Breckenridge/Devon O’Neil" Summer Olympics off to dirty start
March 24, 2008
The International Olympic Committee’s president, Jacque Rogge, said last week he knew there would be “discussions” when the IOC awarded the 2008 Summer Olympics to China, arguably the worst nation on the planet when it comes to human rights. But they did it anyway.
Also last week, the Dalai Lama said he might resign if the violence between Tibetans and Chinese becomes “out of control.” (I looked into it; nobody is quite sure if the Lama can even do such a thing, but the lack of a precedent doesn’t mean it’s impossible.)
The Himalayan people of Tibet are angry, of course, for the same reason they’ve always been angry ” because China refuses to allow them the autonomy they desire. The fact that Beijing is hosting the Olympics in August simply gives the Tibetans a greater platform upon which to stand: The world is watching, and they know it.
While that has been going on, Ethiopian marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie announced he would not compete in the Olympic marathon in Beijing due to the horrible air pollution that often fogs the entire city. “I’d love to go for it,” the two-time Olympic 10,000 meters champion was quoted as saying, “but health is my first priority.”
Belgian tennis player Justine Henin, the defending gold medalist, also said she was foregoing a shot at defending her title due to the air pollution. There has even been speculation that distance runners could wear masks to protect them from the dirty air. Can you imagine the photos?
What all of this means is that the games themselves are going to have to be truly special to be remembered for anything but the controversy ” er, I mean discussions ” that is already swirling about like a dark, nasty cloud. …
Random NCAA Tournament musings from Davidson scoring machine Stephen Curry’s newest fan.
Did anyone else have UConn making the Final Four? …
Among all the upsets, only Vanderbilt, a No. 4 seed from the mighty SEC, got blown out of the gymnasium. Making matters worse, Siena, the 13 seed that administered the whoopin’, was ousted in the next round by 12th-seeded Villanova. …
If Western Kentucky beats UCLA or Davidson tops Wisconsin this week to make the Elite Eight, we officially have ourselves a Cinderella. Otherwise, wait till next year. …
Tiger Woods, as most everyone knows, dominates the PGA field like a pitbull dominates a chihuahua. But the most illustrative proof in that regard comes not when he wins by 10 strokes, again, but when he fails to win at all, as he did at Doral this past weekend, the first time in nearly seven months he’d felt the non-winning feeling.
Woods took fifth, two shots back at 15-under par, a result that made bigger headlines than Geoff Ogilvy’s win. Prior to that, Woods had won a remarkable 16 of his previous 26 PGA events. …
Speaking of streaks, the Kenyon College men’s swim and dive team won its 29th consecutive Division 3 national championship on Saturday, nearly doubling runner-up Johns Hopkins’ point total (635-330). On a serious note, how does such a streak not warrant Kenyon’s moving up to a higher level of competition? …
Our Headline of the Week, from Sports Illustrated’s Web site, was an eye-catcher: “Study: HGH may worsen performance.”
Makes you wonder what Roger Clemens thought when he heard the news. …
In a story in the New York Times last week, it was reported that the best seats in the new Yankee Stadium ” set to open in 2009 ” will cost as much as $2,500 per game. This means you could either buy season ski passes for your entire family, or you could watch one game of baseball in the Bronx by yourself. …
In parting, I rode the lift the other day with a 20-something guy who’d just moved to town. He said his friend’s roommate had left abruptly midwinter, thus opening up a spot for him. When I asked why his friend’s roommate moved, the guy said: “She wasn’t into the small-town, lotsa-snow kind of thing.”
You can see why that would be a problem.
” Breckenridge resident Devon O’Neil’s $0.02 column runs on Tuesdays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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