individual events why not give medals to individuals for their outstanding individual performances in team events? Why not give gold medals to the MVPs on the hockey teams or the speed skating and cross-country relay teams?

 

 

 Where Were The Controversies That Typically Accompany Olympic Games?                                

2014 Ladies Skating Medalists

2014 Ladies Skating
Medalists

Despite the fact that over 20% events at the Sochi Olympics were subjectively judged events rather than events where winners were determined by objective measurements, these Olympics were virtually free of controversy. Except for some discussion of the judging in the women’s’ figure skating competition, the biggest controversy seemed to be over whether the uniforms of the US speed skating team hindered their performances on the track. Wow, that’s all !

 

Suggestion – re Speed Skating Uniforms –

speed skaterAfter the controversy over whether the uniforms that were designed to allegedly improve the US speed skating team’s performance actually helped or hindered them, I would suggest that in future Olympics, speed skating be made a nude event. That way there will be no controversy over the uniforms’ effect on the athletes’ performance. Maybe everyone will be more or less equal – the world would certainly see ?????

 

What Ever Happened To The Figures In Figure Skating?                                        

Compulsory  Figure Skating  Pre 1990

Compulsory
Figure Skating
Pre 1990                     

 

Whatever happened to the compulsory “figures” in figure skating? As boring as it was to watch, in the old days each competitor was required to do specific steps and draw specific figures (numbers) on the ice with their skates. The results were judged on the accuracy and precision with which the skaters drew their figures and were a sizable part of each skaters final scores.

 

 

The Unsung Heroes Of The Sochi Olympics

are the chemists, engineers and designers who developed all of the specialty plastics and composites used in the manufacturing of the equipment and gear used by the various Olympic athletes. Without their contributions, the competitors in the Sochi games would not have been able to live up to the Olympic Motto –

“Citius, Altius, Fortius.” or

“Swifter, Higher, Stronger”.

Evidence of the benefits of high impact plastics at the Olympics

Evidence of the benefits of high impact plastics at the Olympics

Last But Not Least –

Good Luck to Pyeongchang, South Korea who will host the XXIII Winter Olympics between the 9th and the 25th of February 2018. Sochi will be a tough act to follow, let alone surpass.

2018 olympics

Good Luck!

 

 

Previously Posted Content:

Event Sponsorship – Moguls

After watching the mogul skiing and skateboarding at the Sochi Olympics –

Olymic Mogul Skiing

Olympic Mogul Skiing

I am convinced that these events should in the future be sponsored by the groups who profit the most from these sports. No not the snowboard and ski manufacturers, not the boot or uniform manufactures. No after watching the knee and hip action by the athletes competing in these events, I would suggest that they should be jointly sponsored by:

orthopedic assn

or the

aahks logo 2

What other group stands to get more business as a result of mogul skiing & skateboarding than these two!

The Crusty Conservative – Posted 2/17/14

Have The Terrorists Won Again?

Despite all of the warnings and predictions, thankfully so far there have been no terrorism incidents at the Sochi Olympics. Let’s hope that all of the security continues to work and there is no terrorist activity at the games again this week. 

Empty seats in Sochi

Empty seats in Sochi

However, looking at the numerous empty spectator seats at many of the indoor events, it seems to me that perhaps the terrorists have, without lifting a hand, succeeded in achieving their objective of terrorizing the public and disrupting the games. I fear that all of the dire predictions and alarming news coverage about threatened “Black Widow Bombers”, mass suicide attacks, etc. has caused some potential tourists and spectators to avoid this year’s games and in particular stay away from some of the more crowded indoor events. The empty seats are definitely there, but we’ll never know exactly why prime, sold seats are unoccupied. However, if it is because some ticket holders fear for their safety at the more crowded events, then the terrorists have once again won. I hope that this is not the case but I think that the numerous empty seats indicate that the terrorists may have already left their mark in Sochi and won by fear and intimidation.

The Crusty Conservative – Posted 2/17/14

 

Why My Wife Pat Is Not an Ice Dancer

While watching the Olympic pairs figure dancing competition with all of its lifts and throws, my wife Pat advised me that she would “never be able to do that”. Curious, I asked her why –

Age ? – “No, I couldn’t have done it when I was 16”

Weight ? – “No, at +/- 100 pounds, I am lighter than many of the contestants”

Height ? – “No I’m taller than a lot of them”

Fear of falling ? – “Not really”

Then What? – “I am ticklish! As soon as my partner touched me or tried to lift me I would start giggling and ruin the entire routine.”

Not For TheTickelish

Not For The Ticklish

I heard a lot of excuses in my lifetime but I can’t think of a better excuse than that for not being an ice dancer. 

The Crusty Conservative – Posted 2/17/14

 

Do You Drive or Ride a Luge?

I have always enjoyed watching Luge competition and marvel at the drivers daring. While watching the Men’s’ Single Luge event at this year’s Olympics, a question dawned onPreviews - Winter Olympics Day -1 me as to what you should properly call a participant in Luge racing. Are they Luge drivers or Luge riders?

Hard to tell! While Wikipedia says that Luge sleds “are steered with the calf of each leg and exerting opposite shoulder to the seat”, It appears to me that  the participants get the sled started and then hang on for dear life as they speed down the track at over 80 mph.  To me, it sure looks like they are riding the sled, but if they say they are driving it more power to them. Whether they are driving, riding or simply just going crazy is perhaps irrelevant. The most important thing is that you sure have to admire Luge people whatever they are called – driver and/or rider?

The Crusty Conservative – Posted 2/12/14

 

The Classy Side of Figure Skating –

Evgeni Plushenko

Evgeni Plushenko

Scott Hamilton

Scott Hamilton

 

Former US Figure Skating Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton, while commenting on the Team Figure Skating finals at the current Winter Olympics, stated that Russia’sPlushenko was “The Greatest Skater In History”. While this was the ultimate compliment that Plushenko could receive, it was an especially meaningful and a very classy statement. This coming from a man who was once regarded as and (in some minds) could still lay  claim to the title he bestowed on Plushenko –  “The Greatest Skater in History”.

Speaking of Figure Skating and classy acts – does anyone remember when the announcers dressed in formal wear for their televised commentary on Olympic Figure Skating events. Below is former US Gold Medal figure skaters Dick Button and Peggy Fleming during an earlier vintage Olympic telecast.

Former US Gold Medalists Peggy Fleming  & Dick Button

Former US Gold Medalists
Peggy Fleming
& Dick Button

The Crusty Conservative – Posted 2/12/14

and The Not Too Classy Side of Figure Skating –

As reported by Chris Estrada on the NBC OlympicTalk blog – “One of the most infamous episodes in American sports history still resonates 20 years after it occurred. On January 6, 1994, Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the right leg by a hitman hired by the ex-husband of Tonya Harding while preparing for that year’s U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

 The incident made headlines the world over, bringing an added dimension to Kerrigan’s comeback at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer (where Kerrigan won a Silver Medal) ….”

Tonya Harding  & Nancy Kerrigan

Tonya Harding
& Nancy Kerrigan

The entire incident was a “Not Too Classy” example of poor sportsmanship in a sport where the announcers at that time wore tuxedoes and ball gowns to the event.

The Crusty Conservative – Posted 2/12/14

Snoring Your Way to A Gold Medal –

cross country

With all due respect to cross-country skiers and fans of this sport,I have to try my best to stay awake during the competition. This week while watching some of the cross-country skiing events at the Sochi Olympics, I found myself either dosing off or eagerly awaiting the next commercial for some excitement. While this sport, I am sure, is exciting for the participants and requires great skill and physical effort, please forgive me if I say that “Cross Country Skiing is not quite ready for Prime Time”

The Crusty Conservative – Posted 2/11/14

 

“Don’t Do As I Do – Do As I Say” –

Russian Figure Skating Coach

Russian Figure Skating Coach

Russia is famous for its great, well coached figure skaters and so far that tradition continues into the 2014 Olympics. However, watching the Russian coaches after the early events  greeting and congratulating their skaters as they returned  from their performances , it is very obvious that the coaches do not lead by example. Can you imagine one of these coaches actually physically demonstrating how to do a “toe lift” , a “triple axel”, a “salchow” or a “death spiral”? I don’t think so.

Rather they obviously all coach by the old adage which obviously works – “Don’t Do As I Do – Do As I Say”

The Crusty Conservative – Posted 2/11/14

 

opeaning ceremony 2                                                                           opeaning ceremony

 OPENING CEREMONY –

I finally got to watch the Olympics’ Opening Ceremonies last night via TVO. I thought that it was spectacular and don’t remember ever seeing anything quite

like it.All weekend I heard the press reporting on the electronic snowflake that did not morph into the 5th Olympic ring during the ceremony. Get a life – that one electronic glitch did not in any way detract from a spectacular ceremony and pageant. It was like having the press complain about a burnt out street light in a night picture of New York City from outer space.

The Crust Conservative – Posted 2/10/2014

 

olympic uniforms

  • LIKE A BAD CHRISTMAS GIFT – The US Olympic Committee and designer Ralph Lauren once again joined forces to design parade uniforms for the 2014 US Winter Olympic Team. Like the uniforms that Lauren designed for the 2012 Summer Games, that looked like a something that a socialite would wear to a 1920s lawn party, this year’s uniforms look like the proverbial Christmas gift sweater – so tasteless that its only use is as drawer lining

The Crust Conservative – Posted 2/10/2014

•	Irina Shayk escorts the Russian delegation the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
•Irina Shayk escorts the Russian delegation the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

• Irina Shayk escorts the Russian delegation the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

GRAND ENTRY-Russia’s finest was on display during the Opening Ceremony for the Sochi Olympics, including one of its most famous faces ―

and figures.Supermodel Irina Shayk escorted the Russian delegation into Fisht Stadium, working the ramp like a runway, in her elaborate costume and headpiece. She tweeted about the experience afterwards: “So happy and proud to be a part of the opening ceremony#sochi2014#olympics❤”

The 28-year-old is usually clad in far less; she was the cover model for the 2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and has done campaigns for Agua Bendita swimwear.

2011 sports Illustrated Cover

2011 sports Illustrated Cover

Patriotism

Patriotism

 

 

 

As pseudo-cousin Ian Fleming once wrote – 

“Fr0m Russia With Love” 

 

 

The Crust Conservative – Posted 2/10/2014

 

  • Why does NBC have sports anchor Bob Costas dressing in a suit and tie every night while hosting the winter olympics? The poor guy who is already uncomfortable, because he must wear his costasglasses vs. contacts because of an eye infection, looks not only uncomfortable but grossly out of place hosting this sporting event in a full suit and tie. He would look much more appropriate and more comfortable in ski sweater and slacks or anything more casual. NBC – please give the guy a break. He is not covering a dignitary’s funeral, a formal social event or a State of the Union speech. It is a casual sporting event. Loosen up and stop taking yourself and the event so seriously.

The Crusty Conservative  – Posted Sunday 2/9/2014

 

 

 

  • 2014 US  Olympic TeamThe US Olympic team in Sochi is comprised of 230 athletes and over 400 officials. Say What – two officials for every competitor? And they say the Olympics is all about the athletes! Come again, it like the old ethnic joke – How many (name you ethnic group) does it take to screw in a light bulb?

The Crusty Conservative  – Posted Sunday 2/9/2014

The Crusty Conservative

 Flying Flag w Eagle

“… individuals may injure a whole society, by not declaring their sentiments.

It is therefore not only their right, but their duty, to declare them.”

–John Dickinson, Letters of Fabius, 1788