I’m a Winter Olympics junkie, but several things connected with things happening in PyeongChang have me scratching my head.

Reminiscent of “the artist formerly known as Prince,” the Russian competitors are being referred to as Olympic Athletes from Russia. This is the International Olympic Committee’s way of allowing Russian athletes a chance to compete despite the misdeeds of their fellow countrymen and widespread cheating through a government doping program.

They can’t be referred to as the Russian team, they aren’t allowed to wear their country’s colors, they can’t carry the Russian flag or play the national anthem and medals won won’t go toward the Russian medal count total in history books. But, evidently they can still use banned substances.

Even with the vetting process, an Olympic curler from Russia tested positive in a preliminary test for a banned substance over the weekend. Seriously, though, curling?

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching grown men and women slide around on ice while using a Swiffer to clear the way. But I question why a curling athlete would even need a performance-enhancing drug.

Over the weekend, I was impressed with a seemingly profound statement by Cammi Granato regarding the United States women’s hockey team. A former Olympian — she’s a 1998 gold medal and 2002 silver medal winner in hockey — she’s qualified to give an insider’s view. I said seemingly, however, because when a Folgers commercial came on, I realized she pretty much stole the statement from the coffee company.

However, that’s not the biggest theft that has occurred during the 2018 Olympics — that honor (or dishonor) goes to Elizabeth Swaney, a U.S. citizen who represented Hungary in the women’s freeski halfpipe.

It seems she manipulated her way into the Olympics by grabbing onto her grandparent’s Hungarian heritage and then traveling around the world to compete in low-attended competitions. She “earned” an Olympic berth by placing in the top 30 of the required number of competitions, which wasn’t hard since some contests didn’t even draw 15 athletes.

She did all this without so much as performing what competitors consider tricks. The key was to stay upright and finish.

I’m not even bragging when I say I could do better than her. However, I know I don’t possess the skills of an Olympic athlete — that’s why I’m at home watching from my daybed rather than strapping skis on and pretending to be an elite athlete.

My favorite part of the Olympics is short track speed skating. And its relay event — they call it organized chaos — is the bomb. My co-workers seem to think that statement resembles the condition of my desk area.

The thing with short track is I have to wait four years to see it. Unlike many other Olympic events, short track competitions held throughout the year aren’t televised.

When my head felt like it would explode last Tuesday, I decided to stay home. When I discovered that short track was being televised, it made the decision that much easier. I feel a relapse coming on this Thursday.


Tammy Malgesini is the community editor. Her column, Inside my Shoes, includes general musings about life. Contact her at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539.

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