We love to watch the Olympics – but it seems to bring out a little hate in us, too.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day. We all want America to win. Every single time. And, like when we root for our favorite football teams or soccer teams, we develop a little healthy animosity for the other side. Or, in this case, the rest of the world.
The whole us against them mentality is contagious.
So as we root against Swedes and Russians and even Canadians (except for Dara Howell and Melissa Hollingsworth and Katelyn Osmond), inevitably, the girls have questions. Lots of them.
Many of which will mean nothing as soon as a week and a half from now.
So, I’ll put it all out there, and get some sick air before the closing ceremonies.
Here’s what the girls asked about during the Winter Olympics:
1. How far ahead of us are they in Sochi?
You mean time, right?
Sochi is nine hours ahead of us in the Eastern Time Zone. When this post goes live at midnight, it will be 9 a.m. in Sochi. Skiier Julia Mancuso is probably eating a tall stack of pancakes and pulling up Coach Daddy on her Feedly right now.
This time difference is why we watch what happened hours ago when we tune in at night.
This works fine, if you don’t go to sports websites for spoilers on who winds up on the podium.
Also, don’t call your grandma 10 minutes before Shaun White goes for sick air. She’ll give it away.
2. Why do some countries have a lot of athletes, and others just a few?
Maybe those with only a few had their alarm clocks set to Eastern Time Zone time.
Much of it centers around economics. Canada (220), host Russia (225), and the U.S. (230) send the most athletes. That’s a measure of many factors, including economic wellness, a climate that supports Winter Olympics training, and programs to develop the next round of Olympic athletes.
Eighteen countries sent just one athlete: Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, U.S. Virgin Islands, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.
A lot of those nations just don’t have the facilities to train. There’s not a lot of downhill skiing in the Cayman Islands. Few skating rinks in Luxembourg. And not a lot of money for a bobsled team in Nepal.
3. How do figure skaters not get dizzy when they spin?
I’m not sure – I get dizzy if I take a couple of quick laps around the buffet.
For skaters, it comes with practice. When you start out, you do one or two revolutions.
You build up to seven, eight, nine revolutions after months of training.
Here’s what is cool: If you can master basic spins like the camel, sit and upright, you move on to spins perfect for a guy like me.
The next level? Doughnut, haircutter and pancake. Yes, one of each, please.
4. Do Olympic athletes get paid?
You get a doughnut for a gold, hair cut for a silver and a pancake for bronze.
Not all teams pay their medal winners.
Some athletes get endorsements from companies they represent. The U.S. Olympic Committee pays bonuses for medals: A gold gets you $25,000, a silver $15,000 and you get $10,000 for a bronze finish.
Those payouts have remained unchanged for 10 years, though.
Gold medals aren’t the only thing Malaysian athletes get for first place. They also receive a gold bar valued at $600,000!
The last time the Malaysian Olympic Committee had to cough one up, Dwight D. Eisenhower was U.S. president.
5. Why did Tina Maze speak English in her interview and not Swiss?
Although its less than twice as big as New Jersey, Switzerland has four official languages: French, German, Italian and Romansh. Swiss isn’t a language.
And the Swiss use Swiss Francs as currency. Tina Maze, at age 30, is a gold-medal winner and a Slovenian pop star. She also has her own line of jewelry, and, oh yeah, is a pretty good alpine skiier.
And she’s a bucker of convention, with all this English talk.
It’s almost enough to make the Pacheco girls want to root for a non-American.