Since 1979, Pro Wrestling Illustrated has given its readers the opportunity to acknowledge the best and worst moments of the year in the form of unofficial awards. In that spirit, I’d like to present my own unofficial awards for the recently concluded 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Best Simulation Of An Erection
Those phallic looking totem poles slowly and hilariously stiffening into place at the opening ceremonies.
Best Extreme Representation Of “Blue Balls”
Those cool looking “zorbs” during the Sochi, Russia portion of the closing ceremonies.
Best Tribute To A John Carpenter Film
That mysterious, eerie fog that drifted in and out of numerous skiing, aerial and snowboarding events.
Best Reason To Watch Any Skiing Event
The breathtaking scenery, when you could see it.
Second Best Reason To Watch Any Skiing Event
The wipeouts. And there were many, some more brutal than others.
Best Reaction Shot During The Opening Ceremonies
A wide-eyed Patrick Chan, the 19-year-old Canadian figure skater, captured in a close-up by CTV.
Best Reaction Shot During The Closing Ceremonies
That cute, smiling baby with the “L’il Canuck” T-shirt, also caught by CTV.
Most Deserving Of A Warm Embrace (tie)
Lovely Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette who tragically lost her mom to a sudden, unexpected heart attack just days before her triumphant short program in the ladies’ competition which ended in unbridled emotion. And The Goddess Of Skeleton, the heartbreakingly teary-eyed 2006 Bronze Medallist Mellisa Hollingsworth, who openly felt she let not only herself down but her entire country as well after her disappointing fourth run at the Whistler sliding centre. She didn’t, thanks to her respectable fifth place finish and remarkable passion for her sport. Here’s hoping she doesn’t take any future failures quite so personally even though her honesty is much appreciated. Life is short. You don’t always win. Thankfully, there’s always another race.
Best Collective Cheerleader Award
Practically every single audience that attended every single event despite some awful weather conditions. With a mixture of Canadians, Americans and fans from around the world, every athlete who had the courage to show up and compete, regardless of their talent and degree of success, were warmly embraced as if they all hailed from Vancouver. True, the Canadians were cheered loudest of all but no one was booed, especially during crashes and wipeouts. Not only that, cowbells were banged and horns were blown into in honour of anyone willing to put themselves in harm’s way for permanent glory. Cool.
Best Individual Cheerleader Award (3-way tie)
“Baby Huey”, A.K.A. Pete Lavin, was that loud, intense voice you heard encouraging American skiers like Bode Miller and Michael Sullivan just before their various runs on the slopes. Sample pump-up dialogue: “Come on, Michael Sullivan! Let’s go! Right now! Come on!” Frederic Bilodeau, the older brother of moguls Gold medallist Alexandre Bilodeau, whose unmistakable presence at Cypress Hill (despite a lifetime of suffering from Cerebral Palsy he stood for the entire competition with a beaming smile on his face and his arm often in the air) proved to be a endless source of inspiration for Canada’s first Olympic champion on home soil. And blonde short track speed skater Marianne St.-Gelais, the cutie pie double Silver medallist who cried when boyfriend (and teammate) Charles Hamelin lost a chance at a medal in the 1000 metre final and jumped up and down screaming in joy during his Gold-medal victories in the 5000 metre relay and the 500 metre sprint, as well as during at least one semi-final. Next to The Bilodeaus, their embrace at the end of the latter (nice butt pat, dude) was one of the most moving moments of the entire Olympics. Does she have a twin?
Worst Individual Cheerleader Award
Curling broadcaster Vic Rauter who appeared to be openly rooting at times for Canada’s curling teams during key shots.
Best Peter Griffin Impersonation
Cross country skiing commentator RJ Broadhead.
Least Welcome Homage To Abbey Road
Jamie Campbell’s mercifully brief impromptu rendition of The Beatles’ Here Comes The Sun in reference to the improved weather conditions at Cypress Hill.
Most Annoying Commentator Habit
The corny usage of “darn” and “heck” in place of “damn” and “hell”.
Best “How Tough Is This Sport?” Segment
The hilariously inept Calgary Flames who earnestly attempted to play curling for the first time with Cheryl Bernard and the rest of the good natured women’s team (who won Silver). Jim Peplinski’s decision to wear his original hockey helmet for the bit was genius. Runner-up: figure skating Gold medallists Jamie Sale and David Pelletier humourously giving long track speed skating a go.
Most Gracious Tribute To A Fellow Broadcaster (tie)
Brian Williams remembering Jamie Campbell telling him years ago during his Sportsweekend days that he wanted to be a broadcaster after praising Campbell’s call of the historic Alexandre Bilodeau race. And TSN’s Darren Dutchyshen who rightly singled out SportsCentre colleague Rod Smith (“Smitty”) for his great work covering long track speed skating.
Maybe They Have A Future In Porn
German ski jumper Andreas Wank, Australian skeleton racer Melissa Hoar, Russian cross country skier Anna Bogaliy-Titovets and Belarussian freestyle skier Assoli Slivets.
Most Charming Tribute To A Family Member
Right there on the top of one of Russian ski jumper Ilya Rosliakov’s skies is a picture of his baby son which he proudly showed to the camera after every jump.
Best Spontaneous Canadian Gesture
Whoever handed that pitcher of beer to Skeleton Gold medallist Jon Montgomery who was more than willing to guzzle some of it while en route to do some interviews.
Long Track speed skating legend Dan Jansen who expressed his support for Canadian Jeremy Witherspoon in an interview with CTV and later sent a private email to figure skater Joannie Rochette to encourage her to keep going after the sudden death of her mother.
Best James Brown Impression
Sexy skeleton slider Michelle Kelly pumping herself up by throwing her jacket to the ground before every run. Awesome and very funny.
Biggest Screw-Up (tie)
The Netherlands long track speed skating coach who mistakenly directed Sven Kramer to the wrong lane during the 17th lap of the 25-lap 10000 metre race which would’ve been a record-breaking Gold Medal performance for the Dutch legend. Instead, because of the miscue, Kramer was disqualified. The coach didn’t get canned and Kramer, remarkably, forgave him very quickly. (I’m not sure I would.) And that moment during the opening ceremonies when one of the hydralic beams wouldn’t budge during the first torch lighting, leaving Catriona Le May Doan with nothing to do.
Best Way To Fix One Of Those Big Screw-Ups
During the start of the closing ceremonies, with an assist from an anxious mime, that stubborn hydralic beam finally moved into position and Le May Doan got to light it with her torch.
Best Impression Of A Coldplay Song
That awesome piano melody that was played relentlessly in and out of commercial breaks. Impossible to get out of your head.
He’ll Never Have To Pay For A Beer Again
Sidney Crosby after his dramatic overtime goal in the Gold medal game against America.
If Captain Stubing Were A Canadian And About 40 Years Younger…
He’d be Gold Medallist Kevin Martin, the skip of the men’s curling team.
Best Nick Lachey Look-a-like
Gold Medallist John Morris, also a member of Canada’s curling squad.
Best Fan Club Name
Mo’s Bros, in honour of Morris.
Most Memorable Fan
That mysterious guy in the hockey helmet (you know, the one with the red light on top) with the sign who always managed to get on camera after many Canadian hockey goals.
Most Unintentionally Cheeky Uniform
Japan’s golden long track speed skating outfits with those crotch triangles that at first looked like see-through underwear.
Most Unintentionally Entertaining Olympic Officials
The speed track guys at the long track and short track events. You know, the dudes who say “Go to the start” and “Ready”? The short track official, in particular, amused commentator Rod Black so much he couldn’t resist offering an impression of him from time to time. (He would’ve enjoyed the long track guys, too.)
Least Likely Moment To Hear A Metallica Song
How about during an ice dancing routine featuring two skaters from Estonia? They skated to Nothing Else Matters.
Biggest Disappointment For Canada
The lack of medals from our downhill, alpine, slalom and cross country skiers (despite the tremendous male breakthroughs in that last discipline). So much for home country advantage.
Most Heartbreaking Canadian Loss
Without a doubt, the womens’ curling final. Canada’s lovely and supremely talented skip Cheryl Bernard had two glorious opportunities to wrap up the Gold medal late in the match and missed them both. One of her teammates had tears in her eyes after the medal ceremony as they all walked across the ice. The whole country felt her pain. Still, for a team not expected to hit the podium at all, Silver was a great accomplishment for this great team. I would love to see them return in 2014.
Don’t Feel Bad For His Misfortune
Canadian Christopher Delbosco had an unfortunate fall that cost him the Bronze medal in the mens’ ski cross final. However, his girlfriend is the womens’ ski cross Gold medalist, fellow Canadian Ashleigh McIvor, one of the hottest women at this year’s Olympics. I’m guessing his disappointment didn’t last very long.
Most Inspirational Performance
Hands down, Joannie Rochette’s two skates in the womens’ figure skating competition. Despite the sudden death of her mother, she managed to snag the Bronze medal. How incredibly sad that her mom never got to experience her daughter’s greatest Olympic achievement. She would’ve been very proud.
Didn’t He Sing This On Conan O’Brien’s Final Tonight Show?
Neil Young doing yet another live rendition of Long May You Run. I didn’t mind hearing it again.
Most Surprising Use Of A Teleprompter
The incredibly sultry Alanis Morissette who, for some inexplicable reason, needed electronic assistance during her lip-synced performance of Wunderkind, one of her own songs.
The Hockey Equivalent Of An Old-School Pro Wrestling Squash Match
The 18-0 thrashing the Canadian women gave Japan in their opening game which set a new record for most goals scored by a single team in a single game in the Olympics.
Do They Know He Believes They’re Part Of A “Left Wing Fringe Group”?
The Canadian female curlers and Silver moguls medallist Jennifer Heil who all sat next to Prime Minister Steven Harper at two different events.
Most Overexposed Celebrity Audience Member
The ubiquitous Harper who was seen watching curling, long track speed skating (did we really need to see him lamely high five people after Canada won the mens’ Team Sprint Gold medal?), short track speed skating and hockey. Is this why he prorogued Parliament?
Does He Really Need The Free Air Time?
NDP Leader Jack Layton was front and centre whenever CTV switched to Wayne Gretzky’s Restaurant in Toronto.
Broadcaster Who Definitely Needs To Switch To Decaf
The overexcited Michael Landsberg.
Most Touching Gesture
Naming Bronze medallist Joannie Rochette the flag bearer for Canada at the closing ceremonies.
Most Moving Canadian Athlete Backstory (tie)
The aforementioned Bilodeau brothers, and the ice dancing Gold Medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir whose revealing skating and personal history goes back more than a decade.
Country With The Sexiest Female Athletes
Canada. Mellisa Hollingsworth, Michelle Kelly, Amy Gough, Cheryl Bernard, Maelle Ricker, Ashleigh McIvor, Jennifer Heil, Christina Groves, Christine Nesbitt, Joannie Rochette, Tessa Virtue, Meghan Agosta, Gillian Apps, Veronika Bauer, Tessa Bonhomme, Jennifer Botterill, Chandra Crawford, Rosanna Crawford, Caroline Calve, Anastasia Bucsis, Vanessa Crone, Jessica Dube, Shelley-Ann Brown, Haley Irwin, Jessica Gregg, Jayna Hefford, Anna Goodman, Alex Gough, Marie-Michele Gagnon, Kaillie Humphries, Megan Imrie, Becky Kellar, Rebecca Johnston, Gina Kingsbury, Zina Kocher, Charline Labonte, Annabelle Langlois, Regan Lauscher, Alexa Loo, Valerie Maltais, Dominique Maltais, Meaghan Mikkelson, Kristie Moore, Heather Moyse, Julia Murray, Mercedes Nicoll, Susan O’Connor, Caroline Ouellette, Tamara Oudenaarden, Cherie Piper, Cynthia Phaneuf, Shannon Rempel, Marie-Philip Poulin, Sara Renner, Kristi Richards, Kalyna Roberge, Brittany Schussler, Kelsey Serwa, Meaghan Simister, Marianne St.-Gelais, Helen Upperton, Shannon Szabados, Megan Tandy, Catherine Ward, Tania Vicent and Kimiko Zakreski, just to name a few. Case closed.
Best Non-Athletic Reason To Watch Curling
All those beautiful female participants from America, Great Britain, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
Maybe They Play Golf In Their Spare Time
Norway’s male curling team and their now infamous checkered pants.
Their Olympic Legend Grows
Clara Hughes won a Bronze medal in the womens’ 5000 metre long track speed skating event, her sixth overall trip to the podium. And Apolo Anton Ohno who became the most decorated American short track speed skater with eight overall medals.
Redemption Is Sweet
Eight years after losing the Gold medal match in mens’ curling, Kevin Martin and the national Canadian team had a very different result in their match with Norway. After losing all his individual races, Canadian long track speed skater Denny Morrison was part of the trio that won the Gold medal in the Team Pursuit event. After early disappointments in his individual short track speed skating events, Canadian Charles Hamelin finished his Olympics with two Gold medal triumphs. After a disappointing 2006, American skier Bode Miller won Gold, Silver and Bronze in Vancouver. Four years after barely missing the podium, Canadian bobsledders Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown steadily worked their way to a Silver medal after four solid runs at the Whistler sliding centre.
Heads: She Wins A Medal, Tails: Call The Doctor
The wildly uneven American skier Lindsey Vonn won a medal every time she stayed on course (two in total) and wiped out during all her other events. One such crash during a slalom event led to an injured pinkie.
So Close Yet Oh So Far
Devon Kershaw was less than two seconds from a Gold Medal and less than one for Bronze in the mens’ 50 Kilometre cross country Mass Start. (He finished 5th, Canada’s best ever result in the event.) Two-time 2010 medallist Kristina Groves was 8 tenths of a second away from a third medal in one of her long track speed skating events. Canada 1, the four-man bobsledding team, were one hundredth of a second away from winning a Silver medal. They won the Bronze instead.
Funniest Moment During John Furlong’s Speech At The Closing Ceremonies
The head of VANOC’s casually confident quip to the world’s Olympians about Canada’s achievements: “Now you know us, eh?”
Best Performance By A Canadian Funnyman During The Closing Ceremonies
William Shatner’s side-splitting presentation.
Their Chemistry Is So Good, You’re Surprised They’re Just Friends
Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
Nikolai Volkoff Would Be Proud
The brilliant rendition of the Russian national anthem, the one the former wrestler sang before many of his matches, during the closing ceremonies.
Most Disturbing Footage
The practice run that ended the life of 21-year-old Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili which aired on CTV News right after the opening ceremonies.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, March 1, 2010