Get on with the show - Shawn Loughlin editorial
Last week, before they left for South Korea, Jess and I had dinner with Jeff and Janice Peters. Clearly, conversation was dominated by talk of the Olympics in PyeongChang and their son Justin’s experience there thus far.
One topic of discussion was that Jeff and Janice would be rising very early the next morning so they could watch the opening ceremonies and see their son walk into the grounds of the world’s greatest athletic competition representing his country. What a thrill it must have been, not only for Justin, but for his parents as well.
However, that’s not what I wanted to highlight. What I wanted to talk about was what happened when Jess and I went home that night. I turned on the TV only to see... the Olympics.
For those of you who are very into the Olympics, this may not be newsworthy for you, but for me, I thought it was a little odd to see competition that preceded the opening ceremonies.
Yes, on Thursday night (our time) there I was, watching some sort of skiing (can you tell that I’m not exactly an Olympics person yet?) and some curling. In fact, there were two full days of competition before the Olympics “opened” including the biathlon, the luge, ski jumping, curling and alpine skiing.
In fact, it looks as though a journalist for Slate has made this exact point just a few days ago. Justin Peters (the Slate journalist and author of The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet, not the aforementioned Blyth native, Canadian goaltender and poutine baron, for those of you who have dined at Blyth Cowbell Brewing Company) wrote an article entitled “The Olympics Opening Ceremony is a Lie” on Feb. 7. He goes on to say, essentially what I’m saying, which is that if there are events before the opening ceremonies, then the opening ceremonies must be a lie.
Imagine if this principle were applied to the tail end of the Olympics. What if we all sat through a lavish, hours-long closing ceremony, during which the “Olympics” were “passed on” to the next host, Beijing, China, only to find out that two days later was the final mixed doubles curling match, or the final four-man bobsled run?
It would be a bit anticlimactic, wouldn’t it? That, too, then has to be true for these poor souls forced to compete in the pre-opening-ceremonies events.
It’s kind of like being someone involved in a blockbuster movie and while Daniel Day-Lewis, Saoirse Ronan and Jennifer Lawrence are shuttled by limousine to the theatre and walk the red carpet, you were forced to arrive six hours earlier. None of the adoring fans were there yet, you had to enter the theatre through some dirty service entrance (after you took a foul-smelling taxi there) and you have to sit around the theatre twiddling your thumbs for six hours while the “real” stars are adored.
However, the Olympic games are now in full swing and while it may not matter to most people that we had a full two days of competition before the competition officially opened, it certainly sticks in my craw.
Perhaps the organizers of this year’s games could apologize to these unfortunate athletes who were forced onto the stage before the curtain went up. Or, maybe they don’t care. They’re Olympic athletes and just happy
to be there, and maybe I’m the only one bothered by this, but I will champion
their cause for them.