Monday, February 17, 2014

Mid-Way Olympic Thoughts

We’re just past halfway through the XXII Olympic Winter Games being held in Sochi, Russia; the quadrennial spectacle’s closing ceremony is this coming Sunday. So it’s a good time to reflect on some thoughts I’ve had about the past week or so.

If You Don’t Win, Blame the Equipment

The U.S. speed skating team isn’t doing so well, and has been unable to bring home any medals in their events.

But wait, weren’t they supposed to do well? Weren’t Shani Davis and Heather Richardson supposed to burn up the track and bring home medals?

The team (as of Saturday morning) was a dismal 0 for 7 in medal attempts.

So … they’re changing their racing suits. They’ve been wearing new, state-of-the-art ones designed by Under Armour. They’ve decided to go back to their old ones, sending Under Armour into a frantic updating of the old racing suits.

In sports, when you don’t win, you start blaming the equipment – baseball players look at their gloves when they boot a chance, football players look at their gloves when they miss a pass, tennis players inspect their racket when they miss a return.

Well, what about the obvious? What if the skaters from other countries who won medals were simply better than the Americans? Has anybody thought about that?

Luge Racing Isn’t That Scary

At least, not when you compare it to skeleton racing. In the luge event, the racer lies on his/her back on a teeny little sled and careens feet-first down a long and curvy ice track, reaching speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour. Scary enough, for sure.

But there’s a scarier race – the skeleton, introduced a dozen years ago in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. It’s basically the same as the luge, except that the rider is on his/her belly, chin about an inch off the ice, flying head-first down the track.

If you’ve ridden a roller coaster, you know fear is magnified when you can see ahead to what’s coming up. Now just imagine you’re going head first and your face is about to be rubbed off on ice.

Required: A skeleton-specific helmet and a sturdy and strong chin guard.

Skiers Are Crazy

Snowboarders are nuts. Who in their right mind would do what they do?

Twisting and somersaulting high in the air, ending with a controlled fall and expecting to land feet first so they can head up to the other side of the half pipe to do it all over again.

Ski-jumpers are also nuts. Sliding straight down a long slope to an upward-curved ramp that sends them flying high into the air, flying upwards of 600+ feet before landing, hopefully safely and not breaking any bones.

Personally, I like it right here with my feet on the ground.

* * * * *

Finally, I wonder how Bob Costas’ eye is doing?


casch said...

Bob will be back tonight, but his eyes will be painful for a while yet.

For me~ the Olympics have been a little disappointing.

Craig Miyamoto said...

I find myself rubbing my eyes when I look at Costas wearing those glasses. *Rub rub*

Gotta agree with you, re disappointing Olympics. A few bright spots to be sure, but not enough.