Joffe: It Was an Insane Olympics, and I Have the Odds to Prove It
Jan 20, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Johnny Weir during the men’s short program in the U.S. Figure Skating Championship at Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
As we bask in the glow of the 2018 Winter Olympics, it’s fair to say the past two weeks have featured some bats— crazy moments. Let’s run through them one-by-one, as only gamblers can, by retroactively assigning odds to some of the Games’ most insane results.
Odds an athlete performs in a manner comparable to a 5-year-old: +900000
You’d think that in the OLYMPICS, the best in the world perform in every event, right? Wrong. Check out Elizabeth Swaney’s dazzling performance below. The American managed to boondoggle her way into representing her mother’s native country, Hungary, in the Ski Halfpipe competition, and she did not make the most of her moment.
While I was watching her, I honestly thought it was a prank. Somehow she managed to finish 22 out of 24 in one of her qualifying runs. I didn’t see the two who finished behind her, but I’m guessing they wiped out in the first five seconds. There is no way Elizabeth’s leisurely stroll down the mountain earned her any points except for the fact she finished (kind of like how you get a certain amount of points on your SATs for writing your name). The one piece for good news? She does give me hope that I still may have a chance to compete in the Winter Olympics. I was born in South Africa, and even though I only spent four months of my life there, there was only one South African competing in these games, so CLEARLY I have a shot. My favorite part of this video is the commentator, who was beyond confused at what was happening.
Odds an Olympic Athlete from Russia gets busted for PEDs: -250
Odds the Olympic Athlete busted for PEDs is a curler: +10000
The mere fact that the Russian competitors are not even allowed to compete as “Russians” because of the whole doping situation should have been the first clue that a Russian curler would be busted for PEDs. Nevertheless, having watched the fantastic documentary “Icarus” recently, I’m basically an expert in PEDs, and I must tell you curling is the one event that I can’t see PEDs giving a competitor a performance edge. Russian Alexander Krushelnitsky thought differently. He was willing to take the risk. Unsurprisingly, he was caught. He and his curling partner (also his wife) won a bronze medal, which they will be giving back. I’m guessing Krushelnitsky will claim he was sabotaged. Yeah, OK, so was I that time when I was “caught” drunk off my ass at 16 years old by my dad at 4 a.m. “It was ONE beer! Wait, who are you again?”
Odds Johnny Weir wears something idiotic in his hair: -12000
I love ice skating, and as much as I appreciate Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir’s talents on the ice, their commentary has made the ice skating events borderline unlistenable. Weir’s entertainment value comes from his crazy outfits and hairdos. I mean, take a look at the picture below. The man apparently wore a nest with birds on his head ON NATIONAL TELEVISION. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Odds of a wardrobe malfunction: -110
Odds of two wardrobe malfunctions in the same event: +450
Ice Dancing can be absolutely beautiful. It can also be borderline R-rated, as we found out. First, South Korean ice dancer Yura Min had the clasp in her costume unhook midroutine and somehow managed to keep skating after she adjusted her arms so that the top didn’t fall down. I think she should have received extra points for saving herself. Then came French skater Gabriella Papadakis, who, midway through her routine, saw her halter top come undone and expose her bare breast. Her embarrassment notwithstanding, she powered through with her partner and ended up winning a silver medal. Perhaps this should be a lesson to all you future skaters out there. Just kidding … unless your goal is to skate for Nudes on Ice.
Odds an athlete suffers a devastating injury: -110
Odds an athlete suffers a broken neck and still finishes his/her event: +5000
I’d never bet on someone to get hurt, but injuries are a reality at the Winter Games. I mean, nothing says “uninsurable” quite like sliding down an ice chute headfirst at 70 mph. But usually when we see a serious injury such as a broken neck, everything stands still for a bit before medical attention arrives. Not so for Austrian snowboarder Markus Schairer, who continued snowboarding and finished his race during the Snowboard Cross quarterfinals after he broke his neck midrun.
I’m not sure if that’s impressive or downright crazy. I mean, I stub my toe and I’m out of commission for at least an hour.
Top photo: Johnny Weir; credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports