Winter Olympics

I’m sorry folks, but I just can not get into the Winter Olympics. I should preface this [rant] by saying I grew up outside of Atlanta, so ice and snow are quite foreign to me. It was rare that I even met someone who had ever been skiing (water skiing doesn’t count).

The Winter Games feature far too many competitions that are either a) boring, b) not sports or c) determined by judges.

Am I really supposed to believe that bobsledders are brilliant athletes because they lean into turns to shave 0.02 seconds off their time? It’s like having a competition to see who can get down the playground slide the fastest. What’s next? Log flume races? A roller coaster competition?

Then there’s curling, another non-sport. Look, if you can excel at something while elderly or inebriated, it is not a sport (that goes for you too, Bowling). I understand that it is a game of millimeters and it requires precision and whatnot, but so does Billiards. Billiards has not made it to the summer games because the summer games are full of real sports and do not need all of this filler to draw fans.

Then there is the biathlon, which is the equivalent of the marathon race in the Summer Olympics, except with firearms(?). Involving firearms in an athletic competition is like NASCAR–the car/gun does all the work! I’ve heard the argument that race car drivers are athletes because they “have to train a lot” and “go on a special diet.” You know who else has to go on a special diet? Supermodels! Marksmen can’t even claim that. I’m sure there is at least one severely overweight, unathletic marksman in the world.

But, at least the above events are not decided by judges.

If you win something because you received the highest score(s) from a panel of judges, you do not deserve a medal; you deserve a blue ribbon. And up next on the winter games, the science fair qualifying event! I realize that the summer Olympics has its share of events determined by judges (diving, gymnastics), but the Winter Olympics seems to have a lot more of these events. Figure skating and gymnastics fall under the same category for me. It’s a high-end dance competition determined by judges. I don’t care what anyone says, judges are biased (and they can be paid off). If you have a difficult routine, and you don’t make any mistakes, who is to judge who actually won the competition? Does it really come down to who pointed their toes? Up next here on NBC, it’s Ice Dancing With the Stars–Olympic Edition! I’m Tom Bergeron; don’t touch that dial.. I’m not disparaging the competitors in this case (because gymnasts, snowboarders, aerial skiers, and divers are all athletes, unlike curlers), but I don’t think an Olympic competition should be decided by judges.

Why is it that snowboarding has made it into the Winter Olympics, but skateboarding has not made it into the Summer Games? Again, it is because the Summer Olympics does not need all of this filler to draw viewers/interest. They can afford to be “choosy” when it comes to allowing new sports. Don’t get me wrong, I think Shaun White is nothing short of a badass. I think he would win no matter how the competition was set up.

If you run a 100m footrace, then you have a chance of breaking the world record, but if you ride down the super halfpipe on a snowboard while doing flips, you can only win for that day. There is no universal standard you can hold someone up to. You can’t call Guinness after receiving a high score on a judged event, because you haven’t really accomplished anything definite.

So here’s what the Winter Olympics have that I’ll watch: speed skating, hockey, and the different ski races. Pretty sad list.



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2 Comments

  1. Martha
    Martha02-27-2010

    Very interesting essay! I love the Winter Olympics, but I share your thoughts about judges. Funny — when I was watching the ladies’ figure skating wrap up I kept thinking about the pitfalls of a judged competition (based on a bunch of experts’ opinions) versus one based on time and actual first place finishers. And I was reminded of the 2002 pairs figure skating scandal that illustrates your point about corruption and payoffs quite well.
    It’s even stranger when the way the judges score abruptly changes. I personally thought the new scoring system for the halfpipe this year was B.S., but what do I know …
    .-= Martha´s last blog ..Hilton Head Island =-.

  2. Eric
    Eric02-27-2010

    Yeah thats pretty much how I feel too. This being the first year I actually really sat down to watch this stuff. I had fun rooting for the US curling team and I’ll have fun next time when they have Norm Duke wearing a parka and rolling strikes down an frosty lane for America!
    .-= Eric´s last blog ..PORTFOLIO =-.

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