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Olympics the newest reality show

Olympics the newest reality show

The absurdity has begun, and no, we're not talking about Fox's "Skating With Celebrities."

The Winter Olympics, opening February 10 in Turin, Italy, won't need help from television executives to create drama. Olympians have created movie-of-the-week episodes in recent weeks. The tableau isn't pretty:

Bode Miller said on "60 Minutes" that he had skied while drunk. The remark caused a stir with sponsors and Miller's national governing body. Even Dick Pound, the World Anti-Doping Agency chief, entered the debate, saying that when you're young, "you have the constitutional right to be as stupid as you want."

Miller apologized, and the U.S. Ski Association accepted it.

On to the other scandals . . .

U.S. skeleton coach Tim Nardiello was suspended because of sexual-harassment allegations involving some women sliders who did not qualify for the Turin Games. He denied the charges, but an investigation is ongoing.

Zach Lund, ranked second in the world in skeleton, tested positive for a prohibited masking agent that he claimed was in a drug used to treat balding. U.S. officials provisionally nominated Lund to the Olympic team last weekend because he is eligible until the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency charges him with a violation. The agency is awaiting final test results before taking action.

The case grew more bizarre when the New York Times reported that the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation failed to notify the anti-doping agency after learning of the positive test. The action violated Olympic protocol.

The international bobsled federation suspended Lund after the lapse. The Americans had accepted Lund's word that he used the hair restoration drug Propecia, the Times reported.

Then there's figure skating.

A new scoring system created to address the judging scandal of the 2002 Olympics received harsh criticism because the athletes and coaches - and some say the judges themselves - don't know what the scores represent.

Michelle Kwan was disparaged when she petitioned, and received, a medical waiver to skate in Turin although she has not competed in 10 months.

And while doing lovely flips on the ice, U.S. men's champion Johnny Weir was flippant off it. The U.S. Olympic Committee was unhappy after he explained how an opponent's music differed from his.

"His was more the vodka shot, snort coke kind of thing," he said. That was before he said his mother would celebrate his victory by "getting drunk."

Don't expect the transgressions to end there. The Olympics provide an even better platform for scandal.

Updated : 2021-05-16 10:06 GMT+08:00