SOCHI, Russia -- It isn't enough that Olympic athletes ride the rails with skill and verve, get to the bottom of the course faster than the rest of the field or even hurl stones with reasonable accuracy down a sheet of ice.
That's just not sufficient any longer.
How about adding singing, dancing and lip syncing to the Olympic motto of faster, higher, stronger?
In the realm of parody videos, it all really picked up momentum two years ago at the Summer Games in London. USA Swimming's video, a visual rendition of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe," went viral just before the Games, a byproduct of the vision of Olympic swimmers Kathleen Hersey, Caitlin Leverenz and Alyssa Anderson, and USA Swimming staffer Mark Russell.
The parody was fun, catchy and featured a cameo by swim icon Michael Phelps and displayed the sparkling personality of Missy Franklin. And let's face it: that was the song of the summer, feeling like cotton candy, light and sticky.
Even if you don't like the song, it doesn't really go away.
The good news: It has served as inspiration.
The bad news: It has served as inspiration.
First, the good. Thumbs up to the pre-Christmas effort, a tribute to "All I Want for Christmas," by the U.S. lugers, filmed on the World Cup circuit and shot in Norway, Austria, Germany, Canada and the United States.
"We do a video every season with all the athletes, but this year we decided to do a Christmas edition music video," luger Kate Hansen of La Cañada, explained on vimeo. "It's always a fun thing to do because it brings the athletes together, and it always provides comic relief especially during all the Olympic trial stress."
The silver medal goes to U.S. women's ski team, a jam session inspired by the music of Katy Perry.
"When we travel the world skiing some of the most amazing places, sometimes you need to focus on the fun to get the results," said alpine ski star Julia Mancuso on youtube.com. "Happy girls ski fast…. Katy Perry's lyrics inspire us to be fast and have lots of fun."
You can just see a coffee house tour as the next stop for Julia and friends. Unplugged sessions.
Not quite making the podium was the most recent entry in the video arms race from the U.S. women's curling team: "What Does the Skip Say?"
It weighs in at an extended 3 minutes and 42 seconds, and feels even longer. Maybe it helps to be a fan of the men initially responsible, the two Norwegian brothers Ylvis, whose video "What Does the Fox Say?" exploded on the Internet.
Re-titled "What Does the Skip Say?," it is a send- up of skipper Erika Brown and her method of persuasion and exhortation.
So, "What does the Skip Say?" "Yup-yup-yup-yup-yup-yup-yup!"
It has pulled in 27,500-plus views, and could easy double as a song for nursery-school kids. Kinder rock.
The bottom line is that enough people liked it, so you can guess there will be future videos by curling teams and other squads in future Olympics.
These are the modern-day versions of unity and bonding sessions.
Team leaders now have to ask: Can you hit the high note?