Saturday, February 13, 2010


There's no question about why we like the Summer Olympics. Watching the most talented athletes in the world run track and jump on the trampoline and swim at the speed of light is exhilarating. But I've been realizing lately that the appeal of the Winter Olympics is completely different. Don't get me wrong, these athletes are incredibly talented, too. But I think the reason we like to watch the Winter Olympics is not because of the sheer physical strength of the athletes, but because we think, "hey, I could do that!" A few examples:

1. The bobsled and the luge. Obviously competition gets pretty fierce on these. But if you think about it, 95% of the sport involves sitting very still while the vehicle you're in plummets downward of its own accord thanks to gravity. There has to be more skill involved than that, I'm sure, but never having attempted either sport myself, how do I know that I don't have those skills? Until proven otherwise, I'm going to be mad at my parents for not raising me in a snowy environment with a bobsled track in the backyard, causing my hidden luge talent to go undiscovered for 22 years.

2. Curling. Right, so this is my favorite sport ever. The first time I turned on the TV and watched it, I thought they were spending an abnormally long time filming somebody cleaning the ice rink with a broom. I'm still kind of fuzzy on what the object of the sport is (it's been four years since I watched it -- yes, I'm fickle and only watch winter sports when the Olympics come around), but it's hilarious and awesome and I can't wait to see more of it.

3. Ice dancing. There's no doubt that figure skating involves a heck of a lot of skill. But something I've never understood is ice dancing. Yeah, so it focuses on musical interpretation and flair, blah blah. Translation: it's the easy version of pairs skating. I'm pretty sure whoever invented this sport probably dreamed of being a skater but couldn't land his/her triple Axel to save his/her life. I hate to break it to you, ice dancers, but you are far more boring to watch than the other skaters.

Side note: I have been skiing at Whistler, which is the mountain outside of Vancouver where the outdoor events are taking place. So when you watch the ski jumpers, just imagine me in their place and you will have an accurate portrait of my high school ski trip.

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