“Curling is not a sport. I called my grandmother and told her she could win a gold medal because they have dusting in the Olympics.” – Charles Barkley

As he entered just now, the Idler executed a stunning triple lutz followed by a flawless double toe loop. True, you’re not supposed to land on your face, but at least my eye doesn’t look as bad as Bob Costas’s. Some day I hope to try those moves on the ice. While sober. After the swelling has gone down.

Meanwhile, what’s the deal with the awards ceremonies? Extremely old people have told me of a time, back when the games were first televised, when the awards ceremonies featured the playing of the national anthems of all three medal athletes. A Frenchman named Jean Claude Killy was winning a lot of the skiing events back then, so everybody got a healthy dose of the Marseillaise. The Germans won a lot of medals too, so Deutschland über alles was everywhere. This didn’t bother Pitt grads since the melody is used in the University of Pittsburgh alma mater. Seriously. Plus it was composed by Haydn, so it has a pretty good musical pedigree. Somewhere along the line they stopped playing the Silver and Bronze medal winners’ anthems and now they only render the gold medal one. Of course, some of those anthems were really terrible and excruciating to sit through. After careful study, the Idler has concluded that one of the reasons for the poor performance of certain countries is their clunky national anthems.

Take Georgia. They only decided on an anthem in 2004 after their Rose revolution. It’s okay as anthems go, but why not give “Georgia on my Mind” a try? It’s a lot catchier and easier to dance to, and would have the distinction of being the first national anthem composed by Hoagy Carmichael. Then there’s Latvia, which has a lot of snow and ice, but hasn’t joined the big leagues of Winter Olympics fame. I feel that if they went with something jazzy, like “Latvia Lady Tonight” it would give them the added enthusiasm they need to reach the top. Or, if they wanted to take a swipe at Belarus, their neighbor to the East, they could go with, “Tie A Belarusian Round the Old Oak Tree”. Moldova, too, could take a big step forward with a rockin’ anthem like this one that references some famous composers, “Moldova, Beethoven, (and Tell Tchaikovsky the News)” Bhutan is a small country, but it’s, like, right next door to Mt. Everest. So what’s keeping it out of the Downhill medal round? A compelling anthem would do the trick, like “Bhutan Your High-heeled Sneakers”.

Olympics Day 2 - Archery

Other countries don’t even enter a team in the Winter games, using the flimsy excuse that they sport a tropical climate and have no ice or snow to practice on. You don’t hear the Jamaican bobsled team complaining about balmy temperatures, do you? An awesome anthem like “Please Belize Me (Oh, Yeah)” might be all it takes to vault a Central American country into the international limelight. Likewise, a stirring rendition of “Myanmar Shadow” could inspire the former Burma to compete for athletic distinction. The Idler has a number of other helpful musical ideas, but from a diplomatic and cultural point of view it might be too soon to propose such sure-fire winners as “Shake Djibouti” and “Bahrain on My Parade,” so we’ll keep them for a later date.

As for curling, the Idler has learned that all the curling stones are made in Scotland. The land that gave us the infuriating game of golf is also responsible for the perplexing sport of curling? How can Scotland ever atone for such grievous transgressions? Oh yeah, single malts. Carry on, lads.

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