Greetings, comrade! And welcome to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia! Thank God that Vladimir Putin has restored Russia to its rightful place as America's enemy and foil. (Russia: We Don't Even Pretend We're A Democracy Anymore!™) Russians are white and live inside a distinct national border and you can make fun of them without anyone getting mad! (Except for Russians, but FUCK THEM!) I can't tell you how freeing it is to be able to point and laugh at another nation's fifth-rate infrastructure and horrific human rights abuses without being tarnished as a hypocritical racist dick. RUSSIANS ARE LOOOOZERS.
The nice thing about these Olympics is that no one is innocent. The officials are corrupt. The host nations are corrupt. The media is hilariously corrupt, and already you can sense their narrative shaping up. This week: The Games are going to shit and I have no hot water! Next week: Hey, they're actually doing okay with these Games! The week after: Meh, let's look ahead to the next host city's issues! And then they will leave Sochi, softly complicit (as I would be) in helping to cover up precisely what Putin would like to cover up. After all, a busted toilet and a goofy picture of Putin with a baby leopard make for fine distractions from what's really going on in Russia. Sochi, so usefully isolated, allows Putin to show the world whatever kind of Russia he likes. Bet the under now for how many dashcam shots NBC shows of a baby being discarded into a tire fire outside of town.
As for the athletes... Well, they always get a free pass, don't they? Olympic athletes are always viewed as the helpless pawns in some larger-scale corrupt plot. They're just magical fairy people here to "represent their countries," which is a gigantic ball of shit. America's morale does not hinge on whether or not some guy can do a daffy off of an aerial ramp. Our athletes are in Sochi because they have trained since birth to win a gold medal, and no amount of government waste or displaced citizens will get in the way of them standing on that podium. Putin could beat a gay man to death on national television at the opening ceremonies and every athlete would stick around. There are a record 88 countries showing up to Sochi (including the frigid wastelands of the Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Isle of Tonga, and Zimbabwe), and all of them are here because they WANT something.
As for me, the viewer, I am complicit in this boondoggle as well. I will watch these Games despite all of the inherent evil involved because... well because football is gone now and I have nothing else to do. So let's go ahead now and say terrible, horrible, repugnant things about every sport on display for the next 16 days. I can get away with it because I'm outside of Russia and safely here in the USA, so NO ONE could possibly hurt me for speaking my mind!
/NSA hoverdrone sees me typing
/Men in black SWAT suits come and haul me off to undisclosed mountain dungeon
Let's get hatin'!
Ice Dancing. Why does this sport exist? It's just pairs figure skating without the tricks. They don't have air boxing as a Summer Olympics event now, do they? Either risk life and limb to pull off a triple axel or get the fuck off the rink. Unless you're hot. If you're hot, just be sure to twirl around a lot. The French judge will award you 0.3 extra for upskirt shots.
Downhill Skiing. Downhill is one of the better Winter Olympic events because people die and because it's the grownup equivalent of pushing a toddler down a mountain with absolutely no instruction. You can see these people's femurs just barely hanging on for dear life, quivering to the precipice of snapping, and you wonder, Hey, is that femur gonna snap? Cause it looks like it's gonna snap! And half the time, it does. This event never lets you down. Also, I like to imagine the skiers all run this course, then retire to the chalet to feast on raclette and fuck on bearskin rugs. I want real life to be exactly like Hot Dog: The Movie.
Slalom. Too shifty.
Super G. Not shifty enough.
Giant slalom. Just the right amount of shifty. These events are all mislabeled due to slalom inflation. Super G should be called Giant Slalom. Giant Slalom should be called Slalom. And Slalom should be called Midget Slalom.
Snowboarding. I will never take your sport seriously so long as the announcers sound like a Ninja Turtle. Whoaaaa Shaun White just pulled off a 720 McTwisty Air Butter Crippler. THAT WAS EPICCCCCCC! (eats pizza)
Dog Murdering. Still a trial sport. Let's hope they make it an official medal sport at Pyeongchang in 2018.
Luge. Ah, luge. The Olympic sport for anyone who wants to be an Olympian. You can explain the technical challenges and physical strain of luging all you like, lugers. But you will never shake my belief that any white kid with lots of money and parents willing to relocate to Lake Placid can swindle his way into an amateur sledding competition. By the way, luge has a relay competition, but the "relay" is a con. Once a luger reaches the bottom of the track, their teammate starts a new run. A true luge relay would feature one sledder in the middle of the track, with the first sledder zooming run and ripping their arm off to hand a baton over.
I wonder why there aren't more recreational luge courses around the US. Like where you can pay $3 and take a luge run of your own. Probably because you'd die. Still... WORLD'S EASIEST SPORT.
Skeleton. This is just luge with a greater risk of traumatic head injury. Verdict: Impoved. Why no "on your back" skeleton event? Or why not stand on the sled? My kid tries that to hilarious effect.
Bobsled. Also known as the sport for moonlighting pro athletes. Hey guys, Lolo Jones and Herschel Walker are bored senseless. Can they just, like, help push the sled and experience the thrill of coming in eighth place?
We suck at bobsled. We always end up losing to the Germans or to the Swiss, and the Swiss are the boringest race of people ever devised by mankind. You'll go to Switzerland and you'll say to yourself, "Boy, this is a pretty country. Why am I so fucking bored?" It's because Switzerland sucks. It's Europe's upscale rest stop. Anything potentially interesting in Switzerland is immediately seized and stored underground in a secret Nazi bank vault.
Hockey. The rink is bigger. The play is more fluid. Fans are crazier. And because of the tight schedule, the games are more meaningful and the title contest is less prone to being a tiresome battle of attrition. GOOD THING PRO HOCKEY IS NOTHING LIKE THAT! I'd hate to actually have to want to watch it!
By the way, I want to watch more Olympic hockey than I do. But I'm the sort of guy who watches five minutes of a game and then says to a friend the next day, "Hey! Did you catch some of the hockey?!" I am the worst.
Curling. Why don't they call it by its real name? ICE BOCCE. I feel like Putin should hire some of those frantic ice shavers to help clean the roads.
Cross Country Skiing. The worst. The absolute fucking worst Winter Olympics event there is. If any sport deserved wrestling's cruel fate (i.e., a traditional sport that got bounced from the Games strictly as punishment for not being compelling enough on TV), it's cross country skiing. We never win this event. We never even come close. The gold medal always goes to Bjorn Flugenblugen of Oslo, who treks 20 miles through a Norwegian forest every day just to get to the pickle store. I don't know why we're giving these GLORY VIKINGS a world stage for skiing on flat land just so they can go home to endorse their country's favorite brand of tiny, adorable pumpernickel bread.
Even when they add a GUN to this event, it's boring. You don't see any medal event for cross country sled paddling, do you? All sports should take place downhill: skiing, luging, skating, boxing. Everything is improved when done at speeds of up to 90mph. I demand more downhill skating.
Speed Skating. See? You're on flat land. And you're wearing an androgynous unitard that makes you look like a citizen of some post-utopian society where gender identity has been eradicated and everyone is addicted to soma. Will one brave young TEEN remove her cowl and dare to express her individuality before the leaders of the The Violet Council (society has also been segregated into color schemes)?!
Short Track Speed Skating. Now this is more like it. I like a more PHYSICAL, hard-nosed brand of speed skating. To think that normal speed skaters just have to compete against air! PUSSIES. I'm down with any sport where people can fall and pull a Clint Malarchuk at any given moment. Bonus points for helping to escalate tensions between the United States and a host of competing Asian countries, even though there are 50 events and pretty much every nation gets a medal! If we end up bombing one of the Koreas sometime this month, this sport will be why.
Freestyle Skiing. It's a testament to my lack of gratitude that I can watch a skier zoom down a hill, fly off an insanely steep jump, flip and spin dozens of times in mid-air, land on his feet, and then yawn and change the channel. HE JUST DID GYMNASTICS 50 FEET ABOVE GROUND WITH SKIS ATTACHED TO HIS BODY. And yet... Boy, I hope the NFL Draft comes soon!
Ski Jumping. All you ski jumpers should know that I'm only watching you in the morbid hope of seeing this happen:
It's a letdown when you land safely, to be honest. At least the freestyle skiers have the courtesy of flipping around while airborne. Maybe you should be forced to play a guitar solo after takeoff or something.
Figure Skating. The big one. Every sport here is just the undercard to our little darlings spinning and twirling and seizing the gold from a technically superior Russian skater who gets points deducted for "cold fishiness." Kids love it. Women love it. And men like it in ways that are not at all creepy! It's a family affair.
So good luck to the athletes competing in Russia the next two weeks, and good luck to you, the viewer at home. Get ALL your xenophobia and nationalistic pride out, and together we can make the world a worse place.
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin and Gawker. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also buy Drew's book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.
Image by Jim Cooke, source photo via Shutterstock