Sunday, February 19, 2006

Winter Olympics

This weekend I watched some of the Winter Olympics or at least I tried too. Between the choppy coverage, phony announcers and contrived sports, I have to say that I found the entire experience painful. I am going to have to concur with Bryant Gumbel when he said:

"...So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the winter games look like a GOP convention. Try not to point out that something’s not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what’s called a kiss-and-cry area, while some panel of subjective judges decides who won. And try to blot out all logic when announcers and sportswriters pretend to care about the luge, the skeleton, the biathlon and all those other events they don’t understand and totally ignore for all but three weeks every four years. Face it — these Olympics are little more than a marketing plan to fill space and sell time during the dreary days of February...."

I'm unsure about the relevance of his GOP simile, but everything else that he said is right on the money. Clearly, the International Olympic Organization is going to have to make significant changes to the events if they have any hope of maintaining their audience. Fortunately, I have come up with several ideas that should help them get back on track.


Curling is a sport that requires its participants slide a puck, known as the stone, across a length of ice and into a scoring circle, referred to as the house. As the stone traverses the ice, two fluffers precede the stone and smooth the path with silly-ass sticks. The net result is that you have a 2.5 hour match that is as stimulating as an intravenous thorazine injection to the aorta.

I feel that curling would be much more exciting with a few minor modifications, First, the stone needs to be replaced with a more challenging object, like Oprah Winfrey. Then, the fluffers would tie Ho-Ho's to the end of their sticks and attempt to lure Oprah down the ice. Points would be awarded for getting Oprah in da house, while points would be subtracted for each fluffer eaten by Oprah. The team with most points would win, while the losing team would be consoled then consumed by Oprah.


The biathlon is composed of two sports; cross-country skiing and shooting. Basically, a skier slogs through the snow for awhile, shoots for awhile, and slogs some more. Penalties are assessed for missed targets, which translates to more slogging that is required of the contestant. The skier who slogs the fastest wins. Neither activity is particularly interesting to watch and the amalgamation of the two is even less so.

I suggest that they dispense with the shooting aspect of the event entirely, since it only slows down a
n already tedious process. Also, hitting fixed targets with a scoped .22 rifle at a little over 50 yards is not terribly difficult. (I don't like guns, but I've repeatedly hit a quarter with a scoped .22 at 100 yards.) Instead, I think that the introduction of a more personal type of marksmanship would make the event more exciting for the audience and we would gain a whole new level of respect for female biathletes.


The Luge event is comprised of a participant or a pair of participants riding a sled down a frozen track. The contestant who traverses the course in the shortest time wins. Initially, this event is interesting, but after the third contestant has raced, the novelty quickly wears off. Although I'm sure the athlete plays a significant role in dictating the elapsed time, the interaction between the ice and sled seems to be the controlling factor.

Personally, I believe that the use of sleds should be strictly prohibited. This would allow the contest to be decided solely on the basis of the athletic attributes of the participants. The uniforms of the lugers could be easily modified to accomodate this and I have included a new uniform prototype below for reference.

With the institution of these improvements, I have no doubt that the Winter Olympics can be restored to its former glory. If not, there is still time to combine speed skating, ice dancing, and roller derby.


At 9:21 PM, Blogger elcapitanhink said...

Hey hey. No bashing the curling. I'd have you know that it is a great umm, pastime. I happen to be a proponent of the world's best drinking, which also happens to be based on curling:

Rule #1: Everyone consumes a pint of Belhaven's Wee Heavy every time a stoon hits another stoon (take out).
Rule #2: Last to finish their pint from #1 has to take two fingers of single malt before the next end.
Rule #3: Failure to complete stipulation #2 results in a good kicking, preferably with curling brooms.
Rule #4: Try not an' goo hoom wi' a goot or your sister.

At 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Olympics: 'Games' vs. Sports. You've hit on a number of issues that always make me wonder at this time of year.

Curling is basically pool on ice. Pool is also pretty boring on TV but it's still more interesting than curling. But why is it that curling makes it into the Olympics but not pool? Just because curling happens to be done in the cold? By that logic we should have shuffleboard in the Summer Olympics.

And figure skating, don't get me started. And you notice that rollerblade dancing doesn't make it into the Summer Olympics? And there is a diff between blades and rollers, fundamentally? The Harding/Kerrigan incident is when they should have jettisoned that ridiculous event permanently.

As for Gumbel's quote, it reminds me of the old (and now outdated) joke: Why don't black men play golf? Because they don't want to dominate yet another sport. I think the Olympics are another example of upper-class white priviledge. Rich Sally takes ice skating lessons, but rollerblading or pool is too low-class.

OK, I'm taking a deep breath now. ;)

At 10:12 PM, Blogger Linda linda said...

oh shit. maybe i should erase my latest post? i guess you will be throwing rocks at me as i roller blade by....

At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The winter olympics, in an attempt to be less boring, have begun to be more X-games-like: the addition of snowboard cross, motocross on ice. I would like to see this extended to luge-cross and bobsled cross.

I love the olympics but I only watch the events where the chance of injury is high or the women's event where the participants are hot (therefore, I caught a little curling this time).


At 10:42 AM, Blogger TheIdleReceptionist said...

I like your idea of olympic pee writing.

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Jen said...

I can't comprehend how they decide what sports should be "Olympic sports." Snowboarding in, cool. Curling in, not cool. Baseball and softball out, really not cool.

At 3:01 PM, Anonymous bekah said...

Is the hairy back a requirement to the new rules of luge, or are you only referring to the chaps?

At 7:12 PM, Blogger tfg said...

Now that would be a great summer event: throwing javelins at rollerbladers.

At 8:46 PM, Blogger paige3girl said...

I just want the Office back on Thursday nights... I have watched the Valetine's episode on Tivo 3 times because I miss Dwight.

At 11:09 AM, Blogger chunky monkey said...

I, too, initially mocked the biathlon since it seemed just a way to introduce a James Bond-ian skill to the Olympics.

However, my husband did point out that an accelerated heartbeat (which would be had by the fast-paced skiing) can throw off shooting and therefore, being both accurate and fast while skiing was actually quite skillful (yes, he's a Bond fan).

At 11:11 AM, Blogger chunky monkey said...

And oh my gosh that is the most horrible hairy assless pants man pic I've ever seen.

At 10:41 PM, Blogger tfg said...

Are there any good hairy assless pants man pictures?

At 11:19 AM, Blogger chunky monkey said...



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