The Games of the 2014 Winter Olympics are now underway in Sushi, Russia, or some similar place, and appear to be off to a flying start, at least for the ski jumpers. After tense moments when some bad press was being generated due to unfinished hotels, and an apparent mixup between drinking water and urine samples, the games seem to be running smoothly now. (I have just been handed a bulletin stating that the games are actually in Sochi. Who knew?)
The USA team got off to a fast start when Sage Kotsenburg won the first gold medal, for falling off a cliff on a snowboard while twisting his body into a pretzel and spinning at 33 1/3 rpm, before regaining consciousness and landing on his feet. Afterward, he commented, “Cowabunga, dude! You should see the dream I just had!” Many other competitors also gave awesome impressions of skydivers who forgot their parachutes, but in the end, the gold went to Sage. When asked if he had ever attempted that particular maneuver before, he replied, “Not while I was awake.”
His event is called slopestyle, and is new to the Olympics, as it only started last month, when a snowboarder tumbled down Mt. Everest while trying to outrun an avalanche, and other snowboarders thought it was really cool.
Not all of the athletes do this wild form of skiing, of course. Some of them ride their slippery boards down huge ramps (also known as ski jumps, or suicide slides), and take off flying toward a landing area in the next country. They pass through three airport control tower zones, and two time zones, so they often land before they took off. Which is just as well, because they can then phone themselves back at the ski jump and tell themselves not to do it.
Ski Jumper: Hello, is this me?
Ski Jumper: You were expecting Maria von Trapp? Of course it’s you!
Ski Jumper: One word of advice: don’t.
Ski Jumper: What? Why not?
Ski Jumper: This jump doesn’t go so well. Mom warned me not to do this. It was always dad pushing me off the barn roof.
Ski Jumper: Should I adjust for the tailwind?
Ski Jumper: How would I know? I’ve been dead for ten minutes.
The smaller, or normal hill, is always first, and was completed today, with some guy from Poland (that no one in America ever heard of, because ski jumping isn’t terribly popular in the USA, for some reason) winning. But it is expected that a large audience will view the large, or abnormal hill, especially if the rumors are true that it will be combined for the first time with paintballing.
Also expected to be a ratings juggernaut is the men’s downhill event, where skiers freefall down the vertical face of a mountain (skis optional). Bode Miller is America’s best hope, and historically people named Bode have done well in the Olympics. This event will be shown in primetime this evening, some hours after it occurred. Olympic insiders are wondering if Bode will debut his new time travel technique to change the outcome, if necessary.
Stay tuned to the Joe Zone, as we continue to bring you Olympic coverage you won’t find anywhere else, whether it actually happened or not. Sort of like the New York Times.