Vancouver Olympics

Winter Olympics, I barely knew you

So there was this little sporting contest on last week in Vancouver. They called it the "Winter Olympics". It's just like the Summer Olympics except it's all rich white people from the Northern Hemisphere.

I guess it's my general lack of experience with snow and ice but I can't get enormously excited by the Winter Olympics. It all seems kinda contrived, increasingly made-up, as compared to the ancient and almost-elemental human skills which form the core of the Summer Olympics: running, jumping, throwing, lifting, swimming, wrestling.

I mean, how did the luge even get invented? Let alone curling. Winter sports are leisure sports, things people with money can afford to do. They represent not only far less geographic diversity than the Summer games but less class diversity as well. And way less teams sports. Only ice hockey is a "big (ie. more than four members) team sport, and the only others I can  think of off the top of my head are curling, speed skating relays, a couple of cross-country team variants, various forms of sledding and figure skating/ice dancing, if you count two as a "team". While I'm here, ice dancing so clearly isn't a sport. I mean, just unpack the name. "Dancing". I rest my case.

Some of the recent additions to the Winter Olympics like snowboarding and aerials are undoubtedly pretty cool, but what I'd really like to see is some combining of the disciplines. Why are cross-country skiing and shooting, of all things, along with super-combined in downhill, the only combined disciplines? Why not a triathlon involving downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and speed-skating? You could even throw a jump in for good measure. That would be a really amazing set of combined athletic skills and a good winter analog for the summer triathlon. A downhill relay would be pretty amazing too.

Speaking of downhill, I love that they have events called the Slalom, Super Slalom and Super-Giant Slalom. Who was in charge of naming these, a seven year-old? I can't wait for them to add the Mega Enormous Super Giant Slalom at future Olympics.

It did make me happy to see Canada defeat the US for gold in ice hockey. It's "their" sport (although in Canada it's just "hockey", the ice goes without saying) and it's always lovely to see a country go deliriously happy for a little while. Kinda like how I can never begrudge New Zealand their victories over Australia in rugby. I always think, let them have this one, it means so much to them. Canada kinda rocked out in general, winning more gold medals than any nation had in a single games previously. The US team was also happy, winning the most medals overall, also the most ever. And Australia had our best winter games ever, with two gold and a silver, so that's nice. Yay us.

But really, I just couldn't get all that excited.