Thanks To Men Figure Skaters At Winter Olympics…All Are winners!

After over five hours of watching and cheering….and a smile that seems cemented to my face… has come to a conclusion. The three men figure skaters I wanted to see win from the start of the games–did!

The smile and genuineness of Yuma Kagiyama from earlier this week needed to prevail again…and he did it with Silver.

This is the second Winter Games that Uno Shoma has had a robust supporter on the Madison isthmus in our living room, and he finishes with Bronze.

And then Nathan Chen made that human dream from missteps four years ago to Gold tonight.

What a magnificent evening of watching 24 skaters. They are all winners and international smile-makers. Thanks to them all!

Five Lessons Aaron Rodgers Should Learn From Olympic Figure Skaters

When asked to list an example of the epitome of an athlete one needs to ponder no further than the figure skaters who take to the ice at the Winter Olympics. Since last Thursday night, when the competition started, I have again been mesmerized by the skills, artistry, and composure of the men and women from around the world.

Last night while watching Nathan Chen who was truly masterful in the men’s short program I thought how different the skaters are from Aaron Rodgers. While many people who follow football think Rodgers will soon be labeled as the former Green Bay Packers quarterback, I wish to offer him some advice as he packs his bags for the exit door.

I use the figure skaters as my guideposts and examples.

First, demonstrate that you care enough for the fans to look respectful when engaging in the sport. Rodgers has looked too often, as of late, as if the detox center did not have running hot water or soap. Show up for the job with some self-respect.

I understand the world is not watching when Rodgers takes to the field, as compared to the Olympic skaters, but he should at least get a haircut and shave for the local fans.

An example of how to be aware that personal grooming matters is Jason Brown who performed Monday night in the short skate portion of the games.

Second, the way athletes react when the game or event does not go the way they wish speaks volumes about their character. This past season football viewers saw Rodgers slam down and break a $500 tablet when a play was not called as he wanted.

This week we saw a different way to handle stress from an athlete.

Figure skater and medal contender Vincent Zhou tested positive for Covid-19, and made a mature social media statement that was pure class about now not being able to compete in the men’s individual competition in Beijing. Note to Rodgers that no damage to inanimate objects resulted.

After the latest loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Rodgers took to social media to lambast the voices across the nation who roasted him for months about his lack of regard for COVID vaccines and mask-wearing. But male athletes do wear masks, as South Korean figure skater Cha Jun-hwan (below) did continuously during recent training sessions.

Third, stepping up and doing what is in the best interest of the larger community is surely a lesson that Rodgers should learn before entering his next locker room for a different team.

Fourth, when problems develop a strong athlete takes the higher road. Zhu Yi did that very thing this past week after falling two times in her skating performance. Though in tears she proved her inner resolve and character with a heart-shaped design made with her fingers.

Fifth, being rude to those who pay for a ticket is just low-brow. Rodgers was taken to task for his “I own you” comment this past season after a game. Meanwhile, last night after his time on the ice Jason Brown blew a kiss to the audience in Bejing—though the numbers in the seats were very small due to the pandemic. But it was still the classy and proper thing to do.

Brown being thankful for the chance to perform and be in the limelight is something that Rogers has squandered and completely taken for granted during his time in Green Bay.

Perhaps as Aaron Rodgers watches yet another Super Bowl away from the end zone he can think about the lessons to be learned from the artistic, musically inclined, truly athletic, and character-rich figure skaters at the Winter Olympics.

And so it goes.

Poke In The World’s Eye: Uyghur Dinigeer Yilamujiang Lights Winter Olympic Flame As Genocide By China Continues

Let me start with a fact that the vast majority of the nations in the world agree is taking place as I write.

China is carrying out a genocide in Xinjiang.

I applaud the actions of President Joe Biden for clearly demonstrating that such evil in the world must be called out, and never rewarded. I strongly support the decision of the United States to take a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in China. There is no way to not stand up in opposition to Beijing’s internment of nearly one million Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province.

So it was a gigantic poke in the eye of the world community that China’s President Xi Jinping selected Dinigeer Yilamujiang, who is originally from Xinjiang, to play such a most prominent and troubling role in lighting the cauldron. If something can be expertly spun, creatively sold, or handsomely packaged, it can be sold and bought by others.



NPR’s Emily Feng recently reported:

“Since 2017, authorities in Xinjiang have rounded up hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority group, and sent them to detention centers where they are taught Mandarin Chinese and Chinese political ideology. Camp detainees have reported being forced to work in factories during their detention or after they are released. The children of those detained or arrested are often sent to state boarding schools, even when relatives are willing to take them in.”

Meanwhile, at the opening ceremonies, Russian President Putin and Xi sat together and surely were smirking. How could they not as the song Imagine, made famous by John Lennon, played to a choreographed scene in the arena? Hubris and irony competed for attention.

The list of atrocities China is engaged in today can not be forgotten with a truly impressive and technologically driven opening ceremony. While the LED show was dazzling for viewers, human rights abuses by China were taking place against Tibetans’ culture, religion, and language; Hong Kong’s democratic freedoms; and the continuous undermining of the democratic-island of Taiwan. 

Oh, yes, less we forget following the flame lighting Bejing….the genocide in Xinjiang.

The People’s Republic of China and the repressive government might think holding hands with Russia’s Putin and showcasing an axis of power while putting forth a global PR effort at the Olympics will turn the page.

But the world community has access to news and reporting about the genocide within China. In two weeks the Olympic flame will be doused, but the knowledge of the crimes continually perpetrated by China will not be forgotten.

And so it goes.

Postpone Summer Olympics In Japan, Too Many Not Vaccinated Around World

While the advertisers and networks with contracts to carry the 2021 summer Olympics from Tokyo are most desirous of moving forward with the games there is a growing and louder pushback from many in Japan. Also from the medical professionals and scientists around the globe. Certainly, the many athletes and the years of preparation for their moment on the world stage are not to be taken lightly, but the possible dire consequences of holding the Games and further spreading the COVID virus must supersede all other issues.

The fact that only 5 percent of the Japanese population is vaccinated, and scores of nations worldwide are unable to get the volume of doses required to protect their citizens, raises alarms. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is facing a nation that is simply not interested in have the Games on their soil at this time. Polls show that in Japan 60-80% want them called off.

Just this past Friday the Japanese government decided to extend a state of emergency until June 20th as COVID cases continue to put their medical system under much heavy strain. As such, the leader is confronted with a determined array of medical, political, and business leaders calling for the Games not to be held this year.

What is at stake are the 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes from more than 200 countries and territories flying into Japan, gathering, competing, and going back to places that, sadly in too many cases, do not have the capacity to vaccinate their citizens. Let us also not forget the tens of thousands of judges, officials, VIPs, media members, and broadcasters will also have to enter Japan.

And then return home.

The threat that holding the Olympics, as now planned, could lead to the spread of variants such as the ones we know about from India, Britain, South Africa, Brazil, and now as of this weekend, Vietnam. Polls in places such as South Korea, which shows dread about the games, underscores that this health issue is one that not only Japan needs to consider.

The citizens of Japan do have a right to be concerned and to express their displeasure with how their health is being placed on the same level with the needs of all those who would make money, or lose it, should the games not be held. There is no denying why they feel that way.

It is reported in Japan there are many of the Olympic administration officials booked into Tokyo’s top five-star hotels during the games. That is how we spread a virus.

That is why at this point, with too many not yet vaccinated around the world, the Summer Games need to be postponed.

And so it goes.

International Uproar Over Remark Made During NBC Olympics Broadcast

Words matter.

Joshua Cooper Ramo, facing criticism for a comment made about Korea and Japan, is no longer working with NBC Olympics for its coverage of the Pyeongchang Games.

NBC says Ramo’s assignment has been completed following a divisive comment he made during coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Friday. 

“Every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural and technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation,” Ramo said after directly referencing Japan’s brutal annexation of the Korean peninsula in the lead-up to World War II. It was a comment many Koreans found offensive considering the 35-year occupation remains a painful memory.

Ramo, the co-CEO of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s consulting firm, and a former foreign editor of Time magazine, had been hired by NBC to discuss cultural and political storylines.

However, a petition—signed by 10,000 people as of Sunday morning—said Ramo’s analysis did not represent a “truthful account of history.”

“Any reasonable person familiar with the history of Japanese imperialism, and the atrocities it committed before and during WWII, would find such statement deeply hurftul and outrageous,” the petition said. “And no, no South Korean would attribute the rapid growth and transformation of its economy, technology, and political/cultural development to the Japanese imperialism.”

My Complete Tweet Printed In CA Newspaper, The Mercury News Article On Olympics Regarding Figure Skating

For over a decade Caffeinated Politics has been grounded in one foundation.  I write my blog posts as logic dictates, and as I feel it in my gut.  I call it as I see it whether it be words of great respect for journalists or outrage over policy and some politicians.

The same goes for my new-found voice on Twitter.   I never thought this form of social media would be something with which I would feel comfortable,  but in short order I am truncating my views into 280 characters, and rather enjoying the instant sense of relevancy.

As James was reading his twitter account he discovered that my Thursday night tweet about NBC’s Olympic coverage of figure skating had made the pages of The Mercury News, a California newspaper.   I am pleased as my message about the tone of the commentary demanded a response.  I am also thrilled as my tweeting time is only a few weeks old.  My words from this cozy desk in Madison, in a home built in 1892 and surrounded by countless books on shelves from floor to ceiling, has the reach I desire.

We haven’t even made it to the Opening Ceremony and already some are lashing out at NBC figure-skating analysts Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski. Judging them to be too harsh with their criticism, the critics took to social media Thursday night to voice their displeasure.

…many viewers felt they were just too catty. They particularly didn’t appreciate the duo’s treatment of American Nathan Chen, one of the men’s marquee athletes.

Wish had mature and less demeaning commentary for figure skating competition. and vocabulary-challenged Tara Lipinski undermined many of the superb and talented men and women on the ice. Tara speaks as if she only has a 6th grade grasp of language!

And so it goes.

Fox News, Conservatives Upset That Olympics Not Pure White And Straight

John Moody, executive vice president and executive editor of Fox News, ignited controversy when he skewered the US Olympic Committee this week with an article titled  “In Olympics, let’s focus on the winner of the race — not the race of the winner.”

“Unless it’s changed overnight, the motto of the Olympics, since 1894, has been ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger,'” Moody wrote. “It appears the U.S. Olympic Committee would like to change that to ‘Darker, Gayer, Different.’ If your goal is to win medals, that won’t work.”

Moody went on to deride the US Olympic Committee for boasting about how this year’s team was “the most diverse” ever sent to the Winter Olympics.

Moody may want to take some time to catch up on the demographic statistics of America.  The middle class of the nation has expanded so that not only Caucasians have the means to send their talented child to a sporting facility with a coach.   That is a very good thing to showcase, and the Olympics is a perfect stage to make the point.

Moody may not be aware of it but gay people make up every family around the nation.  It is not as if the Olympics are “gayer’ but instead our nation has stepped into the 21st century and allowed gay and men women to live the full impact of the documents written by the Founding Fathers.  That is a most powerful statement to send around the globe—again via the Olympics.

The men and women who compete from our nation should look like the face of our nation.  Moody may wish for a time when blacks were only porters in trains and gay people where only used for jokes on television.   But that is not the reality of America in 2018.

Moody and other conservatives who feel his way need to update their thinking. The world is diverse and getting more so–and that is a good thing.

The first two openly gay U.S. Winter Olympians took to social media Friday to make that point.  Their presence at the games sends a message to all–but especially people like Vice President Mike Pence that, “We’re here. Get used to it.”

“The #OpeningCeremony is a wrap and the 2018 Winter Olympic Gaymes are officially under way!” skier Gus Kenworthy, 26, captioned on Friday an Instagram photo of himself with figure skater Adam Rippon, 28. “I feel incredibly honored to be here in Korea competing for the US and I’m so proud to be representing the LGBTQ community alongside this amazing guy! Eat your heart out, Pence. #TeamUSA #TeamUSGay


Are Olympic Policies Pro-Gay?

Catching up on reading can create amusement.  Like this article about Steve McConkey.

I am suspecting McConkey did not have a problem with Russia’s stand on gay people.  Probably was unable to watch Johhny Weir, too.

About midway through last month’s Sochi Winter Olympics, Steve McConkey issued a press release as president of 4 Winds Christian Athletics, a Madison-based ministry that works primarily with U.S. track and field athletes.

McConkey bemoaned what he called the “pro-homosexual policies” of the U.S. Olympic Committee, noting the committee recently added sexual orientation to the non-discrimination policy that participating athletes must agree to. McConkey said he could envision a time when Christian athletes who oppose homosexuality will be victims of “reverse discrimination” for their beliefs.

He also accused the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of “trying to sway athletes to promote liberal causes, including homosexuality and climate change endeavors.”

The themes of the press release were familiar to those who follow McConkey’s efforts. He opposed the IOC’s earlier decision to include transgender athletes, and in a December press release, he criticized Nike for its supposed ties to Planned Parenthood and for starting a political action committee in support of gay marriage in its home state of Oregon.