My assessment of Winter Olympic sports

I’m not really that into who wins or loses the medal count in the Winter Olympics (although I find it interesting that the BBC puts Canada at the top of the leader board because of number of golds, while ESPN puts USA at the top because of total medals. I wonder if ESPN would put USA at the top if the medal totals were switched. It seems more American to praise winners rather than top 3 finishers, doesn’t it? Americans are, after all, the ones who denigrate soccer because of the ties, right? We also don’t like soccer because the MLS doesn’t feature the best in the world, while the NBA and MLB do. So why do we even count silver and bronze medals?). But I do know what makes for good sports…

Underrated sports:

1. Biathlon–Why are Americans so bad at this sport? They’re not bad at cross-country skiing. And Americans are known for loving guns and rifles. No matter, it’s a great sport, especially the events that have penalty laps. The lead is never safe and different athletes have different stategies. Do you shoot fast or slow? Do you pace yourself in the snow early to be more accurate on the range? Do you draft, or would you rather lead?

And here’s the ultimate indicator. Does it pass the underwear test? This is my test that rates sports by taking the top 50 finishers and stripping them down to their underwear. How impressive are these 10 people? I say biathlon might win over all the sports in both olympics (other contenders include water polo, decathlon/heptathlon, freestyle wrestling). Considering that these people have to be able to control their heart rate as well as their lung capacity, leg strength, arm strength, etc., so that their heart beat doesn’t disturb their shooting, and I suggest these might be the greatest athletes in the world. Every muscle must be strong and lean, especially the heart.

Incidentally, I also could love the modern pentathlon in the summer games. However I think the chance that you might lose if you end up with a bad horse greatly affects its greatness. Get rid of the horse and I’ll trust the results more.

2. Ski cross — jumps + nerves of steel + spectacular crashes + knowing when to pass = riveting viewing. The BBC announcers were having a great time watching these races. They were laughing at how excited they were. It also looks as fun as any of the sports in the Olympics. It reminds me of ski trips in high school, when my teenaged body was indestructible.

3. Curling — Curling is one of those sports that is interesting even if you don’t know much about it, since you can spend several hours trying to learn what’s going through the players’ minds. I also really like snooker for the same reason. They’re like chess, in that the player has to think several steps ahead, but unlike chess they take some physical abilities. That is, you could be a great computer chess player and still be a great chess player. But a great computer curler or snooker player means almost nothing on the actual playing field.

On the other hand, the curlers would probably lose the underwear test. The middle aged Canadian superstar men’s curler is a great athlete, but would I be surprised if he needed quadruple bypass surgery next week? No, I wouldn’t.

Overrated sports:

1. Anything with snowboards — maybe it’s because I’m a skier, but I just don’t really get excited about snowboards. The snowboard cross is pretty fun, but I think the ski cross beats it hands down. Perhaps it’s because the poles and sharper skis make it seem more dangerous.

I will say that the halfpipe was pretty fun, but only because Shaun White is amazing. If it weren’t for White, I wonder if anyone would care. The jumps all look about the same to me. Add the fact that judges determine the winners and I lose interest.

2. Aerial ski jumping — It was interesting its first year, but no longer.

3. Luge, bobsled, skeleton — My condolences to the Georgian luger who died on the dangerous track, but the fact that a sport can be so dangerous and so boring makes the luge the worst sport imaginable. I wonder how exciting it must be to watch these sports live. You probably can see about 20 yards of track wherever you might be sitting and the luger is zooming past you at 90 miles an hour. That means you see each competitor for a half a second per run. Also consider that a mannequin could finish the race. If you could lose to a mannequin, the sport isn’t that great.

The bobsled seems like it might take some more skill to be the best, and the guys on the bobsled teams look like they could do well in the underwear test. However, the three guys in the back don’t seem all that important to me. How much slower would the winning team be if I replaced one of the middle guys? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think we might still medal; we certainly wouldn’t be the worst team. Replace me with one of the members of the best biathlon relay team and I guarantee a last place finish.

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One Response to “My assessment of Winter Olympic sports”

  1. naynotes Says:

    Nice Nice Nice…Blog

    Thank You

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