A few questions to ponder after watching 17 days of the NBC Torino Winter Games and Commercials, which were occasionally interrupted by Olympic competition:

1. Just wondering: Did Johnny Weir raid Liberace's closet, or did he just borrow his costumes from Elton John?

2. When the stands at Torino are half empty (or half full) and TV viewers are tuning in "O.C." or "CSI" instead of the Olympics, is it really a good idea to have the Summer or Winter Games every two years?

3. Is it possible people don't think that skeleton and that alpine sniper event is compelling viewing?

4. Fleeting thought while listening to interviews with the snowboard Olympians: Do they compete in the half pipe, or is that what they're smoking?

5. Why does the snowboarders' lexicon sound more like a late-night snack binge than maneuvers they perform, i.e. Chicken salad air, Canadian bacon air, McTwist, pop tart, Swiss cheese air, roast-beef air, McEgg?

6. Was that ice dancing or a Victoria's Secret special?

7. If they combined speedskating's big track with short track's head-to-head competition, wouldn't they have a better spectator sport — one that matches skaters against skaters, rather than the clock, on a track that consists of more than left-hand turns? And what are we to make of relay teams that skate in OPPOSITE directions?

8. Housekeepers want to know: Do the guys with the curling brooms do kitchen floors, too?

9. Given the current climate, is it only a matter of time before men's pairs ice dancing debuts in the Olympics?

10. If, as Bryant Gumbel put it, the "paucity of blacks" hurts the Winter Games' credibility, does the paucity of whites hurt the NBA and NFL?

11. Given the paucity of skeleton competitors in the world — a k a people who fly down the hill on cafeteria trays — why is it in the Olympic Games? Is the addition of tubing inevitable?

12. Should any event in which an "athlete's" performance consists entirely of lying flat on his stomach or back be an Olympic sport?

13. Is it really a good idea to launch ski aerialists 50 feet into the air without a net? Shouldn't this act be in the circus?

14. When a snowboarder can fall on her keister, get back up and still win the silver medal, does it mean something is wrong with snowboard cross?

15. What does it say about the influence of judging on the Olympics — and the influence of the crowd on judges — when Americans win 34 medals in Salt Lake and 25 in Torino? Or that, with the exception of Switzerland in 1928, every country has improved its medal count from the previous Olympics when it hosts the Games?

16. Could Americans have embarrassed themselves any more if they had tried — from Jeret Peterson getting sent home early for fighting after a night of partying to Lindsey Jacobellis's hotdog fall at the finish to the Hedrick-Davis spat to Bode Miller's 0-for-5, 3-DQ whiff on the mountain and his hard partying off of it ("I just want to go out and rock. And man, I rocked here . . . I got to party and socialize at an Olympic level") to Johnny Weir saying he's "princessy" about his travel accommodations (needs a cleaner room, softer bed, limo service) and explaining his poor performance by saying, "I didn't feel my aura. I was black inside"?

17. Weren't you glad there were athletes like Joey Cheek, Apolo Ohno, Ted Ligety and Lindsey Kildow, whose performances, guts, sportsmanship and comportment restored a little American pride?

18. Why isn't basketball part of the Winter Games?

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19. What possible advantage would a skeleton "athlete" gain by taking steroids?

20. Will Sasha Cohen someday turn herself into a human pretzel?


E-mail: drob@desnews.com