USA, Russia, Norway AHEAD in Medals Count but which Countires REALLY Dominated?

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Ok, I had planned to provide daily Winter Olympic commentary, but I’ve fallen a little behind – a lot behind.  In fact, I sort of stopped watching the Sochi Games – well I tune in here and there and have lately wondered when it will all end.  Will the Games last the entire Winter which would take us to March 19th? They are the Winter Games after all. But they’ve run out of events or at least I thought so until I tuned in this morning and saw snowboard parallel slalom. Wow!  Kind of neat actually.  It’s parallel in the sense that 2 snowboarders zigzag down parallel (in different lanes) weaving in and out of flags trying to “carve” clean and fast lines to best the other rider.  And they are riders in a sense.  You ride, not race a snowboard, right? Anyway, it’s all a little silly really, but fun to watch and it’s over in a flash – it’s like the the twitter version of blogging.  Speaking of boards, what if the snowboarders skied on surfboards.  I’d like to see surfboards on the half-pipe. Imagine if you slipped up at a restaurant and ordered oysters on the half-pipe. But what I actually want to write about are patterns – patterns to the medals.  So if you haven’t been watching the Olympics and just want to know which countries are doing well in what and want to know how los Americanos are doing by comparison, this service is for you.

Let me preface the results reported below by saying that this might be a spoiler alert, or might not be. I’m not sure what you know or have or have not seen or what has been aired or what has yet to be aired tonight.  All I know is that the Games are nearly done.  Maybe some exhibition stuff, a Hockey match or two and perhaps a parade of champions or whatever they do left to go. You know what I think would be neat is for the athletes to compete in sports they don’t do for the last few days.  Bobsledders do Luge.  Lugers do Skeleton.  Sliders do Bobsled and so on (are Bobsledders sliders or just bobbers?) Figures skaters could do Freestyle Skiing; Snowboarders the Giant Slalom (on their snowboards if they like). Freestylers could do Ski Jumping. Hockey players could try the Half-Pipe on skates, Curling or Figure Skating. Short-Trackers could do Speed Skating and so on.

Final Spoiler Alert……What I find interesting is how some countries dominate in certain events. The Dutch completely dominated the world in Speed Skating.  Norway showed us all how to do the Biathlon, Cross Country and Nordic Combined.  Canada, with it’s tradition of Monarchs showed it reigns supreme in Curling and Hockey, it appears.  The Canadians also showed us how to Free Style with style.  The Chinese simply shredded up the Short-Track.  The host Russians danced their way to glory in the opening ceremony and on the figure skating ice, much to the delight of Vladimir Putin, no doubt.  Actually, Putin could be nicknamed Poutin over the Russians poor performance in Hockey. The Americans had the upper hand or perhaps lower leg with respect to Snowboarding events.  The Germans Lugers slid down the track with speed and precision and literally jumped off the charts on the hills of Sochi, normal and long along with Poland.   So, here are the medal results for each event by country of dominance compared to the USA for all you competitive American readers out there.

Figures Skating – Russia.  5 medals, 3 Gold.  USA – 2 medals, 1 Gold

Alpine Skiing – Austria 7 medals, 2 Gold.  USA 5 medals, 2 Gold

Snowboarding – USA 5 medals, 3 Gold. Russia 4 medals, 2 Gold

Freestyle Skiing – Canada 9 medals, 4 Gold. USA 7 medals, 3 Gold

Hockey – Canada 1 medal,1 Gold. USA 1 medal, 0 Gold

Cross-Country – Norway 11 medals, 5 Gold. USA 0

Nordic Combined – Norway 4 medals, 2 Gold. USA 0

Biathlon – Norway 6 medals, 3 Gold. USA 0

Ski Jumping – Germany and Poland 2 medals, 2 Gold (each). USA 0

Bobsled – USA 3 medals, 1 Gold.  Canada and Russia 1 medal, 1 Gold (each)

Luge – Germany 5 medals, 4 Gold. USA 1 medal, 0 Gold

Skeleton – Russia 2 medals, 1 Gold. USA 2 medals, 0 Gold

Curling – Canada 2 medals, 2 Gold.  USA 0

Short Track – China 6 medals, 2 Gold. Russia 5 medals 3 Gold. USA 1 medal, 0 Gold

Speed Skating – Holland 21 medals, 6 Gold. USA 0

Team USA Ran Out of Gas

It’s all over for team USA in the 2010 World Cup.  They had a good run, playing England to a tie, winning their group and advancing to the knockout round, where they fell to a young Ghanian team…again, 2-1.  The match was statistically close, but Ghana seemed to play with confidence, especially after the German born midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng scored right off the bat in the 5th minute.  That goal came on a mistake, akin to an interception in American football where the defensive back runs it back for a score.   The U.S. eventually tied the game to send it into overtime, but were burned again early after another miscue and just didn’t have the energy or the legs left to answer.

The U.S. may have had the better team.  They had the experience, lots of momentum and confidence, the best goal keeper and a prolific scorer in Landon Donovan, but they played sloppily with heavy legs.  Ghana on the other hand looked fresh, controlled the ball with crisp and precise passing and used their speed and keen anticipation to take advantage of every U.S. miscue.  And they had the home field advantage, and will have it from here on in as the last African team standing.  There was a lot riding on the game for Ghana and they rose to the occasion.  They will face Uruguay in the Quarterfinals.  If I were an Uruguayan player,  I’d be worried.

Ideas or Slogans at the RNC?

The 911 film at the RNC was used as propaganda to scare you; a base and shameless fear appeal.  Country First.  This slogan is designed to guilt you into questioning the wisdom of any US military action.  To be against spending 10 billion a month in Iraq is considered un-Amercian.  To argue that terrorism is an ideology, not a nation, and therefore very difficult to fight, is somehow a threatening idea.  Here’s a Big Idea:  We need to win the war of ideas.

Putting people first, now that’s a big idea Mr. Romney.  Why not spend those billions domestically to help struggling Americans, to invest in education, health care, renewable energy, a crumbling highway infrastructure, conservation measures, support for the arts.  Oh, but that would be putting country second.  How dare we invest money at home.  What was I thinking! Bring the troops home?  Not a chance.  Not until victory is ours, even if it takes a 100 years! There Sarah Palin, I said it – victory.

Last night MITT said it was “time for the party of big ideas, not the party of Big Brother.”  Consider the slogans from Orwell’s masterpiece, 1984 – War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength.  Right out of the Republican playbook.  Country First.  USA, USA, USA. Service.  Leave the thinking to Big Brother.  Obey and Be Happy.

Guiliani talks about Obama’s voting present (neither yes, nor no) 130 times in the Illinois Senate.  And yet Mcain failed to vote at all on legislation providing tax credits for solar and wind investments, known as the renewable energy bill.  He missed all eight votes on this legislation.  See article Eight Strikes and You’re Out

McCain also was a No show (he didn’t vote at all) on the equal pay for equal work legislation – while 6 of his Republican colleagues voted Yes.  Some maverick.

And with all this talk about drilling, let’s get one thing straight:  we can reduce our dependency on oil by using less, not drilling more.  Ride a Bike.  USA USA USA.