2022 Winter Olympics

Here's your all-inclusive guide to the Winter Olympics

The action gets started on Wednesday! Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images.

One of the world’s great sports spectacles, the 2022 Winter Olympics start this week in the middle of a global pandemic in the country that is the birthplace of the Covid-9 virus. How inadvertently ironic and diabolic? Who planned this … Lex Luthor?

The Winter Games will be held in the Chinese capital of Beijing, still struggling to control the coronavirus that emerged from Wuhan only 666 miles (again how ironic?) down the road. Only “selected” Chinese will be allowed to watch the Olympics in person. The events will be closed to international visitors, including friends and family of the athletes.

The Games will be telecast on NBC (Channel 2), the USA Network and Peacock. Because Beijing is 14 hours ahead of Houston, NBC and USA will air action mostly on tape delay. When it’s day in the United States, it’s night in China. More important, when it’s prime time in China, it’s time to milk the cows in the U.S. How rude of China not to schedule Olympic events for Americans’ convenience. Peacock will stream the Games live, so there is that.

Fun fact: although China is the third-largest country in the world, slightly bigger than the U.S., it has only one time zone.

Although several events will kick off Wednesday, including hockey and curling, the official opening ceremony will take place Friday. NBC will air the opening ceremony live at 5:30 a.m. Houston time.

TV trivia: of the highest-rated sports events of all-time, only one non-NFL game cracked the Top 20. What was it? Answer at bottom.

Several Texans will be competing at the Beijing Olympics: Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc from Euless will go for the gold in pairs figure skating. Amber Glenn of Plano is an alternate on the figure skating team. Sylvia Hoffman from Arlington is on the bobsled team. I am not related to Sylvia Hoffman … unless she wins a gold medal, in which case I’ll be contacting ancestry.com looking for a distant fourth cousin, three times removed.

While athletes are not required to be vaccinated, the U.S. Olympic committee reports that all 200-plus competitors are fully vaccinated. The committee imposed a Dec. 1 deadline to be vaccinated or apply for a medical or religious exemption. All the athletes rolled up their sleeves. International athletes who elected to compete unvaccinated faced a 21-day quarantine.

The National Hockey League is not allowing its players to participate in the Olympics, in part because of the Covid risk.

Here’s one I could never figure out. Why is basketball part of the Summer Olympics and not the Winter Games? Sure the players wear short pants, but basketball is an indoor winter sport. The most popular leagues around the world, including the NBA, the Euro League and the Chinese Basketball Association, play their seasons in winter. Basketball is a summer game only in playgrounds and driveways.

Trivia answer: The 1994 Olympics ladies figure skating finals featuring Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding drew 48.5 million viewers, making it the highest-rated single night Winter Olympic event. It was the sixth-rated program in TV history at the time.

By the way, the gold medal that year was won by Oksana Baiul of Ukraine. Kerrigan finished second and Chen Lu of China took the bronze. Harding was last seen at Dick’s Sporting Goods, still looking for a pair of shoelaces.

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Let him cook! Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are in the midst of a rebuild. Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr are studs. KPJ just signed a four-year extension with the team. Other guys like Jabari Smith Jr, Kenyon Martin Jr, Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher, Tari Eason, and Jae'Sean Tate are really good pieces to surround Green and KPJ with. The only issue with this group: they're REALLY young! Tate is the elder statesman at 27 of the young nucleus. Most are barely old enough to buy a drink. Some still aren't old enough! They're a bunch of green bananas waiting to turn yellow to slightly brown and be ripe enough for consumption.

We need to give it time. Just like bananas, they take time to ripen. Coach Stephen Silas is known for developing young players. His most prized student is the star player for that team in South Oklahoma up 45. Number 77 for that team credited Silas with helping him realize his All-Pro potential while Silas was a part of the coaching staff there. To a man, all his former players credit him with being a positive influence on their careers. So why are fans in a rush to get rid of him?

When you look at the Rockets' record over the last few years, it's gross. Sure, they've been a lottery team the last couple of seasons, but that was by design. As part of the Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook trades, they gave away pick swap rights. Had they not been that bad, they wouldn't have been able to draft Green or Smith Jr. Those two guys are building blocks for the future, along with KPJ. Giving those picks away would've put this team further down the totem pole of developing themselves into a contender. Losing pays off when you can hit on high lottery picks.

If you give a chef dirt, bread, ham, molded cheese, and spoiled mayo, can you expect anything else but a nasty ham sandwich? How about if the chef was given a steak that is almost rotten, potatoes with root growth, and spoiled butter? Could you expect a better meal than the sandwich? Yes! However, that meal may still cause a stomachache. Now, give said chef a full complement of gourmet groceries and guess what you'll get?

This is why I say let Silas cook. He's the perfect coach for this group of kids. He can teach them all the fundamentals of the game at this level and help them grow into their full potential. If there's a change to be made on the sidelines, move Silas into a front office role, but DO NOT get rid of him! Guys like him are too valuable. Why do you think Mark Cuban hated losing him, but knew he couldn't retain him because he had a head coach already? Cuban knew what he had in Silas and what Silas did for Luka Doncic. He can do something similar for the Rockets if given the time to work his magic.

Should Tilman Fertita find the need to move on, I'd look for a more experienced coach who can guide them from bottom of the playoff ladder into top four in the West and real contenders. For now, Silas is the head chef. Continue giving him the groceries he needs, and he'll continue giving these kids the lessons they need to develop. Changing the coach now could stunt their growth. Let him cook!

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