The Olympics tend to be entertaining on many levels, but none moreso than for what commentators do to the English language.

For example, you can have eight women carrying the Olympic flag – representing “fraternity”. But the best stuff comes from action. Verbs. Anything can become a verb. I have almost gotten used to “medal” being a verb (“He medalled twice in Salt Lake City…”), and there are inventive hockey play-by-play usages (“He wristed a shot from the slot past the Italian goalie…”). And last evening while watching cross-country skiing, it was all about the hammer. Now, I have no problem with hammering a nail or putting the hammer down, or even the Canadian women’s hockey team hammering the Italians, Russians, and Swedes, but when women are skiing and the announcer notes that “these women really have to hammer”, I start to get confused and amused.

Ahh, the Olympics. Birthing gerunds since 776 B.C…

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