>>> Balls to the Wall
By staff writer Dan Opp
February 15, 2006

The 2006 Winter Olympics kicked off last Friday with what was, in my opinion, the weirdest artistic performance ever to be associated with a sporting event. It did, however, serve to exemplify part of the beauty of the Olympic Games, namely their diversity. So many athletes from so many different backgrounds descended onto Torino, Italy this past week. Some bring legitimate aspirations for a gold medal, others arrive with little more than the timeless honor of competing for their country. With such a broad spectrum of cultures represented, the Olympics are bound to take on a myriad of meanings for competitors and spectators alike. Bearing that in mind, I present to you exactly what the Olympics mean to me.

O is for Orgy.

Every once in a long while, you see a statistic that just makes your jaw drop. For instance, after five seasons in the bigs, Albert Pujols career worsts are a .314 batting average, 34 homers, and 117 runs batted in. The astonishment I experienced the first time I read the previous statistic doesn’t even compare to that which I endured when I first read this: In the 2000 Sydney Summer Games, each competing athlete was given 51 condoms upon arrival. By the end of the games, another 20,000 boner bags had to be ordered because people were running out. That means, on average, athletes were going through over three love gloves a day. Basically, the Olympics are a huge sex party with some sports thrown in for validity.

L is for Lunatics.

Between the luge, the halfpipe, and downhill skiing, the Winter Olympics boast the craziest events this side of the X-Games. In the downhill event, skiers hurtle down unforgiving icy slopes at speeds exceeding 70 MPH, while participants in the luge navigate what is essentially an ice-coated waterslide with nothing more than a tiny sled keeping them from joining the heap of asses that will be worn raw in other ways during the course of the Olympics. With all respect to lugers and downhill skiers, halfpipe snowboarders have to be the craziest of them all. To put it simply, you don’t become proficient at aerial snowboard stunts without dozens of trips to the ER along the way. For these guys and gals, going bigger and better is all that matters.

Y is for Yesterday’s news.

My only qualm with the Olympics being held abroad is that it leads to every event being broadcast on tape delay. If you log onto internet sports webpages as religiously as I do, you already know the results of the biggest events before they air on primetime. This basically gives the Olympics all the suspense of Paris Hilton’s strip tease in “House of Wax.”

M is for Make way for some Dick Cheney jokes!

As I’m sure you’ve heard, the Vice President shot a guy. For people who write jokes for a living, this is like shooting fish in a barrel. I’ve got Cheney squarely in my joke-writing line of sight and it’d be remiss of me to get gun-shy at a moment like this. Without further ado…

1. Dick Cheney hasn’t sprayed pellets like that since his last bout with kidney stones.
2. Everyone from the first Bush administration would’ve been better off if Cheney had decided to shoot Quayle back then.
3. Dick Cheney hasn’t unleashed a load like that into another man’s face since….okay, that’s probably too much imagery as it is.

Thank you for your patience. I really needed to get that out of my system.

P is for Patriotism.

I’ll be honest. Outside of the Olympics, I pay as much attention to most of these sports as the Oscar committee does to Vin Diesel movies. Despite my ignorance, as soon as that ceremonial torch is lit, I know exactly who I’m rooting for: the Red, White, and Blue. With every passing Olympic iteration, I find myself tuning into the Winter Olympics more and more for two reasons. First, these are sports that I don’t otherwise watch, so it’s a nice change of pace. Second, it’s actually fun to root for the American athletes because we don’t shitstomp everybody like in the Summer Games. In fact, the last and only time the United States won the medal count was 1932 in Lake Placid.

I is for It’s Torino, you pretentious American pricks.

Up until a couple months ago, I knew this year’s host city by a different name: Turin. Well, the powers that be decided to market the site of the 2006 Winter Games as Torino “because it rolls off the tongue better.” Personally, I would’ve chosen to market it as Torino BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT ITALIANS CALL IT. Shouldn’t they get first crack at the naming rights to their own damn city? What gave us the right to stamp around dubbing foreign cities whatever we please? I mean, in countries other than France?

C is for Crooked judges.

After Salt Lake City’s extremely drawn-out pairs’ figure skating controversy resulted in a shared gold medal, the International Olympic Committee has rolled out a much revamped scoring system for this year. As much as I should’ve, I really didn’t mind all the media coverage regarding the scandal, as it gave the ever beautiful Jamie Sale more face and upskirt-spread-eagle time. Some bona fide good did emerge from the whole mess, however. This year’s figure skating competition will feature more rigid scoring guidelines to give the judging more credibility and equally important, aspiring athletes around the world learned that you can always get what you want if you simply bitch and moan for long enough.

S is for So much goddamn figure skating on TV.

If you’ve been tuning in to this year’s installment of the Olympiad, you already know full well that figure skating dominates the television coverage. I think the overwhelming majority of men will agree with me when I say, “I would like to sleep on a bed made of breasts.” Most of these men would also probably prefer to watch any other Olympic sport over figure skating.

Over a week remains in the Torino Winter Olympics. Likewise, many medals have yet to be given out, many dreams have yet to be realized, and many legends have yet to be made. I, for one, am anxious to find out who will end the Olympics more trashed: Bode Miller or the USA hockey team’s hotel rooms?