Utahns, we should be proud. The Games are nearly over, and while they’ve been plagued with one problem after another, it’s important to note that NOT ONE OF THEM WAS OUR FAULT!
The French judge screwed up the figure skating: Not our fault. Woody Paige wrote a mean column: Not our fault. Speedskaters fell down, favored teams lost, Picabo Street blew it: not our fault, not our fault, not our fault.
The things we thought WOULD be our fault — horrific traffic jams, overbearing Mormons and unprepared venues — didn’t happen. Do you even remember the details of the SLOC bribery scandal? Neither do I!
As I write this, the Games are brewing up a new scandal on which to end things, and it is once again NOT OUR FAULT. It involves the Russians, who feel they have been treated badly by the Olympic judges. I would invoke the Utah state motto — “If you don’t like it here, then why don’t you leave?!” — but the Russians have already thought of that. They’re threatening to go home early and not come back.
Now, the going home early part is a little silly, since the Games are practically over anyway. You’re not making much of a statement when you walk out of a play during the curtain call.
But they’re threatening not to participate in future Olympics, either — 2004 in Athens, 2006 in Torino, 2008 in the Evil Empire of China, 2010 at the South Pole — no more Olympics, ever.
In response to this, IOC vice president Vitaly Smirnov, who is Russian, said — and this is a real quote that I didn’t make up — “Without Russia, the Olympic Games would be lost.”
That sounds like a challenge to me. Let’s have some Olympics with no Russians and see what happens. When they boycotted in 1984, the only consequence was that the United States won about 400,000 medals. We recovered from that devastating blow, and I imagine we can persevere if the Russians pull out again, although I will miss having skaters with names like Slutskaya.
South Korea is also threatening to leave, angry over Kim Dong-Sung’s disqualification in the short-track speedskating final. The IOC’s response was: “South Korea is here? Who invited them? We need to beef up security.”
Anyway, none of this is Utah’s fault. We’ve been good hosts. The whole world thinks so. Utah is no longer an obscure, backward American state that no one would ever visit; it’s now an obscure, backward American state that no one would ever visit, that has hosted the Olympics!
Now it’s time to bid our visitors farewell and get back to normal. Tell the polygamists they can come out of the cellar as soon as company’s gone.
This reads like a final column, but there's one more. I ... guess I don't have anything else to say about this one.