The Sochi Low-Down, Part I

Olympic_Rings_SochiTodd Copilevitz of Now Wait a Minute… has asked me to be a guest blogger for his coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics. I will be posting my Olympics updates here as well. Todd is a digital marketing guru who posts in-depth analyses of stories and issues that have been missed, or intentionally ignored, by NBC Sports and the mainstream media.

I, on the other hand, claim no such lofty credentials or goals. Those of you who already know me from this blog and have read my ‘Superficial Movie Reviews’ are already well aware that there are few things I enjoy as much as overanalyzing miscellany for my own amusement. (And, hopefully for yours as well.) I guess the best way to differentiate Todd and me would be to say if we were in a book club together, Todd would be the one who read all of Proust’s Swann’s Way and had pertinent observations noted for later discussion and I’d be the one who only got through fifteen pages, but baked some delicious madeleines and brought two bottles of wine for the group in hopes that no one would notice.

usa_sweatersSo, without further ado, I bring you MommyEnnui’s random thoughts about the 2014 Winter Olympics thus far. First, and most importantly, what the hell was up with the U.S. athletes opening ceremonies outfits!? Ralph Lauren, designer of the questionable garb, used to be the final word in chic, classic, old-money, American style. What we saw at the opening ceremonies was Ralph officially jumping the shark and it wasn’t pretty. The athletes’ sweaters were reminiscent of those proudly worn by crafty-Grandmas everywhere. The ‘more is more’ aesthetic did not exactly say ‘sleek, modern, young, athletic’ or any one of a million other adjectives that could best describe the U.S. athletes. Instead, Ralph Lauren and his band of esteemed designers went for crazy-quilt cardigans, ill-fitting cream colored pants and hiking boots. I could go on, but there’s no use beating a dead polo horse.

sochi_open_flying_girlOverall, I’d say the opening ceremony was the spectacular, elaborately choreographed event that we’ve come to expect from the Olympics. I do have one little bone to pick, however. Is it absolutely necessary that each opening ceremony must begin with an adorable young girl, floating around in a nightgown or sundress, dreaming about the history of whatever host country happens to be planning the party that year? Is there maybe a fresh, new way of telling that same old story? Aren’t the worlds’ most creative producers paid approximately a bajillion dollars to plan these things? Just some food for thought.

My very favorite part of the opening ceremony, though, was when Vladimir Putin’s “rumored” girlfriend, former rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabayeva carried the Olympic torch in the final leg of the torch relay. Kabayeva who is now a member of the parliament, is believed to be one of the causes behind the Russian president’s divorce from his wife Lyudmila. The other cause is rumored to be his apparent inability to rinse off the goddamn dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. (Or so I’m guessing.)

vlad_alinaI’m aware that Putin (or as my daughters like to call him, “Poo-tin”…always while giggling maniacally) has not asked for my opinion on the matter, but it’s clear that his buddies in the Kremlin are giving him some seriously bad advice. So, Vlad, if you’re reading this, here are a few tips for you in case, hypothetically, you’re trying to keep your relationship with some young hottie on the down low. Don’t have a life-size, nude, ice sculpture made of her and display it prominently at your big winter bash. She can’t wear your letterman’s jacket or your class ring. And–I can’t stress this one enough–she can’t vote in favor of every single one of your pet projects in parliament. It’s just common sense, dude. You must have people who can quietly whisk her in and out of the Kremlin for booty calls, right?

Olympic officials did show some restraint by not giving Kabayeva the highest honor of lighting the official Olympic torch that will burn for the duration of the games. No, that honor was awarded to two other Russian athletes, one of whom was another member of parliament, Irina Rodnina, former three-time gold medal winning pairs figure skater. If Rodnina’s name sounds familiar, it’s because she’s the Russian politician who posted an obviously doctored, racist photo of President and Mrs. Obama on Twitter last year. Charming.

In response to the controversy, Rodnina was quoted as saying, “Freedom of speech is freedom of speech and you should answer for your own hang-ups.” With similar qualities of diplomacy, discretion and subtlety as her boss, Vladimir Putin, Rodnina should have a great future ahead of her in the Russian government!