Go Ask Daddy, Olympics Edition


photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc
photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc

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?

photo credit: tomkellyphoto via photopin cc
photo credit: tomkellyphoto via photopin cc

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.

photo credit: Adam Glanzman via photopin cc
photo credit: Adam Glanzman via photopin cc

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?

photo credit: YN 08-­09 via photopin cc
photo credit: YN 08-­09 via photopin cc

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.

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc
photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

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.

Almost.

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39 Replies to “Go Ask Daddy, Olympics Edition”

  1. An Olympic-themed Go Ask Daddy? Brilliant! Yes, it’s fun to jump on the Us vs. Them bandwagon, but what I really love about the Olympics is the spirit of compassion that prevails. You want your country to take home the gold, but you still see athletes of every country, color, and creed rallying around each other. That’s the true meaning of the Olympic movement!

    I thought of your girls last night during the carnage that was men’s figure skating. Did you see the faceplant by the American skater? Ouch!

    At least he immediately put some ice on it.

    Wow, that was a terrible joke! Sorry.

    1. We were so moved by the crowd’s encouragement of the American skater who fell. That is the spirit of the Olympics, for sure.

      So many great Olympics moments have nothing to do with the podium. And when someone with a great story fails, you hurt a little, too.

      No matter where they’re from.

      We did see that faceplant, and I was surprised (and happy) that the girls didn’t laugh. They admired the spirit that pushed him to try again!

      Ha! He did have to ice it, didn’t he? We like that he kept his nose to the grindstone.

  2. This is awesome my friend! Tiny, little confession- please don’t shutter when I say this, I haven’t partaken in any of the Olympics… Does that make me awful? LOL! Happy Valentine’s day, my friend!

    1. It’s SO good to see you back, ADH! Your Olympic avoidance doesn’t make you awful in the least. Just come here to get your rings fix.

      Monday, I’ll talk about my five favorite women at the games. That’s pretty much all you need to see, anyway.

      Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too, friend. Here’s to a heart-shaped pepperoni pizza from Elizabeth’s!

  3. I don’t know why I’ve been spending so much time watching NBC when all I had to do was read this post! You are a wealth of information my friend!!! Thanks for all the info. I’m now going to spew it to others as if it were my own, and totally floor them with all my Olympic knowledge! #goldmedalworthy

    1. I don’t know either Allie – plus, you probably won’t get pinkeye here. I can’t say the same for watching Bob Costas! the great thing about Go Ask Daddy is none of it is copyrighted, so spew all you want.

      Wait, there has to be a better word than that.

      Floor on, Allie. #goforgold

  4. I had no idea that American athletes were paid when they get a medal. So that poor sap in fourth place has the added heartache of missing out on 10 grand. Ouch.

    1. They consider it a bonus – I could handle 10G for being third best! I really feel for Hannah Teter now, who got bumped from the bronze by the last snowboarder.

      I wonder if it’s any consolation for her to be in my post on Monday.

  5. I didn’t know that American athletes were paid by the medal either – that seems to go against the whole amateur status thing!!!
    I love watching the Olympics to see the athletes and hear their stories. Of course I’m always going to root for US but there are times that after following along with some of the athletes from other countries I find myself cheering for them. Last night I felt horrible for Victor Pachanko (or however you spell it) when he had to withdraw – made me sad!

    1. I’m amateur, and I’d definitely take a bonus. Wait, that’s not the same thing, is it?

      Stories are what make the Olympics, for sure. More so than any other sport, I believe. And it just happens, the rooting. You’ll watch someone and you’ll feel that natural pull for them, and the colors on their flag just don’t matter.

      There was a skier in dreadlocks and baggy pants last night who carried a raw egg in his pocket. He wiped out hard his first run, but got up smiling.

      when he nailed his second trial, and moved to 10th place, he looked like he’d just won gold.

      That guy. I want to root for that guy.

  6. You’re wrong! Julia Mancuso uses Bloglovin, despite its slowness ALL WEEK.
    And the dizziness thing gets me. I used to get dizzy from one or two spins as a ballerina. I think you can train to get used to anything, though.

    1. She DID use Bloglovin, but switched to Feedly because it’s fast – like her.

      I used to get dizzy as a teenager watching Katarina Witt spin in the Olympics. But I think that was just hormones. I wonder if you can train to get used to eating cooked carrots.

      1. If you find a way to do it, let me know.

        On second thought … do I really want to eat cooked carrots? (Interesting side note: when I typed “cooked” I accidentally typed “cookie.” Muscle memory?

  7. it seems like you’ve filled them in with all of the wonder of what’s happened so far. tonight is u.s. vs russia men’s hockey and i cannot wait. my additional question would be: what about bob c’s eyes?

    1. They’ve wanted to tune it in every night, so that’s been cool. Between the U.S.-Russia men’s match and U.S.-Canada women’s game, I’m ready to love America and spread a little hate. in the Olympics spirit, of course.

      Hey, you deal with little ones, beth – at what point would you have quarantined him if he were little bobby c.?

      1. i know it’s really exciting when the littles get caught up in it too. we had an opening ceremonies parade and watch it each day in my class. as for little bobby, he would have been home on day 1, in my class.

  8. I am so impressed about your Swiss knowledge 🙂 Although if one of the two downhill doughnut winners would have spoken German, it’d been Dominique Gisin.
    As our Swiss athletes are already doing so well, I think I will root for one of the 18 one-(wo)man-show-nations. They can use all the support they can get.

    1. We’re pretty worldly here on the CD, Tamara. I was sort of rooting for Tina Maze – she reminds me of Martina Hingis.

      I’m angry at the moment that the U.S. isn’t the overall medal leader. Is that against the Olympic spirit?

      1. You know, many years ago at a gas station somewhere in the USA, the clerk was looking at my credit card. “Where are you from?” I told him. He went “oooohhh, Switzerland, I know a Swiss girl, maybe you are friends with her, she is called Martina Hingis?” Sure, in our little country we get to have coffee with the tennis stars all the time. I would prefer Roger, though 😉

        I think the Olympic spirit is all about being part of the experience? Even so, I am not happy about our neighbor Germany being the current overall medal leader.

      2. Oh, Roger is OK, but Martina? The princess? In days gone by, she might or might not have graced every screen saver I had at work.

        Yes, sportsmanship, the spirit, all that are part of the Olympic experience. Key parts.

        NOT seeing Germany or Russia atop the medals table? Doesn’t make us evil for wanting that. At all.

  9. Great post Eli. The payments to Olympic medal winners must have Jim Thorpe doing somersaults in his grave. As you may know he was a native American who won two gold in the decathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. He was stripped of his medals after it was found that he played semi professional baseball. He ended up being voted athlete of the 20th century by an ABC sports poll.

      1. A terrible way indeed to treat someone, especially since he took the money to support the family. He would have had a far different time of it today. Real iron man material on the old cereal box.

  10. I think they should show everything live rather than waiting until night, which drives me crazy. Especially if I hear it on the news. And I would totally be dizzy if I was a figure skater. Of course I could never be one because I have no coordination whatso ever.

    1. Me too – it’s like, don’t go online, or you might see a spoiler. Or listen to the radio. Or as I said, talk to my mother.

      I think spinning would be the least of my worries. My last time on skates ended on my ribs.

  11. I know as a dancer, you’re taught to spot somewhere so as not to get dizzy and know where you are in a turn, and I imagine that’s vaguely true for ice skaters. But really? I think they’re just used to it. Something about all that practicing and getting that weird part in your ear used to things. Though I think a couple of spins on the ice would surely have me looking drunk.

    1. When I grill out, I train my eyes on the burger in the center of the grill to keep myself from getting dizzy, so I imagine it works for figure skaters.

      I have a hard time concentrating on what’s on NPR and making tortillas, so my admiration for skaters is real.

  12. Ha – I have a selfie of myself in the middle of a spin on my blog today. Two Words: Fixed Point.
    And, I am a little bit slower than I used to be, so that helps too.
    So….. Canada vs. USA hockey finals? Men and Women? Wager for all the cheeseburgers you can eat; loser buys? LOL
    course, Canada’s women already have the hat trick of Olympic Gold, but maybe you’ll catch us this year. 😉
    I do love a good rivalry. And USA always brings us the best game. It’s what it’s all about — just seeing that awesome level of competition.
    Canadian medal winners are actually taxed on their reward!!
    That makes me dizzy for sure!
    And you left out Arianne Jones 🙂

    1. I dig the montage! I’m not as good as I once was. I think you’re probably closer to your glory than I am.

      You’re going to have to buy an awful lot of cheeseburgers when these Olympics are over. Aren’t they really expensive in Canada?

      A good rivalry gets the blood boiling, for sure. And it’s not like I can hate on the Toronto Raptors very easily.

      How did I ever miss Arianne?

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