John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton
jheaton

Rating the Winter Olympic events

The XXII Olympic Winter Games get underway tomorrow in Sochi, Russia. Early reports about the accommodations are, as we used to say at Cornell College, are ochen nekhorosho, but the athletic venues are said to be ready. We'll find out tomorrow, but with 98 events over 15 disciplines in 7 sports, it can be hard to know what you should watch. I'm here to help!

Alpine Skiing: Let's face it, gravity does most of the work in alpine skiing. Yes, there's skill involved in making turns and not falling down and such, but still. Plus, I tend to think athletic events should be head-to-head, not individual races against the clock. NOT APPROVED

Biathlon: Biathlon combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, which sounds weird, but it's actually kind of genius, combining a discipline that gets your heart beating faster and your lungs heaving with one where a fast-beating heart and heaving lungs are a distinct disadvantage. APPROVED.

Bobsleigh: I'm inclined to keep this around because the very first bronze medal in the two-man bobsled event was won by a man named John Heaton (and his partner, of course). However, as a cultural imperialist, I would like to see the sport renamed to reflect the American name, "Bobsled." CONDITIONALLY APPROVED.

Cross-country Skiing: It's skiing, but with physical exertion and head-to-head competition. APPROVED.

Curling: Yeah, you know, I'm just not sure. It's weirdly fascinating to watch, but when you come right down to it, it's shuffleboard on ice. And I'm troubled by the whole "Stuff White People Like" vibe that seems to surround it. I get plenty of that riding the bus down Willy Street. JUDGEMENT DEFERRED.

Figure Skating: I appreciate and admire the athleticism required to be a figure skater. That said, I have trouble getting behind any discipline that is judged subjectively, and figure skating judges are notoriously corrupt, so nuts to it. NOT APPROVED.

Freestyle skiing: I understand the impulse to try to jazz up alpine skiing, but as far as I can tell, the sole purpose of freestyle skiing is to get the people watching you to say, "Dude, you're so cool." We need to discourage that sort of thing. NOT APPROVED.

Ice Hockey: One team tries to score points, the other team tries to stop them. This is the very essence of team sport. APPROVED

Luge: This is hardly an original observation, but when luging, lugers look like earwigs, and earwigs are gross. Also, why keep a third sledding event when it's the only one of the three that has never had an Olympic medalist named John Heaton? NOT APPROVED

Nordic combined: Any event that includes ski jumping as one of its components needs to go. NOT APPROVED.

Skeleton: The aforementioned bobsledder John Heaton was an even better skeleton racer than a bobsledder, winning silver medals in 1928 and 1948. APPROVED.

Ski jumping: "Falling with style." NOT APPROVED

Snowboarding: My first inclination was to dismiss this with prejudice, because of the way it combines the pointless gravity exploitation of alpine skiing with the pointless showboating of freestyle skiing, but then I remembered the parallel slalom events, which features the kind of head-to-head racing I criticized alpine skiing for not having. Keep that, and get rid of the X Games imports, and we're good. CONDITIONALLY APPROVED.

Speed skating: It's a head-to-head competition to see who can go the fastest. What's not to like? APPROVED

OK, you're all set! Enjoy the Olympics!
 
Tags: sports: olympics
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