Like speed skating, our Olympic preview continues because we can’t stop

image Hello and welcome to another exciting installment of our exclusive 2014 Winter Olympics preview:

20 Reasons to Be a Summer Olympian

It’s a preview so exclusive even the Olympic Committee doesn’t know about it. And, quite frankly, we’d like to keep it that way. That’s because while the larger media outlets routinely get bogged down with boring interviews and analysis of things like the effect of wind trajectory on Bob Costas’ hair, we are able to avoid all that. How? By going nowhere near the actual Olympic games! This allows us to provide you with valuable information that news sources in Sochi, Russia are missing because they’re too busy trying to keep their Babushkas from freezing off.

Last week, we began our special preview with an in-depth look at the Slalom, Bobsleigh and Biathlon events. For those who missed it, here’s a quick re-cap: Athletes who compete in the Slalom and Bobsleigh are insane, and though Biathlon sounds exciting, we challenge you to watch it without drooling on your arm.

OK, now that we’re all caught up, we can begin this week’s installment of our special Olympic coverage by taking a look at Cross Country Skiing — which is even less exciting than the Biathlon since there’s no shooting involved. (At least in the Biathlon you are occasionally awakened by gunfire.) In cross country skiing the only sound is the commentator, who is trying to keep himself awake by finding exciting words to describe what appears to be several people looking for the nearest ski lift.

Which isn’t to say there isn’t plenty of excitement at the Winter Olympics. In fact, when it comes to Curling, the longer you watch four people moving a large stone across the ice using nothing but brooms, the more exciting cross country skiing gets. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the sport of Curling, this competition became an official Olympic event 15 years ago as a replacement for Ice Bowling, which [Pause here for dramatic effect] fell through at the last minute!

In Curling, each team consists of four players: the Lead, who delivers the stone; the Second and Third, who sweep the ice; and the Skip, who calls out important strategy like “Sweep faster!” and “Do you think anyone’s still watching?!” This continues until one team is able to place its stone closest to the center of a special target marked on the ice. Or until Bud Light pulls its corporate sponsorship.

Next we have Figure Skating, which gets its name from the Ukrainian phrase Ukrlegnz Kgronzmof Itzentofl, meaning “Cold ankle twist.” Figure skating combines music with complex skating routines that include a series of required elements, such as the “salchow,” “double axle,” and the dreaded “triple latte.”

This brings us to Freestyle Skiing, in which skiers perform jumps, flips and other thrilling acrobatic maneuvers, just like I do, except that they don’t land on their heads. Continuing along that theme, we will end today’s installment of our three-part Winter Olympic preview with the Nordic Combined, which, as you might expect, combines skiing and large hairy men in horned helmets.

That’s what you’d expect, but you would be wrong.

It actually combines the acrobatics of freestyle skiing (jumping and high speeds ) with the stamina of cross country skiing (yawn), effectively re-creating how Nordic men returned home from pubs some 200 years ago.

Return next week when we continue our special preview with a look at Luge, Skeleton and other Olympic events whose athletes are routinely denied medical coverage.

(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...

45 thoughts on “Like speed skating, our Olympic preview continues because we can’t stop”

  1. Love this Ned! Don’t forget the word used by the skip in curling when things get really exciting! HARD…HARD!!! Can’t wait to read about the luge & skeleton!!!

  2. Well, something like Biathlon Ski Jumping would be an exiting addition, but probably hazardous for spectators if the athlete misses a target mid-flight…

  3. I had no idea that each time I ordered a Triple Latte from Starbucks that I was actually in training. That makes the $12.00 I spent on coffee seem so much more rational . . . noble, even 🙂

    1. Your Olympic biography clip would be positively inspiring. All that sacrificing and dedication. And foam…

      But remember: if you’ve gotten a free one with your punch card, that makes you a professional and ineligible to compete. How tragic it would be for your career to be cut short by a punch card 😦

  4. Have to admit I never considered curling an activity never mind a sport. Mind you, with this newly acquired knowlegde I’m thinking the wife might be an excellent Olympian. She’s pretty nifty with a broom…

  5. This is hilarious! Curling, I have to tell you that my husband loves this one and I have no idea why! The commentators even whisper during this one. Yawn. I do the like bobsledding. Insanity, yes!

  6. I’ve received only a handful of hate mail over the years. One was when I explained rugby. The other was when I implied that curling was the only sport you could play while drunk. Don’t mess with curlers, man.
    And now, for your listening pleasure, the best song ever about curling, from the pride of Winnipeg, The Weakerthans.

    1. I feel the same way about bowling, which I consider a competitive activity (not a sport), like darts and yoga. A sport has to have an element of danger involved, and you shouldn’t be able to do it effectively while drunk. If it doesn’t meet those two criteria, it’s not a sport. That will be the last column I write here at Siuslaw News — because it will be my last column before they show up with torches and pitch forks.

      Cueing up The Weakerthans now, with only mild trepidation… 😉

  7. we do curling in the halls of my school as a phys ed ‘experience’ for the kids. so crazy and fun and I’m not kidding. took out the science teacher last year though, when he was rushing to our bake sale and stepped into the hallway without looking both ways. collateral damage.

    1. It was totally worth it though, right? I mean, teaching science and situational awareness all in the same lesson? If we had more teachers like you we’d have fewer science teachers… 😉

      1. so worth it, a lesson no one will ever forget, kicked the curling up a notch and made it into a contact sport. true about the ratio of sci teachers going down if this trend spreads throughout the u.s.

        1. Haha! I’m just picturing Olympians in snow shoes suddenly yelling, “DANG it! I stepped in it again! Do you know how hard it is to clean dog poop off these things!”

  8. This is sports commentary the way I believe it was intended: fun!
    I can never watch another game of curling without succumbing to laughter…fortunately I never ever watch curling.
    I have proven to be physically capable of watching up to ten minutes of figure skating…will try to spot the tripple latte next time;)

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