I LOVE the Olympics – always have since I can remember. Confession: I like the Summer Games better only because I grew up in a state that hasn’t seen much snow until recently, something I believe has to do with climate change, although the wise cracks out there would say it’s proof that global warming is a hoax. Having grown up in a balmy state, the only skiing I did was on the water, not ice, although I once went snow skiing in Tennessee as a 12 year old on fake snow which, as I recall, resembled white astroturf. I didn’t like the experience of skiing much, but I had fun falling.
And while I prefer the Summer Games, I do enjoy some of the Winter Olympic events, and some not so much. Here are the things I like followed by the events I dislike along with some snide commentary sprinkled in for good measure.
WHAT I LIKE:
Speed Skating. But not the long skates because I get dizzy after watching them go round and round and round. It’s a little like NASCAR, but I don’t watch for the wipeouts. I don’t enjoy the “agony of defeat” moments.
Short Track. It’s a little like roller skating, which is something I did as a teenager. I enjoy the speed involved and the fact that it’s a short, tight circle. And I dig those amphibian gloves they wear, which work like ski poles. It’s odd, though, not to see Apolo Ohno competing. Retired at 31. Short-track is for youngsters.
Ski Jumping. It’s like flying, and that’s the ultimate for me. I love anything to do with flying – as a passenger in an airplane, flying a kite or watching birds in flight. One of the most spectacular dreams I ever had was one in which I was soaring like a eagle. I do, however, have bouts of vertigo driving over bridges, and climbing or elevatoring to the tops of tall buildings.
Bobsleding. It looks like fun and reminds me a bit of those soap box derby races I recall as a kid.
Luge. Pure insanity. Lugers are fearless. The doubles event, though, is a little silly.
Skeleton. Head first sledding. Probably the most dangerous event, at least it seems so to me. And like Ski Jumping, the thing I would like to try once. I actually have gone down a hill on a sled head first without a helmet as a kid, but the hill was one of snow not ice. Skeleton is not on my bucket list because I value my bones, so much so that I’ve only broken one in my life.
Snowboarding. Why not? A little X games injected into the Olympics to keep the ratings up among the Gen X and Y crowd. And really, who even skis on two skis anymore but old farts? I wonder if they sell Red Bull and Monster in Sochi?
Downhill Skiing. Pretty much what I think of when I think of the Winter Olympics, Downhill and Ski Jumping.
Figure Skating. Grace and athleticism – gymnastics on ice. It’s a bit like going to the circus.
WHAT I DON’T LIKE:
Cross Country Skiing. It’s just a little boring and takes too long.
Hockey. I don’t like hockey mostly because I didn’t grow up playing or watching it. I don’t know the rules and the fights remind me of Championship Wrestling. I’ll watch it though.
Curling. There’s a certain zen quality to it, but it is extraordinarily silly, almost cartoonish. To you curling aficionados, you are correct – I don’t know what I’m talking about.
NEW EVENTS I’D LIKE TO SEE:
Synchronized Ice-Fishing. Fishing with a twist. The idea is to catch a fish at exactly the same time as your partner.
Snowmobile Racing. A little like drag racing. Two machines going head to head down a track.
Snow Ball Throwing. Lots of possibilities here. Longest throw. Fastest throw. Accuracy, like hitting a target.
Sliding. This is one where you run as fast a you can and then when you hit the line, you slide. The one who slides the farthest, wins. A few points for style could be awarded too. No blades, boards or skis allowed. “Athletes” could use any kind of shoe they want.
Ice Diving. The object is to stay under the icy water for as long as possible, but not too long.
Heavy Equipment. Like Snow Ball Throwing, there are lots of possibilities here – snow removal competition, tractor pulls, snow piling and sculpting events and of course cross country snow plowing. I was also thinking that the heavy machine operators/athletes could each design a course for the snowboarders with the most challenging design, which the snowboarders would have to compete on, taking the Gold.