The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics came to a close last week and all of the memories I'll hang on to were very... strange. From the garlic girls to doping scandals, North Korea to shirtless Tonga guy, the range of oddities these Olympic games brought to our handheld devices were fairly entertaining, but lacking something to say the least.
I would like to start by congratulating San Diego native Shaun White on his many historical accomplishments and storied Olympic achievements. He continues to dominate big air events, even as the competition gets younger and more energetic by the day. Nobody matches his takeoff, few dare take the risks he does, even fewer land them smoothly, but all of us leave impressed. Shaun may have wow'd us for the last time on snow, grabbing his third Winter Olympic gold medal in the halfpipe, but we may see him skating on wood a few years from now in Tokyo..
As Japan prepares for the 2020 Summer Olympics and South Korea wraps up their hosting duties, their geopolitical rival The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) somehow found a way to inject themselves into the Olympic headlines as if they had anything to do at all with the planning, organizing, or funding of the games. Their government sent propaganda agents to the Olympic village, where they coordinated cheering sections that mainstream news networks seemed to enjoy displaying. The antics of Kim Yo-jong, the sister of current state leader Kim Jong-un and literally the Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department, stole the media spotlight from other diplomats during the opening ceremonies. I personally have a problem with journalists publicly displaying adoration for a minister of propaganda, especially one in a hostile and militarily aggressive state. But I guess she is kind of hot and sassy or whatevs..
Another one of our national political enemies made headlines, again. After a year of doping allegations, scandals, suspensions and fines, multiple Russian athletes still tested positive for illegal substances during the games. This time it was not the usual abusers or the likely suspects, as curler Aleksandr Krushelnitckii and bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva tested positive for banned substances. You read that correctly. Now even sporting events like curling and bobsledding are riddled with performance enhancing drugs and athletes actively breaking the rules for competitive advantages. The Russian government and Vladimir Putin himself still deny any state involvement with the doping schemes, but as the nation's athletes continue to test positive for banned performance enhancing drugs people will undoubtedly assume there are conspiracies afoot.
There was love in the air, at least in my mind, near the end of the games when the "Garlic Girls" made an emotional run at gold in Women's Curling. Yes, I actually watched Women's Curling and yes, I fell in love with "Sunny," "Pancake," "Yogurt," "Steak," and "Chocho" who are the South Korean members of the national team known as the "Garlic Girls." Two of the curlers are sisters, all five have the last name "Kim," and these lovely ladies are literally sparking a curling craze in Eastern Asia as I type, their popularity with milennials now nearing K-Pop artists. The "skipper" or captain of the team 27-year old Kim Eun-jung led the team to a second place finish, while also stealing my heart in the process. The Garlic Girls are second-place superstars, for some reason, and I'm in love with a curler on the other side of the planet.. What just happened?
Tonga shirtless guy was pretty cool too. I respect his dedication to the culture of his homeland, and I also think he's pretty genius for doing something wacky during the ceremonies to get noticed. We should all know by now that Olympic athletes, even medal winners, don't get big paydays for a life of extremely hard work and dedication to their respective sports. I personally admire those who go above and beyond to get a piece of the spotlight and potentially land some sponsorships to help put food on the table going forward. I mean heck, I don't know his name or care to even look it up for this blog, but I now know that Tonga is a real nation that exists somewhere. I now know what that guy looks like, that he has big Tongan balls, and that I would enjoy him being shirtless in a funny commercial. He has somehow found a place in my heart as a favorite person I don't really care at all about personally. Here's to you shirtless Tonga guy, hope you cash in on that big brown sack of yours..
As for the rest of the games, I truly didn't care for any of it as didn't the rest of the internet. We were all waiting for some big thing to happen, whether that be some act of political theatre, an embarassing failure of equipment or location errors, or just generally something truly random and hilarious.. I and many other unimportant online opinionists agree that this year's Olympics were generally boring and uneventful overall. I feel as if all us losers on the internet wanted there to be truly wacky happenings or eventful finishes to meaningful contests that could spark a revolution of funny memes or useful gifs, but I feel as if we were all let down. We might have expected too much, and should probably lower our expectations when the World Cup takes place this summer in Russia.. In the meantime, shame on you 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, for being mostly confusing and only slightly entertaining. Do better next time.