Curling has become a joke around our house. Yes, I’m talking about the Olympic sport which seems to have swept the nation, and again, yes, I’m making a bad pun. Too much curling can do that to one’s brain, I suppose.
I know very little about curling. I don’t know the scoring system, and I certainly have never followed the sport. All I know is that it’s a little bit like shuffleboard, and I’ve never been good at that game.
When the Olympics games opened, my husband was rather enthusiastic about watching curling. He doesn’t understand a lot about it either, but together we enjoyed watching the early match with the Hamilton siblings — Matt and Rebecca — from Wisconsin. They defeated the Olympic Athletes from Russia in the first session, and then fell to the Canadians in the second.
All right, what’s this about Olympic Athletes from Russia? Why aren’t they simply called the Russian team? Maybe you already know the answer to this, but I didn’t. More about this later.
Maybe it was the USA’s loss that made it less fun to watch curling, but over the next few days and nights, every time my husband or I turned the television on to watch Olympic games, curling was right there. It was everywhere! At first, we would watch a little bit, but then my husband would say something about not really understanding the game, and we would move on to something else.
Soon we were checking the schedule before we tuned in. “Want to watch some curling?” I would ask each time I reviewed the schedule. Curling. Curling. Curling. How many curling matches are there in the Olympics?
Now, after ten days of the Olympic games, both my husband and I have had our fill of curling. I suppose it’s an exciting game for those who care about it, but a little curling lasts a long time, and frankly, I don’t care if I ever see another match.
So, earlier this morning while my husband got ready for work, we listened to World News Now and what should we hear but news of curling! I groaned. “Want to watch some curling?” I called out to my husband.
The news this morning was shameful. Another doping scandal. Russian athlete Alexander Krushelnitsky has been accused of taking meldonium, a banned substance which increases blood flow and improves one’s physical stamina. Krushelnitsky and his wife had rebounded from the loss to the USA and gone on to claim a bronze medal.
“The Russians were caught doping before, weren’t they?” My husband asked. He has a better memory for things like this than I do. “Isn’t that why they’re called the Olympic Athletes from Russia?”
Oh, is that why? I did a little checking on the past doping scandal in the Sochi Olympics from 2014. I learned that the OAR designation is indeed a result of the previous scandal and that the Russian Olympic Committee was suspended following the 2014 controversy.
Athletes from Russia were tested for banned substances before the 2018 games began, and only those who tested clean were allowed to participate. These athletes must also be free of any previous drug violations and have a consistent history of drug testing in order to participate — not under the Russian flag, but under the Olympic flag. Neither the Russian flag nor national anthem is allowed at the 2018 games.
An allegation or accusation doesn’t make anyone guilty, and I agree with one of the commentators who said anyone who took banned substances after the start of the games would be a fool. Unfortunately foolish things do happen in sports and elsewhere, and we’ll just have to wait and see the results after the hearing later today.
I hope it’s not true. I hope that this is merely a case of over-vigilance on the part of the Olympics committees. I’m certainly not a huge fan of curling, but all the same, I would hate to see the sport get a big black mark because of a medal-hungry competitor.
Yes, indeed, I’ve had enough of curling, and the next time my husband jokingly says “Hey, want to watch some curling,” I’ll run the other direction. From now on, the only curling I want to see is that which I do with my curling iron.