The Ice-Resurfacing Follies -

The Ice-Resurfacing Follies

SCOTT FESCHUK: Instead of the men’s 500m sprint, I got a silent movie entitled Let Us Now Point at the Ice and Shake Our Heads in Dismay


The Aussies are mad at us for winning gold in men’s moguls. They say the judges gave unfairly high marks to Alexandre Bilodeau. Skiers are mad at us about the cross-country course. They say it has too many turns and hills and whatever. And everyone is mad at us for the Muppet movie unfolding down at the speedskating oval, where competition has been marred by resurfacing delays and inconsistencies.

At the Whistler Media Centre, there are high-def TVs providing live feeds from all the competition venues here and in Vancouver. There’s no sound – just the images. I sat down to watch a little bit of the men’s 500-metre sprint, and instead I got a weird silent movie entitled Let Us Now Point at the Ice and Shake Our Heads in Dismay.

4:45 p.m. PT A coach from the Netherlands is gesturing at the ice. He looks angry. He theatrically musses his long floppy hair. His hair looks even angrier.

4:46 Closeup on the ice. It looks as smooth as Ray Liotta’s face.

4:47 Someone pulls out a walkie-talkie. This is getting serious.

4:49 Uh oh. Up until now it’s been team officials and Olympic organizers in blue jackets pointing at the ice and shaking their heads in dismay. Now onto the scene comes… a Man Wearing a Suit.

4:51 Man Wearing a Suit holds an intense conversation with Cringing Underling Holding a Clipboard.

4:53 The coach from the Netherlands returns to shake his hair at anyone foolish enough to get in his way.

4:55 A U.S. coach points at the ice. A Japanese points at the ice and tilts his head skeptically. Your move, Uncle Sam.

4:59 Zamboni!

5:12 Crowd shots. There’s no audio, so I’m left to deduce from the movements on the screen that people are either singing along to YMCA or suffering a collective seizure.

5:16 Long, thrilling shot of an official running his hand gently, seductively, along the surface of the ice. In slow-motion. Wocka-wocka-WAH. (Porn music.)

5:20 Every silent movie needs a villain, and onto the scene comes… Sweet mercy, that’s Ottavio Cinquanta! Last seen presiding over the 2002 pairs figure skating debacle in which a Russian couple won gold, then Jamie Sale and David Pelletier won gold, then everybody else on earth with skates won gold, etc. etc. Relax, everyone: Ottavio Cinquanta will solve this ice-resurfacing problem (come get your gold medal, Zamboni driver).

5:26 Gesturing!

5:29 Ottavio Cinquanta keeps talking to a group of officials and workers. I’m beginning to suspect he solved the crisis several minutes ago but now is just telling everyone that his hotel suite has a hot tub.

5:34 After a 90-minute delay, skating begins. Ottavio Cinquanta is free to go. And just in time! He’s got a 5:45 appointment to tie a helpless woman to some train tracks.


The Ice-Resurfacing Follies

    • It's interesting that it seems to be the British press that has it's hate-on going moreso than in other countries. The Guardian in particular isn't surprising though. I can imagine what manner of Olympics-disparagement The Guardian will get up to for London 2012.

  1. Don't blame Zamboni, the ice resurfacer is an Olympia !

  2. It's funny, the Olympia is the "Canadian" machine, yet any tech out there will tell ya they prefer the American-built Zamboni.

  3. And from the other side of the World;

    Vancouver Games continue downhill slide from disaster to calamitySnowboarding nonsense is the latest fiasco threatening to make these Games the worst in Olympic history

    Sure the weather, but hold on until we find out just how much Harper, majority government has/is involved.

    CTV's coverage ??

  4. Rather than trying to assure that the machine was "green", maybe they should have checked that it worked. Lots of Olympia machines at rinks but they all run off propane not some experimentally sensitive system.

  5. Thanks for the timeline. Never thought you'd share this too.