2.23.2010

Scattered Thoughts on the Winter Olympics


I am pretty much an Olympics junkie. I definitely prefer the Summer Olympics to the Winter Games, but I have still tried to watch as much as possible over the last several days despite being pretty busy with other things.

A few scattered observations:

While there are some sports that I don’t care much about, and others that I don’t even think are remotely sport-like (I’m looking at you Ice Dancing), there are a few Winter Olympic events that I really enjoy:
  • Curling is an easy sport to make fun of (“Ooh, the way he swept that ice was so impressive”), and if you randomly decided to take up a sport so that you could go to the Olympics, I think it might be your best bet, but I really like watching it. I think there is a good deal of strategy involved, and I’m probably somewhat impressed with it because it combines elements of three other sports/games that I like but am not good at: pool, horseshoes, and shuffleboard.
  • I think short track speed skating is maybe the most intense event to watch because at any time any of the competitors can fall without even making a mistake (if someone else collides with them). I certainly don’t understand all of the rules (I still don’t know why J.R. Celski was disqualified the other night instead of the Canadian guy who was trying to spoon him), but I think it’s a lot of fun to watch and the drama of Apolo Ohno vs. the South Koreans just adds to the excitement.
  • I really enjoy all of the snowboarding events as well. I’ve never been snowboarding before, but I know it’s not easy, and the way the athletes are able to maneuver around turns and over jumps or, alternatively, perform tricks in the halfpipe blows me away.
• • •

Speaking of snowboarding, Shaun White seems to dominate his sport about as much as Usain Bolt dominates his—basically, if either of these guys perform anywhere near their best, no one else seems to have much of a chance.

White already had the gold medal locked up in the halfpipe by a wide margin when he decided to try out a new trick—a “Double McTwist 1260”—in his final run. He landed it successfully (the first time it had ever been done in competition), scored a 48.4 (out of 50), and took home his second consecutive gold medal in the event.

In addition to his innovative tricks, the thing that sets White apart is how high he gets on his jumps. At one point NBC overlapped footage of White with another top rider to show how much higher Shaun gets and it wasn’t even close.

• • •

I know that the only ice involved in basketball is what comes in the cups at the concession stands, but it is technically a winter sport (at least in the U.S., but we invented it so we should know), and I think it would be a great addition for the Winter Games.

In the Summer Olympics, despite showcasing some of the greatest and most famous athletes in the world, basketball is pretty much an afterthought and takes a backseat to the other events like Track and Field and Swimming. If you moved it to the Winter Olympics, though, it would be huge, and would immediately become one of the premiere events.

I realize doing this would interrupt the NBA schedule, but it works with the NHL, so it seems like it could work with basketball too. Besides, who cares about the NBA until after March Madness is over anyway?

• • •

Was anyone else really happy when the U.S. beat Canada in hockey?

Canadians care about hockey more than any other sport, and within the context of hockey, care more about beating the United States than any other team. Americans, on the other hand, rarely think about hockey, and most of us didn’t even realize that the entire 2004-2005 NHL season was canceled because of labor disputes (no really, it was).

And still, we won.

I know I probably shouldn’t have experienced so much smugness from the victory, but I really couldn’t help myself.

5 comments:

MONIKA 2/24/10, 1:14 AM  

Your post complementing the fact that your are an Olympics junkie. Very nice observation and thanks for sharing with us. I am watching the shows in Dish TV.

MrsDockery 2/25/10, 12:41 PM  

Nothing is getting done at our house because Will is watching Olympics all day...and night...and technically early in the morning. And Basketball doesn't qualify as a Winter Olympic sport because it isn't traditionally played on snow or ice. I think we should submit Snow Ultimate as a potential sport though.

Luke 2/26/10, 11:16 AM  

MONIKA,

I also watch the Olympics on Dish Network…maybe if you comment again you won't feel the need to advertise for them?

Luke 2/26/10, 11:29 AM  

Mrs. D,

I know that technically it has to be played on snow or ice, but I think that's stupid.

Besides, it also technically has to be a sport, yet we end up with things like ice dancing and curling which, I'm sorry, but just aren't sports (even though I like to watch curling, it's no more of a sport than horseshoes, pool or shuffleboard).

So basically, either they should enforce the whole requirement and only let real sports in, or they should let it slide and let all winter "sports" in.

MrsDockery 2/26/10, 2:02 PM  

They are called the Olympic GAMES, but I am totally with you on the sport vs. game issue in general.

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