A true Olympic event

The Olympics are pretty exciting stuff, right? Our whole family got pretty jazzed at the prospect of nights spent watching together, seeing the spirit of cooperation and competition, international goodwill, the whole shebang.

Now, it’s our family tradition to watch a recorded episode of Mythbusters on Friday nights while we eat dinner. The rest of the week, we eat at the table like semi-civilized humans, so this is a big treat for the kids, to eat in front of the TV. Last Friday night, we were all “Okay! Tonight we watch the Olympics opening ceremonies instead!” And we were all buzzing with anticipation.

So we sat down with dinner at about 6:30 or so, as we do. But the ceremonies didn’t start until 7:30. So we watched something else for a while. (Actually, I think we watched Man vs. Food which is a truly disgusting show, and therefore highly entertaining.)

We finished eating. Eventually, the Olympics began.

Otto and I quickly realized that the opening ceremonies are, like, twelve hours long. And the kids were getting restless during some of the less exciting parts. Though the parade of countries is pretty cool to watch through their eyes, as they try to pronounce Uzbekistan and such.

Time passed. We’d only watched an hour, but the kids are generally pretty wiped on Friday nights, so we said look, it’s getting late, let’s just record the rest of this and you guys go to bed. We’ll watch the rest tomorrow! The kids grumbled but went to bed.

The next day Chickadee pointed out that one of her teachers had asked the kids to come in to school this week and know who lit the torch and also “what was released afterward.” Chickadee guessed that it would be fireworks. I guessed that it would be flaming puppies. Chickadee may have accused me of being weird.

That night (Saturday), we again watched an hour of the ceremonies. But we got started late, and an hour into it Monkey was falling asleep. So we sent the kids to bed AGAIN, promising to watch the conclusion on Sunday night.

Sunday night came and ONCE MORE we attempted to get through the ceremony. Finally we were up to the torch lighting! We watched as the torch-bearers marched around and Chickadee said THIS IS IT, THEY’RE GOING TO LIGHT THE BIG TORCH!

And then, of course, they had that mechanical malfunction where the one leg of the big thing (sorry to confuse you with all of these technical terms) wouldn’t unfold, so all of the torch people were standing around waiting… waiting…

… and then the mechanism began to rise from the floor… and we were on the edge of our seats… waiting to see which of them would do the actual lighting—or would it be all of them? “BRING ON THE FLAMING PUPPIES!” I may have yelled at the television.

And then our recording ended.

Because the mechanical failure made the ceremony run long, and we’d set the recording for the scheduled time.

The children were Not Pleased. I mean, wouldn’t you be upset if you missed it after three nights of watching?

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. Ahhhh, the Olympic spirit has truly encompassed our house.

P.S. We watched it on NBColympics.com the next day.

P.P.S. There were no flaming puppies. Their loss.


  1. annette

    Oh my Mir. PETA is going to be soooo upset with you:).
    I watched the replay of the ceremony while trying to stay awake all night with my recovering post surgical Grandma in the hospital, and I missed the torch lighting. I think the nurse came in about that time. I was amazed at the Canadian medal winning ice skater that helped carry in the flag that was about 80 by my estimation and had a much better figure than I. Then I cursed my parents for not putting me in ice skating at the age of 3:(.

  2. Summer

    I’d invited friends over for dinner on Friday night to watch the opening ceremony, and then felt personally responsible for the fact that they were so dull. Two of my guests fell asleep. Only one was younger than three.

    And “what was released afterward”? That’s a puzzler. Is the answer “a bunch of drunk Canadians running after Wayne Gretzsky’s truck”?

  3. Katie in MA

    Heh. The same thing happened to my neighbor. I bet he would have been even more disappointed (as if that were possible) if he’d been expecting flaming puppies.

  4. Tracy

    I agree, the Opening Ceremony seemed plain and lasted forever. It’s not the Summer Olympic’s that’s for sure. But it’s still very exciting to see all of the countries and their costumes. Some only had 1 or 2 competing while others had 100’s. I personally enjoy the Winter over the Summer because of the downhill skiing and such but I like the Summer Opening Ceremony better. Call me crazy!

  5. Alicia

    You know, the Westminster Kennel Club is on this week. Maybe there will be flaming puppies there?

  6. 12tequilas

    Okay, is it just me? I thought the ceremonies were quite good. Long, yes, but if you were watching it in recorded mode and could skip along if needed….I thought some of the effects were very neat-looking (that’s a Hollywood term) and did you hear how much it cost to do all that? Also, k.d. lang. I’ve never felt one way or another about her, but her performance at the Olympics blew me away.

    I slept through some of it…but I always do that. I’ve had to watch some movies inside-out; i.e., watched the whole middle hour the next day.

  7. Mir

    Not just you, 12tequilas—I also thought k.d. lang stole the show, and enjoyed a lot of the rest of it, too! Was just kind of long for the kids.

  8. elz

    We hyped up the Opening Ceremonies all week. Then quickly realized it wasn’t going to go quickly and replaced it with “Ella Enchanted.” We watched the highlights on the web the next day. The girls do love watching the actual events, where stuff actually HAPPENS!

  9. Ariel

    My husband made fun of the Georgians during the parade of nations because they looked so sad. And then I went and read the news and found out that one of them had died hours before and then he felt like a schmuck for making fun of them. I have to say the look on his face of guilt and horror was actually pretty funny (in a sad way).
    We actually do TV night on Monday nights, cause I’m so freakin wiped out:) The rest of the week we are god fearin table eatin folks ;)

  10. Crissy

    I thought they were entertaining, but Donald Sutherland’s voice really creeps me out.

  11. Nicole

    Hi, local Vancouverite here! I don’t know why NBC played the open ceremonies so late, they actually condensed it and you didn’t see the whole thing… locally our TV feed started at 6:00, but it was still to late for the little ones to watch. Vancouver is rocking right now, it is so much fun!

  12. Lia

    I’m from Canada and I have to say I was disappointed. Everything could have been half as long. In fact, we were joking that in contrast to China, we should have stuck to the 8 mounties carrying the flag, the Native welcome, the parade of athletes and then the cut straight to each famous artist singing one line from Who has seen the winds then lastly the torch lighting and called it a day. That would’ve been Canadian.

    Oh and the big bear was just silly. Seriously? We all took a bathroom and snack break when that thing made an entrance.

    I shouldn’t be too hard on it, Sarah and K.D were great. K.D is such a great performer and she really laid it all out there. And she sung such a great Canadian song. We just had a hoot laughing at poor Wayne out there on the back of a pickup truck. I was sad that Catriona didn’t actually get to light anything. The announcers were joking about how no one noticed that she hadn’t done any commentary (she is one of the people giving colour commentary up here) for the last little bit. Ha! We noticed, so we figured that she was somehow going to be involved in the flame lighting.

  13. Aimee

    I’m just glad you weren’t watching at dinner when they decided to show footage of that Georgian luger getting flung from the track — or later, the footage of the speedskater bleeding all over the place. Fun family entertainment, NBC-style!

    PS — our recording ran out, too.

  14. Emma

    I’m loving the Olympics but here in the UK we are only getting about 2 hours a night so I’m missing a lot of stuff and unfortunately I missed the opening ceremony completely…doesn’t sound like I missed much though!!!

  15. gaylin

    I live in Vancouver and work downtown, it is 24/7 Olympics here right now. I was very patriotic during the Opening Ceremony . . . I surfed off the boring parts (really a french guy singing a song that was way toooooo looooong), did the dishes, tidied the house, glanced back at the tv. I’m just glad it wasn’t embarrassingly hokey. It was on from 6pm to 9:15pm here. Oh and I may have watched most of What Not to Wear while it was on. ooops.
    KD Lang, awesome
    Fiddlers, awesome
    Poetry guy, darn good
    John Furlong massacring french in his speech, pretty funny
    Opera chick, gouge out my ears
    Gretsky in the rain, too funny

    a complete lack of flaming puppies, darn.

  16. Mare

    Would somebody PLEASE tell me what went off when they lit the dang torch? I tried to watch it. I really did. I put it on, but then I dozed for a bit and nothing had really changed other than the colors. I really do, I promise, believe in the spirit of the sports.

  17. My Kids Mom

    We watch the whole shebang via our TiVo, with each night’s events a day late. My new reader will see “LIVE!” on the screen and get excited. Plus, when you record it you can skip commercials (except the cool ones) and fast forward through excess commentary AND you can watch speed skaters on fast forward. That is cool beyond words- let me tell you!

  18. Lauren

    It took us all of the long weekend to get through the ceremonies too. Glad we’re not the only ones!

  19. My Kids Mom

    @Mare: fireworks. Not too exciting really. The whole thing was much better with a fast forward button handy.

  20. Heather

    I found the ceremonies really cool, actually. Then again, I’m Canadian so it was all inspiring and patriotic. And i was out with friends, so we could entertain ourselves during some of the more tedious parts. But overall? I thought it was beautiful and well done.

  21. Beth R

    I loved the ceremony – a perfect fit for the more “intimate” feeling the organizers were looking to create.

    @Emma – check and see if you can get Eurosport via cable. I was in Germany during one of the Olympics (1998) and watched the ENTIRE thing. They show everybody, even the gal from LowerLeftShoeIstan who places dead last in the ladies’ figure skating.

  22. Dawn

    I’m not much of a sports fan and rarely watch Olympic opening ceremonies but felt compelled to watch these in case I had to hide my little Canuck self from my international friends after, but they weren’t bad. I tuned in a bit late, so missed the whales, but overall enjoyed it well enough.

    There were a few facepalm moments:
    – Measha Brueggergosman (opera singer) – fabulously talented opera singer, but was she really the right choice? I couldn’t tell what language she was singing in most of the time. And they REALLY should have monitored her caffiene intake. I thought she was going to take off at a couple of points. She sure looked glad to be there, though.
    – The fourth flame column thingy – argh. Just argh.
    – Wayne Gretzky. In a truck. In the rain. He looked so sad. To his credit, there had been death threats and let’s face it, he’s not a PR guy, he’s a guy who’s phenomenally good at hitting a frozen rubber disk with a stick.

    But! there were good moments, too.
    – Barbara Ann Scott (tiny little white haired lady flag bearer) She’s like the Energizer bunny. We love her.
    – Anne Murray looked like she was about to bust a button.
    – the slam poet was pretty darned good.
    – and k.d. lang just nailed it! I do so love her voice! And to pick one of Leonard’s songs was perfect.

    But David Letterman is very, very angry with us.

    Meh. We’ll live.

  23. Flea

    Oh dang. I can burn you a puppy, Mir. In fact, I think I will. You inspire me.

  24. Sarah

    Real puppies? But I love puppies.

  25. Randi

    Haven’t you heard of the fast-forward button Mir? LOL

  26. Nancy

    The same thing happened to our family – damned dvr.

  27. just beaux

    My wife covered part of the 2002 Olympics here is Salt Lake and we even got to go see the speed race with Apolo Ono when they all got knocked down and Ono got back up to finish the race and win the silver (I think it was?), ever since I have been even a bigger fan.
    This year we all gather every night and watch our fair share of the events and usually fade away as we get tired. But I have to admit, I fell asleep on the couch during the opening ceremony.

  28. WarsawMommy

    Yeah, why do these things drag on? Really?

    But! I thought that snowboarded jumping through the hoop was way cool, and I think Bryan Adams has still got it and Nelly Furtado managing to dance around in those high heels was an Olympic event in itself.

    So, no puppies. But Nelly dancing without doing herself an injury. Cool.

    Also – Wayne Gretzky!!

  29. Brigitte

    I’m amusing myself picturing the OTHER kind of “flaming” puppies.

    I’d like to watch more Olympics, especially as I like the Winter ones way more than the Summer ones, but hubs and daughter don’t seem too into it. And the coverage of the pieces I catch is a mess. Weh.

  30. Jessica

    They really hyped up the opening ceremonies, trying to make it sound like it was going to be better than the last. I watched it in a bar, and I clapped when the USA came out. Beyond that I was too busy talking to friends. I can say though, that I have been glued to the television every night watching the Olympics. The entire time watching skiing, moguls and snowboarding I wished I had knees like that. Just watching it made my knees ache.

  31. Teri

    I missed the opening ceremonies from the summer olympics in China and it was awesome! I wasn’t about to miss another one! So we sat down to dinner and started watching. It really couldn’t keep my attention. After the guy on the guidewire started to “run” through the fake wheat field, I turned to my partner and said “Want to watch Lost? Because this program just lost me.”

  32. Sheila

    We lasted through the entire marathon, but not without complaints from my husband (“Oh, good- I’m glad they’re doing everything in English AND French. I was afraid this wasn’t going to be long enough”).

    I thought the whales were AWESOME.

    Try as I might, I could not convince my daughter that k.d. lang was a woman. Nope- she wasn’t buying it.

  33. Chuck

    I had a similar experience with a Green Bay Packers game last season…forgot to set the recording to stop late, and it went into overtime and I missed the last quarter. I don’t get to watch many Packers games anymore (not broadcast in my area) so I was definitely Not Amused.

  34. Nicki

    Not such a loss for the would-be flaming puppies.

    PS. Yours would have been more likely to go up in flames. Mine is 94lbs at 6 months old. So, if I lose weight and he continues to gain, we’ll soon meet in the middle. ;)

  35. Billie

    For those of you who loved K.D. Lang singing you should check out Jeff Buckley’s version of the same song. Hallelujah is the name of the song and you can find the video on YouTube. Kd has nothing on Jeff. The song was originally written and sang by another Canadian great (don’t remember the guys name though).

  36. elswhere

    Billie– that’s Leonard Cohen, who also wrote “Suzanne” and “The Sisters of Mercy” and many other gorgeous (if not very lighthearted) songs.

  37. Cindy

    I must admit I’ve only watched two full opening ceremonies — Calgary ’88 and Vancouver ’10. The rest were all so freaking boring. But the culprit is I’m Canadian, so every song, every moment had meaning for me. I’m sure that Americans were the most excited about Atlanta and Salt Lake City’s opening ceremonies. I tried so hard to watch Beijing, because everyone said it would be awesome…but fell asleep.

    K.D. did an awesome job, and Sarah sang my favourite song ever (it was our last dance song at our wedding). The poetry guy was my favourite part. I’d never have thought that I’d laugh out loud at an opening ceremony (but I realize that it was probably only funny for Canadians!!).

    I’m sorry you missed the end (but really, watching Wayne ride around in the pick up was painful even for us — so maybe you were just spared further torture!!).

  38. mom, again, again

    I didn’t watch. After the last summer Olympics Opening Ceremoney I decided I was just fed up with TV coverage of things that are meant to be seen from far away. All those nifty lighting tricks and masses of dancers or drummers or whatever and too often we see a close up of a single person or the hands of one drummer, while the commentators talked about how cool the whole field looked. Let me see!

    I was in Britain at the time, but the BBC is no more guilty of this than any other network. Really guys, you could save so much money by just showing us the feed from the blimp. All those other cameras, camera operators and the guys in the truck deciding between feeds on a second by second basis? Totally unnecessary.

    Yes, I was a band parent. Why?

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