What are these things? Well they’re not blobs passing for critters, which is a good start.
In recent times, graphic designers have gone mad with Olympic mascots, coming up with designs that look like strangled robots. These guys are at least vaguely real.
Oh by the way, they’re a snow leopard, a hare and a polar bear and they’re the mascots for the Sochi, Russia, 2014 Winter Olympics which start a year from today. Anything you’d like to put in to the comments below? Get it? Putin? Ah, forget it…
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You remember Steven Bradbury. He’s the short track speed skater who won gold when all his opponents fell over at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics 10 years and a few weeks ago. Well, this week Bradbury himself tripped up.
At a function to launch the West Coast Eagles AFL season, the former peroxide blond talked about his career as a skater, saying “The only person who would have spent more time on the ice than me was Ben Cousins”.
He has since apologised. Personally, I think it was a great gag. As a guideline, the first rule of satirical humour should always be this: is the target of the humour deserving of mocking? In the case of the kids with cancer so cruelly lampooned by The Chaser, the answer was clearly no. But Ben Cousins? Hmmm.
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The biggest donkey-licking of the weekend wasn’t in New South Wales politics. It was at Melbourne’s Moonee Valley racecourse, where unbeaten mare Black Caviar went so fast it would have outpaced Mark Webber’s Red Bull. Actually, Melbourne trams go faster than Webber’s Red Bull. Anyway, you get the point.
Horse racing doesn’t get much of a run in the sports pages outside of Melbourne’s spring carnival, but with 11 wins from 11 starts, Black Caviar is already fit to graze in Phar Lap and Makybe Diva’s paddock, and has probably even earned the right to eat the nice green grass in the shady corner. Check her performance a few weeks back in the time-honoured Newmarket Handicap. Wow. She never got out of second gear.
Ratings experts, who produce a formula which no one seriously pretends to understand, upgraded Black Caviar to 135 after that win, which is a statistical way of saying she deserves a speeding ticket. Rival trainers know this, and are now avoiding her. That’s why racing authorities offered prize money of $10,000 down to eighth place on Friday night, in a desperate attempt to attract a decent-sized field.
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Thanks to Channel Nine’s captivating coverage of the Vancouver Olympics Games you might have missed the news this week that pole dancers are bidding to have their ‘sport’ included as a test event at the 2012 London Olympics.
KT Coates, director of UK pole exercise school, Vertical Dance, is leading the campaign. ‘After a great deal of feedback from the pole-dance community, many of us have decided that it’s about time pole fitness is recognised as a competitive sport, and what better way for recognition than to be part of the 2012 Olympics held in London,’ she said.
So far a petition to get pole dancing to London has attracted some 4000 signatures. The Vertical Dance website notes that ‘by signing our petition you are showing the powers that be, that we seriously believe in the Vertical Bar.’
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Two weeks ago, I gave 10 reasons why I thought the Winter Olympics were “Higher. Faster. Cooler.” Now they’re almost over, I thought I’d reflect briefly on what, if anything, we all learned. So. In no particular order, here are 10 things.
1. Climate change is real
Thought I’d throw this one up the top because I don’t get enough right wing spam hate mail. Here’s the thing, though. Vancouver had its warmest January on record and has probably just recorded its warmest February too. Daffodils are out a month early. OK, so it’s the warmest city ever chosen to host a winter games. And yes, other parts of the northern hemisphere have had unusually snowy winters. But really, an average daily max temp of 10 or 11 where it’s usually four or five is one hell of a massive anomaly.
2. London is going to suck
As the stuff-ups subsided and the clouds cleared, beautiful Vancouver gave us a magnificent Olympic backdrop. Twee as it sounds, the Olympics need to take the world’s couch potatoes on something resembling a trip. How on earth will London manage this, wedged as it is between Beijing/Vancouver and Sochi/Rio? No snowy peaks or Copacabana Beach in the south east of England. Just boring, bloody red buses and Beefeaters. God help us all if Oasis or the re-re-re-formed Spice Girls perform at the opening ceremony.
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I’ve never really gotten the Winter Olympics Games. Sure, it’s fun every four years to turn on the telly, turn up the air-con and pretend I know what a triple axel is for a couple of hours. But aside from figure skating and the occasional Bradbury-ism, I’ve always seen the colder Games as a bit of background noise, a comma in the sporting events cycle between Sydney and Athens, Beijing and London.
This year, for the first time in my life, I have Winter Olympics fever – and I suspect it’s because I am far from the salt and sand of the country I’ll be rooting for.
The Winter Olympics just makes more sense when viewed from the northeast United States. Or, I suspect, from a snowy Zurich or a frosty Seskatchewan. It’s easier to get into the spirit of the dream, if you will, in a cold northern February than at the tail-end of a sweaty southern summer.
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Like most sports fans I shudder to think how many hours I have spent glued to the television or sitting in the outer and screaming my lungs out at the spectacle of the hour.
It would easily average at least four hours a week, which is a pretty normal level of consumption. It’s also pretty normal that these viewings have often taken place in an emotionally-charged environment, as if to illustrate the old maxim (attributed to Liverpool manager Bill Shankly regarding soccer) that sport isn’t matter of life or death, it’s much more important than that.
But the Winter Olympics has given us a pretty bleak reminder that in the overall scheme of things, sport doesn’t really matter that much at all. And with the Olympic Movement framed as it is around the principles of excellence – faster, higher, stronger – it seems ghoulishly appropriate that the Vancouver Games have set a new mark for tastelessness.
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Dale Begg-Smith has just won his second straight medal for Australia at a Winter Olympics, then snubbed the media like he did at Torino.
Immediately after the moguls final on Cypress Mountain, the three medallists were presented to the public. The winner and bronze medallist were beaming. Silver medallist Begg-Smith had more or less the same expression as a brick wall, and utterly spoiled the scene.
Moments later, Channel Nine’s Tim Gilbert snared an interview with Canada’s Alexandre Bilodeau, who had just won his nation’s first gold medal at a home Olympics. The French Canadian dedicated the medal to his disabled brother.
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The Winter Olympics start this weekend and I’m ridiculously excited. I love the Winter Olympics much more than that over-hyped impostor, the Summer Games. Here’s why.
The Winter Olympics are sexier
Well, they are. No Greco-Roman wrestlers or weightlifters in this lot. Winter Olympians have body shapes which can almost universally be described as “lithe”. What’s more, everyone wears clingy outfits. It’s a visual feast. Doubly so if you have a lycra fetish.
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Not since Australia clinched victory in the 1983 America’s Cup has the Boxing Kangaroo been up for a fight like this.
It might not be Australia’s national flag, but the fighting marsupial is proving to be a rallying symbol of unity ahead of the Winter Olympics in Canada.
Only a few weeks ago, debate was raging about whether the nation’s official ensign, sporting a Union Jack in the corner, was appropriate for a modern Australia. Opinion polls at the time showed we were mostly happy with our flag. This doesn’t mean we don’t have a special place in our hearts for the kangaroo with a KO punch.
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They call it the Pineapple Express. It’s an unwelcome warm weather system which drags moist, warm air from the ocean near Hawaii, all the way north to the Pacific coast of Oregon, Washington State and southern British Columbia.
And wouldn’t you know it, right now there’s a massive Pineapple Express lashing Vancouver, host city of the 2010 Winter Olympics which start on Feb 13.
Usually, Pineapple Expresses last a few days. But this one has been around for five weeks, and shows no signs of abating.
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