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February 18, 2006

the early greeks probably didn’t do much ice dancing. well, except maybe for the spartans

If you are like most people, when you turn on the TV and happen upon the Winter Olympics, witnessing the majesty of athleticism, the nobility of competition, and the lyrical quality of the world’s best pushing the very limits of human capacity you can’t help but wonder to yourself, “Wait, are these still on? Where the heck is ‘Deal or No Deal?’”

The problem with the Winter Olympics compared to the Summer Olympics (also known as “the real” Olympics) is that there is very little variety in the sports offered.

Summer Olympics:
Running
Jumping
Swinging
Hitting
Lifting
Rowing
Swimming
Throwing
Fighting

Winter Olympics:
Sliding

And while the Winter Olympics do have one competition that involves some shooting, the Summer Olympics provide enough weaponry to supply a Hamas town meeting, with not only shooting but sword fighting, bows and arrows, and events that involve throwing hammers, spears and iron balls.

We did make an aborted attempt to live blog the Winter Olympics earlier in the week:

8:33:23 PM: Swedish guy is starting down the slopes.
8:33:34 PM:
Look at him go.
8:33:47 PM: You know, I think he might be Norwegian.
8:33:53 PM: No, no, he’s Swedish.
8:34:12 PM: This guy is fast.
8:34:27 PM: Look at him go.
8:34:35 PM: Going faster.
8:34:43 PM: Hey, check it out, the History Channel is showing “Paper Products of the Third Reich: Nazi Napkins.”

Okay, so at a minimum we know that the Olympics are more suited to a visual medium.

And there have been controversies, from Lindsey Jacobellis apparently deciding that silver would complement her eyes better than gold to Bode Miller behaving like he’s more interested in picking up a Jägermeister endorsement than keeping his Nike one .

The Olympics are also curious in that TV networks pay exorbitant amounts of money to televise sports no one cares about, kind of the television equivalent of supporting Dennis Kucinich for President. We don’t have precise data for this, but we’d guess the TV ratings for the luge in non-Olympic years fall somewhere between community access cable programming (“Zoning Setback Abatements and You”) and Martha Stewart’s Apprentice.

This is a shame because while these competitions don’t attract the viewership of baseball or football, they are amazing. Consider the skeleton in which competitors slide down an icy banked course head first on a tiny sled at speeds exceeding 120 mph. On the manliness scale this makes golfing look like, well, okay golfing, but you know what we mean.

Even curling is manly. Think marbles, only you play on a sheet of ice with blocks of granite weighing 42 pounds. It’s like playing tiddlywinks with manhole covers.

And you’ve got to respect that.

J.

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February 18, 2006 at 11:47 PM in Sports | Permalink

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Comments

Don't forget the heavy drinking that follows curling matches.

I think they started calling the circles on the ice the "House" when enough of those drunks passed out there on their way home.

Posted by: USELESS MAN | Feb 21, 2006 2:10:52 PM

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