Thursday, February 16, 2006

Summer vs. Winter Olympics

Sorry, folks, I don't know what's been wrong with me. I guess I haven't been in much of a ranting mood recently. Dunno why. Am I getting old and mellow? Feeling relaxed? Content with the world?

Hell no!

So, after some tv viewing got my blood boiling again, here is another off-the -cuff rant. Enjoy.

So, the other day, I had a debate with a couple of friends about the Winter Olympics; specifically, how it (woefully) compares to the Summer Games.

Don't get me wrong, I like winter sports and the Winter Olympics in general, but I just think it lacks variety. See, just about every competition can be broken down into three categories, with very few exceptions: skiing of some sort, skating of some sort, track sliding of some sort. I haven't taken a look at a list of every winter event, but they seem to be pretty limited in scope to me. I mean, they take one sport, say cross-country skiing, and they make 15 events out of it with every possible combination of skiers and distances they can come up with (1x5km, 1x10km, 1x15km, 2x10km, 1x5km biathlon, 1x10km biathlon, pursuits, classical vs free etc etc). My friend argued that the Summer Games suffer from the same repetitive themes, what with the numerous running events in the track schedule. Sure, 4x400m relay may seem kinda silly, but that is a fraction of one event that makes up a fraction of track that makes up a fraction of the Summer Games. Even the track events aren't repetitive: you've got running, jumping, throwing, vaulting and hurdling events. When you break it down, even those aren't repetitive - there's a huge difference between javelin and shot-put, for example, both "throwing" sports. And while the Winter Games have all sorts of "combined" events, the only combining you'll see in the Summer Games is for things like the decathlon (10 freaking events, son!).

And don't get me started on the luge/skeleton crap. Two-man luge? What the f**k is that? It isn't bad enough that you are making up new sports by simply flipping the rider either facing forward or on his back, you have to add riders? What for? The other day, a two-man luge team wiped out. The one guy on the bottom (poor bastard) actually knocked himself unconscious. The "team" managed to slide down the rest of the course and come to a safe stop. The top guy sat up and kind of shock his head dejectedly. All the while, his buddy is still lying there, out like a light.


How many sports do you know can be played where one member of the team is UNCONSCIOUS?? This is a sport?!

But my main point in this friendly debate was that the Summer Games have sports to spare that could easily be transferred to the Winter Games. Volleyball, for one. Here you have an indoor sport, not specifically associated with the summer, that can be featured in the Winter Olympics and break up the ice and snow monotony. Weightlifting? Gymnastics? Same thing.

Wouldn't it be neat to go from speed skating to the balance beam and not just from short to long track?

Of course, I could go on and on about how judged sports like gymnastics, figure skating and even free style ski jumping are not sports at all (skills - yes, sports - no) and have no place in the Olympics to begin with, but if you're going to shove the parallel bars down my throat, at least put it after curling to break up this Winter Olympics monotony.

Thank goodness for men's hockey or I would have tuned out long ago.

Which brings me to my next rant...

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