Sir Monkeypants and I agree that the men’s 100 metre dash is the premiere event of the Summer Olympics. It’s appointment television, and if you miss it, you’ll be completely out of the water cooler loop the next day. The winner is made famous by the race and earns respect and endorsement deals that the fencing champion and archery competitors can only dream of.
Do you think the Winter Olympics have a parallel event?
In Canada, I think the hockey gold medal is considered the most important thing — heaven knows there is plenty of hockey coverage on my TV every night. But I don’t think that it produces a star player, necessarily. And I’m not sure the rest of the world cares as much, but I could be doing a wee bit of projecting there.
I don’t suppose it’s the curling gold medal that is the most coveted. Although I did see Jenny Jones in a commercial for Scotties tissues during the Tournament of Hearts this year. Now she can quit her day job!
I think the top contenders to the throne are the downhill skiing event (the pure downhill, not the super-G or the slaalom, although all three events seem the same to me and have the exact same competitors, so I don’t get it), or possibly the long-track speed skating.
I keep hearing Shani Davis’ name being thrown around, even on Canadian TV coverage (he’s American), so I guess he’s cashing in as the biggest name-brand athlete to come out of these games. I always think of the long-track skating as more akin to the swimming in the summer games, though — I guess it’s because of the dedicated location and the athletes competing at many different lengths. So in my mind, Shani is more the Michael Phelps of the games, rather than the Usain Bolt.
Aside: it’s so weird for us to hear Shani Davis being said every thirty seconds on our TV, as “shani” is one of our nicknames for Gal Smiley, spelled exactly that way. It’s just odd.
Anyway. What do you think? What’s the big, must-see, famous-making event for the Winter Games?