Winter Olympics preview! (Or 20 reasons to be a summer Olympian)

image As many of you know, every two years I try to convince my editor to send me to the Olympics. The closest I’ve come was during the winter Olympics in Utah, when I was offered gas money, thermal underwear and a set of binoculars for watching the events “from a great spot on the third floor of a car garage not far from the Olympic Pavilion — or thereabouts.”

This year is no different. Especially when you consider the games are taking place in Sochi, Russia, which means there’s no way I’m going to see anything from any car garage in Utah. However, it doesn’t mean we won’t be offering you the same in-depth coverage as the larger media outlets. It’s just that ours won’t include any photographs, scores, statistics, biographies or interviews with Olympians, unless you count Mr. Knowitall, our vending machine repair guy, who won the Brickerville High School “Donkey Basketball Olympics” in 1987.

(To be honest, that interview is still sketchy. The last time I asked him about “riding a donkey for the gold” he threw a Diet Sprite at me.)

While it’s true we won’t have anyone at the Olympic Games again this year, it doesn’t mean we weren’t able to come up with something just as exciting and informative, especially when you compare it to, say…

Staring at a grapefruit.

Keeping that in mind, I’m proud to announce an in-depth look at all 20 Winter Olympic events in a special three-part series we’re calling:

20 Reasons to be a Summer Olympian

We will begin with The Slalom: First introduced by Germany in 1936, this event combines the speed and skill of downhill skiing with the bravery one attains from consuming large quantities of German beer. Athletes launch themselves down slopes and attain speeds of up to 120 km per hour (approximately the speed of sound) while navigating around flags, moguls, photographers, journalists, border patrols, assorted swimmers and cabana boys before crossing the finish line somewhere in Peru. Events also include the “Super-G,” which combines the thrill of slalom with the danger of rap artists on skis.

Next, an event dating back to 1932 when a Swedish marksman was driven into a snow bank by a hot-dogging American skier, The Biathlon combines cross-country skiing and long-range target shooting. Endurance is the key factor as competitors race around long loops of varying lengths, stopping only occasionally to shoot at targets until, eventually, firing five shots from a seated position inside of a portable commode.

Since 1924, The Bobsleigh has been thrilling Olympic spectators with its combination of speed, technique and general lack of a steering mechanism. In both the two-man and four-man events, each athlete has a specific purpose. This begins by getting the sleigh off to as fast a start as possible before piling inside the chassis, where athletes contribute individually by grabbing their ankles and saying the Rosary. Once they cross the finish line, the brakeman goes to work by pulling on a handle that, for all intents and purposes, does absolutely nothing.

There you have it, our first installment of pre-Winter Olympic coverage! Join us next Tuesday for a look at Curling, Figure Skating, and several other exciting events, none of which can be seen from Utah…

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

47 thoughts on “Winter Olympics preview! (Or 20 reasons to be a summer Olympian)”

            1. If you DIDN’T watch that movie at least 10 times a year, I’d say there was something wrong with you. Maybe not watching it is what’s wrong with everybody else? 😉

  1. I will be following your reports eagerly. I’m a confirmed sports hater, especially if a team of sweaty men with…dare I say it…balls…are concerned. Yet, I have somehow managed to nurture a deep and abiding love for the Olympics. Or maybe it’s just that those figure skating men look so cute in tights? Anyway…love them, I do, and I will read every word I can find about my favorite events. Even if it is written by some crazy man clinging to the top of a telephone pole, next to a garage in Utah, with a pair of very long-range binoculars frozen fast to his eyelids. (I’d pay big bucks for a picture of THAT.)

    1. Thanks Marcia! After the three-part preview ends, I will be bringing in-depth spot reports called “Olympic Moments You Might Have Missed (possibly on purpose)”

      And by “spot reporting,” I mean if I spot anything from my telephone pole Utah, I’ll report it. Assuming someone doesn’t report me first…

      1. Can’t wait. And stop staring into that window on the corner. You don’t need to see what’s going on in there! Tsk. I suppose you’ll tell me that it’s okay to be a Peeping Tom if it’s done in the name of “jurnalism!”

        1. Wow, with that vision YOU should be the one on the pole. Telephone pole, just to clarify… And being a peeping Tom is part of my “jurnalistic” Fifth Amendment rights.

          Or Miranda Rights, I forget which…

          1. *thinking, thinking* What to do with a set up like that first line? Oh, drat. I have to rule out all my immediate responses due to public decency laws. (Are there even any such things, any more?) Reckon it’s time for me to bow down to you, as Humor Jurnalism’s equivalent of Yoda. You are the Master Humorizer. Humorater? Humographer? Well, you’re dang funny, anyway, so I give. You win. 😀 But I’ll be back another day. You have been warned.

    1. I would actually be willing to share the commentator’s desk with a grapefruit. Or Bob Costas. Which I suppose is redundant.

      I’ll have to do better as a commentator…

      1. You’re well on your way…look forward to your next take on this great sporting event (and I personally feel watching a grapefruit is more interesting than listening to Bob Costas, but I’m probably biased as I simply don’t get why sports are interesting…)

  2. to marcia – yes, it is okay to say balls. as often as you like. to ned- will you have press credentials? perhaps a buffalo wild wings premier membership card and unexpired library card might help?

  3. I thought I knew everything about the “bobsleigh” after watching that documentary some years ago, you know the one I mean. But now I realize I was living in ignorance. What a sport! The Rosary bit made me laugh.

    Have you heard Jerry Seinfeld’s bit on the winter olympics? It’s gold! I look forward to your explanation of the luge, but I warn you, the bar is set pretty high because Seinfeld’s luge joke still makes me laugh every time I hear it. You know what? I believe you can do it.

    1. I remember that bit! He’s one of my favorites. Have you ever heard his bit on being a kid at Halloween? Classic. As for my take on The Luge, I’ll get a good running start and see what happens.

      1. Keep your chin tucked in and toes pointed out.

        “Get candy, get candy, get candy” that’s on my family crest, with an image of a kid in a superman costume in arms-out mummy pose

  4. So let me see if I have this thing right… Someone is actually requesting to fly free of the bitterest cold blast in three decades, only to attend the WINTER Olympics? Personally, I’d rather watch shuffleboard on the deck of the Carnival ship, Harlot of the Harbor.

      1. You don’t have to watch it in the cold, ESPN is covering it. After their NFL contract renewals, it is all they can afford.

No one is watching, I swear...

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