Olympics find new ways to surprise, and not in a good way

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
February 22, 2018 - 5:00am Updated: February 22, 2018 - 11:29am
Image Credit: olympic.ca

JUST WHEN WE THINK there are no new ways the Olympics can surprise us, they do — and not in a good way.

Never mind that half the competitions have taken place in the middle of the night — we can’t blame the South Koreans for living in a different time zone.

And we’ll just have to get over having to watch a bunch of men’s hockey players who couldn’t make the NHL (though they’ve done well), and our women’s team provided plenty to cheer about despite their heartbreaking shoot-out loss in last night’s gold medal game.

No, the big shocker at these Pyeongchang Olympics turns out to be curling.

Most sane people must wonder why there’s such a thing as mixed doubles curling, and why it’s in the Olympics, even if Canada did win a gold medal.

As if to prove itself a worthy Olympic sport, though, it produced a Russian curler who was caught doping.

Only at the Olympics could curling be involved in a drug scandal.

Mind you, the drug the Russian had in his system was meldonium, which shouldn’t even be on the banned list. It’s a heart medication.

Another Russian, Maria Sharapova, was suspended from the tennis tour in 2016 because she didn’t know it had suddenly been banned.

Meldonium is especially popular in Russia, where it can be purchased over the counter.

The fact a curler stands to lose a medal because he took heart medication shows just how paranoid the Olympics have become about drugging, especially when it comes to Russians.

But as you watch the closing ceremonies in the dark on Sunday morning, think about this — in its desperation to keep the Games interesting, the International Olympic Committee may soon add video games to the roster of approved sports, as early as 2024.

I think it’s fair to ask what part of video games involve athleticism — building strong thumbs?

I can hardly wait until the first Olympic video game medallist gets caught doping.

Curlers and video gamers — the new bad boys of the Olympics.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Note: This column has been edited to reflect the result of the women's hockey gold medal game.