It’s hard to believe the 2010 Winter Games are almost here. Has it really been four years since last we experienced the thrill of watching people we don’t know compete in sports we don’t care about?
A schedule of key events:
Feb. 11: On the eve of the Games, each athlete will be presented with an elegant Haida carving that depicts the god of clean urine. Snowboarders will use it as a bong.
Feb. 12: The eyes of the world turn to the opening ceremonies at B.C. Place, a pageant highlighted by the dazzling spectacle of the roof possibly not collapsing. On the floor: the Parade of Athletes. In the broadcast booth: the Parade of Reading Stuff They Found on Wikipedia.
Brian Williams: Here now, the team from Finland. The flag-bearer has a mole the size of a gumdrop on his left hip. He likes soup.
Lloyd Robertson: His club-footed aunt in Helsinki doubts the efficacy of socialism.
The ceremonies end with the igniting of the Olympic cauldron and the knowledge that for as long as this deeply symbolic flame remains alight, all the people of earth will be joined in the spirit of peace and harmony (does not apply to residents of the Middle East, most of Asia, all of Africa, the U.S. Congress, Brangelina or the dozens of voices in Glenn Beck’s head).
Feb. 13: Fifteen degrees and sunny: ladies’ freestyle moguls replaced by ladies’ freestyle Boggle.
Feb. 14: Medal presentations in the luge. The gold goes, yet again, to gravity. (Better luck in four years, friction.)
Feb. 15: Pairs’ free skate. International broadcasters: mind the “two references to Jamie Salé and David Pelletier” minimum.
Feb. 16: A survey conducted by the International Olympic Committee finds that, pound for pound, curlers are the “poundiest” of all Olympic athletes. The discovery prompts the IOC to amend its motto from “Faster, Higher, Stronger” to “Discontinue Activity If You Feel Dizzy.”
Feb. 17: Slow-motion replays of the two-man luge result in a 37 per cent increase in homoerotic urges worldwide.
Feb. 17: As the Canadian and U.S. teams annihilate their early-round opponents, IOC officials begin to wonder if they should replace women’s hockey with something more exciting and competitive, like Freestyle Driveway Shovelling or the 100-m Unintentional Downhill Stumble.
Feb. 18: Men’s free skate. If it’s anything like the 2006 Games, this competition will resemble an epic gladiator battle, but with more sequins and falling down.
Feb. 19: NBC renews its tradition of airing heartwarming profiles of athletes who have endured tremendous sacrifice to make it to the Olympics. Tonight: goalie Ryan Miller, who for years has lived in Buffalo.
Feb. 20: NBC profiles a U.S. skier who battled cancer, fought diabetes, coped with deafness and is now poised to compete in the slalom without any internal organs.
Feb. 21: As part of the concert series that follows each night’s medal presentations, Trooper and Loverboy take the stage at B.C. Place. Their presence prompts IOC president Jacques Rogge to declare the Vancouver Games the best Olympics of the 1980s.
Feb. 22: Time for the final event in ice dancing. In keeping with the sport’s long-standing tradition, the presentation of medals will take place just prior to the competition.
Feb. 23: The medal round in men’s hockey begins. Time for Canadian men to give 110 per cent of the obligatory 110 per cent (that’s 121 per cent!). And time for the Americans to dredge up the Miracle on Ice. Some may recall that during the Salt Lake Games, the improbable victory at Lake Placid was credited by NBC with reversing an economic recession and setting in motion the end of the Cold War. With the benefit of eight more years of embellishment, it’s a safe bet Mike Eruzione and Co. will this time be credited with curing small pox and inventing casual Fridays.
Feb. 24: With only thin patches of snow left on the mountain, the ladies’ giant slalom is run over a course made from thousands of Expo ’86 tote bags.
Feb. 25: This is the night of the all-important free program in ladies’ figure skating. Non-gay guys: this is the night of the all-important nothing that will interest you.
Feb. 26: The actor Robert Pattinson has no apparent connection to the Games, but a columnist’s readership among young women invariably soars when the hunky actor’s name is printed in bold text.
Feb. 28: Men’s gold medal hockey game. If Canada makes the final, officials predict the TV audience for the game could reach 12 million viewers. If Canada doesn’t make the final, officials predict we’ll all be very sad.
Feb. 28: Under the watchful eye of the IOC president, a large crate is sealed during the closing ceremonies and prepared for shipment to Russia. Upon it are painted the words: “Warning: Contains Biathletes. Do Not Open ’Til 2014.”