The Commish’s Guide to the Winter Olympics
Now that the games have officially started (except in California where the opening ceremonies have been tape delayed just so they can squeeze a few more million out of Budweiser), and most of these so-called “sports” aren’t in the American consciousness during non-Olympic years, I feel compelled to offer my Guide to the Olympic Quasi-sports, including my level of “sport” with Rollerball (the James Caan version, not the Marky Mark version) getting a 10, and taking a dump (or rhythmic gymnastics or ice dancing) getting a 1.
Alpine Skiing – AKA “Go that way. If something gets in your way, turn.” Mostly, this consists of western Euros and Americans zooming down 60 degree slopes trying not to die. Couldn’t you win the downhill simply by rolling all the way down, like Bullwinkle? Or in some form of hamster ball, like you were in a giant game of Marble Madness? The slalom, Giant Slalom, and Super G all involve turns in increasing difficulty, though nobody knows what order and if the skier actually is on the proper side of the gate. My biggest complaint here is that the gates are made out of Giant Pixie Stix and actually bend when the skier pushes them with his hands. This is supposed to be a test of tight turning ability… ? Make those fucking gates out of tetherball poles and we’ll see who can turn the sharpest. Can you imagine the GONG sound of a guy hitting a gate then? Now that would be a sport. My way = 9, the real way = 3
Biathlon – Cross Country skiing and rifle shooting. Seriously, it sounds like a good test, if we’re thinking of invading Siberia. But a sport? If they add chugging a beer at every station, you’d basically have “getting dinner” in Canada. Either way = 4
Bobsled – I’m not big on driving being a sport, especially when gravity is the primary accelerant. Oh sure, they have that whole running start thing that always results in some major wipeout and a bobsled making it to the bottom sans occupants. But that’s part of the problem. See, this is a sport like Soapbox Derby or Pinewood Derby (remember Boy Scouts?) is a sport. If you made them go down the track six at a time and a good start got you the hole shot, maybe it’s more of a sport. Or had more tetherball poles as obstacles (notice a trend?). As is, it’s a 2 (and Nascar is a 3 or 4)
Cross-Country – Skiing on the flats. Wow. Next, walking up a hill will be an Olympic Sport. I’m telling you, if PreCor was a sport, my wife would be a contender. Anything you can buy on late night tv to exercise in your house and slide under your bed shouldn’t be an Olympic anything. Maybe stretching on a BowFlex should be a sport too. This is a cardio exercise, not a sport. 3 (you’ll notice that you get an extra point for shooting a rifle and calling it Biathlon)
Curling – Shuffleboard on steroids and on ice. I’ll be honest… it looks like it would be kinda fun to try. Those freakin’ stones weigh over 40 lbs, so it ain’t for complete wimps. But essentially, it’s just a cold horizontal dart board, and the sweeping is kinda spastic looking. I think it’d be fun to throw back a few beers and try it just to see what I could break, but that makes it outdoor lawn darts, and not a sport. 2.5
Figure Skating – Aside from watching flexible underage girls show their panties, this is just dancing on skates. And if I wanted to see flexible underage girls show their panties, I would just check Donkeypuncher's laptop. The closest this ever came to being a sport is when Tonya whacked Nancy. Here’s a quick tell… if it includes males in sequined unitards, it ain’t a sport. Now, if you combined this with the Biathlon, and had the X-country skiers shooting at the figure skaters, well, then you might have me. 1.5
Freestyle Skiing – Since when is this an Olympic sport? I guess the X-Games forced their hand… At best, this is a 2.5. The following SNL memory gets an 8.
Great moments in freestyle skiing history (from snltranscripts.jt.org)
Tom Tryman: Mmm-hmm! Well, I would have to say, it's a very fast time up to this point. Uh.. he's doing very well - and there's a very nice move - uh.. I would say, at this halfway point, he's gonig to take third, or maybe even a second-place.. [ a shot rings out, as Jean-Paul falls into the snow ] Uh-oh! Uh-oh! It looks to me like he's been accidentally shot by Claudine Longet! [ Jean-Paul regains balance on his skis ]
Jessica Antlerdance: Just grazed, I think, Tom.. [ second shot rings, as Jean-Paul falls back into the show ] Oh, no! That one got him, he's down! No, he's down this time.. no, no! No, he's getting up! [ Jean-Paul continues to ski downhill, albeit a little awkwardly ] Always the mark of a fine athlete is the ability to recover in difficult situations.
Tom Tryman: I can't believe he's going for the finish line.. and - [ third shot rings out, Jean-Paul is down for good ] Oh, no! Again.. again, he's been accidentally shot by Claudine Longet, and, this time, I think he's down to stay, Jessica.
Ice Hockey – Finally, a real sport! Still, with the lack of REAL checking from those weakling Euros, not as good as the Stanley Cup for drama. The skill level is there, just not the intensity of a Game Seven overtime game. A solid 7.
Luge – AKA gravity. Hell, might as well make shovel racing an Olympic sport. After that, snowball throwing and snowman building. Any self-respecting Minnesotan or Wisconsonian went on more dangerous courses than these wusses, albeit not in skin-tight leotards. Going down that big hill behind the farm on a shovel and trying to make the turn before the big tree… now that’s driving. Again, with gravity being the main propulsion system, no more a sport than sitting on a slide at the corner park. It’s a 2.
Nordic Combined – I think this has something to do with combining results from downhill skiing and ski-jumping. As it is, why do the Nords get a sport just for them? Might as well have an Olympic Sport called American Combined and have it combine the results from basketball and poker. I’m stunned that the DNC hasn’t jumped all over this and asked that they remove “Nordic” and call it the “Multi-Racial Combined” since Nordic implies that only white people can do it. Anyway, while ski-jumping is cool, combining shit just for the hell of it doesn’t deserve Olympic consideration. 3.
Short Track – Roller Derby on ice. Much cooler than regular speed skating because of the physicality and the “trading paint” aspects. Like I said yesterday, if they added throwing elbows and clotheslining and arm-whipping teammates, would immediately become the most popular Winter Olympic sport. 5 with potential to become a 7.
Skeleton – Headfirst luge. That’s it. Er, most people call this “sledding”. They really need to add a camera on a metal post right in the middle of the track. You’d get some awesome facial expressions as racers come up on that and get ready to hit it. Again, this is part of growing up for most of you in the Midwest. 2.2 (extra points for going headfirst)
Ski-Jumping – This would be closer if they didn’t have style points. In fact, Ski-flying is just ski-jumping without the style points (I think). This is one of the only Olympic “sports” that I don’t sit there and say “I can do that”. Hell, I could sit on a bobsled, skate in a circle, ski around some plastic tubes, but there ain’t no way in hell I’m going off one of those fucking jumps and flying over a football field. Eddie the Eagle be damned, this ain’t for the faint hearted. These guys get full props for putting their lives on the line for a medal that you could get on Ebay. Even though gravity contributes the speed, these guys have BALLS. Think of it this way, if you put the luge on the rollercoaster track at the top of the Stratosphere, then that would be a sport I’d watch. 2 for true athletic ability (most of these guys are anorexic Western Euros and Nords), 8 for balls, averages out to a 5.
Snowboarding - Quick prediction, the gold medal winner will use the word “Dude” during the post-ceremony interview. This, like Figure Skating, gives names to acrobatically unlikely moves that have no rhyme or reason. “Oooh, Shane (all of them are named ‘Shane’) just hit that 1080 Iggster and followed it up with a gnarly DrPauly on the lip! He is really stoked!” Again, only here because of the younger demographic and the X-Games. 3 mainly because there’s no ballet like in the freestyle skiing.
Speedskating – Another prediction. We’ll see tape of Dan Jansen falling twice and then winning. It’s like they think that’s the only way people will watch this. Face it, it’s like watching the 5000-meter run or the marathon, only two at a time, like some sort of Nordic-Ice-torture. The 500-meters I’ll watch, just like I’ll watch the sprints during the Summer Games, but the longer races are just round and round and round and round and round… zzzzzzzzz….. Short track racing is where it’s at. Long track gets a 4.