Here are some interesting things we learned at last Friday's Winter Olypmics Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver:
* India, a country with 1.1 billion people, only sent three athletes to the winter games. What's up with that? It's no use saying that India doesn't have any snow; neither do Ethiopia or Senegal, and they still managed to come up with one athlete each to compete in these games. What, don't they have ice rinks in New Delhi? Or aren't there any rich Indian kids who go to boarding school in Switzerland and ski?
* I was planning to include Iran (with 4 athletes) in the list of countries with no snow and more athletes than Inda, but I found out it does actually snow in Iran; some of their mountains have snow all year round!
* Hong Kong is one of the most densely-populated areas in the entire planet, with almost 16,000 people per square mile (compare that with Canada's 10 people per square mile). One square mile is like, nothing! I'd say Palo Alto's downtown area is about one square mile, and the thought of having 16,000 warm bodies squished there makes me want to run away and join Cirque du Soleil (which is based in Canada).
And here are some interesting "facts" we noticed all on our own:
* Team USA had the best headgear-- love thoseNordic-inspired knit caps! -- although Mongolia's lone athlete comes a close second, with her bongga, silvery fur hat.
* Speaking of bongga, that's exactly how I would describe the opening ceremonies. I was impressed by how they incorporated technology to come up with such creative and entertaining production numbers. Our favorite section, hands down, was the part where they made the entire stage look like a bunch of whales swimming across the ocean. Magnificent! I have to commend the organizers of the event for not even trying to compete with the human-body extravaganza of the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies; instead, they dared to be different and did their own thing.
* Winter Olympians are extraordinarily good-looking! Seriously, the women look like models (check out Lindsey Vonn, Gretchen Bleiler, Lindsey Jacobellis, and the entire Swedish female delegation) and the men are all total hunks (except maybe Shaun White, but I suspect a lot of girls find his goofy dude appeal much sexier than the typical male model hunky type) . Alfie thinks it's because winter sports have a high financial barrier to entry, so for the most part it's the richer kids who get into these sports -- and the gene pool tends to be decidedly better-looking vwhen you have more money. I think he has a point, although I'd say the cameras also focus more on the better-looking athletes.
* Somebody is going to get fired for that Olympic torch malfunction!