Let the Winter Games begin! (Before I get sued)

image Hello and welcome to the next installment of our groundbreaking (at least in terms of blatant copyright infringement) four-part Winter Olympics preview:

20 Reasons to Be a Summer Olympian

Today, we will be focusing on some of the most dangerous and exciting events at the winter games. Events like Luge, Skeleton and Ski Jumping. Events that require an extraordinary amount of physical and mental conditioning before an Olympic hopeful, such as myself, can compete without soiling his polymer body suit. While I’ve never actually trained for a spot on the U.S. Luge team per se, I experienced something very similar in the winter of 1999, when I slipped in the snow and landed on what rescuers believe was a discarded Volkswagen hubcap.

Whatever it was, I clung to it for most of my 3/4-mile descent down the “pro” slope, which I executed in perfect Olympic “supine” position — feet down and head back — except for all the screaming. In retrospect, a skin-tight polymer body suit would’ve helped. Especially when you consider it would’ve prevented me from being allowed near the slope in the first place.

Luge, as many of you know, requires athletes to ride a tiny sled feet-first down a winding ice track while exceeding speeds of 130 km per hour (U.S. conversion: really, really fast) with almost no ability to steer. Keeping that in mind, the sport of Skeleton, which is the same as Luge except that athletes are positioned on their stomachs, is often referred to as “mysterious” and “bizarre,” primarily because no one understands why any person who isn’t intoxicated would want to compete in Luge while going headfirst.

This brings us to the thrilling event of Ski Jumping, where athletes utilize a combination of strength, speed, precision, equilibrium and concentration to soar high above the field of play before landing gracefully, after more than 100 yards of flight, on Bob Costas.

Okay. That actually only happened once, in 1990, when Jim McKay told Costas about a “short cut” between the biathlon and ice hockey events. This footage was later edited into the now famous clip: “The agony of defeat.”

Next, we have Snowboard, which made its Olympic debut 17 years ago, thanks to the persistence of Jack Burchett, an American surfer, who said he conceived the idea while — and this is a direct quote — “Looking for some action during the long winter break.” In addition to snowboarding, Burchett is also credited with two other conceptions, which his lawyers flatly deny he was involved in.

Our next event combines balance, speed, endurance and inner thigh muscles the size of Mini Coopers to produce the fastest human-powered sport held on a flat surface: Speed Skating.
In this event, athletes skate around an icy track at speeds of 40 mph while simultaneously running the risk of bursting into flames due to the amount of friction generated between their enormous thigh muscles, some of which are so large they occasionally hold their own press conference.

This brings us to what is arguably the most popular Winter Olympic sport, Ice Hockey. We say “arguably” because — Hey, we’re talking about HOCKEY here! You wanna make something of it?! That’s right. Hockey is by far the most physically aggressive Winter Olympic sport, as long as you don’t count women’s figure skating. In ice hockey, competitors with sticks chase a small puck around the rink and try to score points by slapping it past a goaltender.

Whereas in women’s figure skating, competitors chase and slap each other for making passes at, and attempting to score with, their favorite bartender.

Join me again this Thursday for the final installment of this seemingly unending series! That’s when we’ll take a look at the six events making their Winter Olympics debut, including the Biathlon Mixed Relay — which only sounds just as boring as the regular biathlon, but isn’t because…


I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

(For Part One, click here
For Part Two, click here
For Part Three, uh… you’re already here)

(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, Amazon.com 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...

54 thoughts on “Let the Winter Games begin! (Before I get sued)”

  1. I am suddenly reminded of the “Ski or Die!” game we had on the Nintendo and the snowboard competition. There may or may not have been penguins you had to avoid while doing “tricks”. Perhaps NBC should look at this for ratings? I am sure everyone would be rooting for the penguins.

    1. I agree NAPP – penguins would make a nice diversion: put some life into the sport. However, I think we should stipulate, in our presentation to NBC, that the penguins begin work in 2018, as penguins have been known to exhibit same-sex relationships ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual_behavior_in_animals#Penguins ). This could lead to an over-the-top reaction by Russian officials. If they thought we were mocking their new gay bashing laws by putting penguins on their ski slopes, they could become violent and even start another international conflict. I think for the protection of the penguins, we should wait.

      1. I have to agree with you on this, Paul. However, in defense of the penguins, I think there’s a good chance the same-sex relationships could simply be the result of all of them dressing the same.

        1. Hmmm, you just may have something there Ned. I know attire can certainly cause confusion – I just have to learn to stay out of certain bars and watch for Adams’ apples..

  2. The “Agony of Defeat”….I can almost hear the pompous orchestra in the background! Loved the Winter Olympics when I was a kid and sported the Dorothy Hamel hairdo long after it went out of style. I still cry when I see the footage of the miracle American hockey team after they beat Russia (1976?) Getting misty here….send us more (minus the visuals of a polymer suit and mixed biathlons!)

    1. There is some confusion there. Most everyone thinks it’s called mixed biathlon because it involves men and women. Sort of like mixed doubles except without the tennis skirts. And yes, there is shooting involved. The confusion seems to be with the Russians, who are under the impression the “Bi” in Mixed Biathlon refers to the sexuality of its participants. Just to be safe, the Russian team will only be given blanks.

  3. LOVE the winter olympics. And the one underlying element of all winter sports – the athletes have all taken one too many falls on frozen surfaces at breakneck speeds; rendering them fearless to try doing the same thing again – faster.

  4. ….blades of glory. I’m jus sayn.
    It’s reality now.

    And furthermore, Sochi, poor things, are they even gonna be ready? I’ve seen pics of their toilets…two and three side by side…and no toilet paper. Are our Olympians reasy for that?

    Meanwhile, I bet you look ultra HOTTTT in a skin tighter….*a moment of visual* …

    1. Who knows, maybe competitive commode usage will become an Olympic event? Even getting the polymer suit rolled down would be a challenge, then the battle over the last roll of TP? Definitely more exciting than the biathlon.

      And a “moment” is probably all you could take of me in a polymer tighty.

  5. “Thigh muscles the size of Mini Coopers” is one of your best lines, Ned. I almost chocked on an almond I was laughing so hard. You should post a warning on your blog about reading while snacking at your own risk. I’d hate for you to get yet another lawsuit . . . 😀

    1. I’m in talks with Frito-Lay and Planters to include a warning label on the bottom of all their packaging. The problem is everyone keeps dumping out their snack foods when they try to read it…

      And thanks, Traci 😉

  6. I have always had a question regardling bobsledding. In two man, the guy at the back brakes and the dude up front steers. As much as you can steer a 200lb can of mushroom soup down a slope with a slickness defcom level of 837 (Elite Death). But in the four man, the guy in the back brakes and the dude up front steers. What exactly do those other two guys do? sounds like a bunch of stowaways to me. Not pulling their weight (or are they??? hmmmm)

    Great post 🙂


  7. Skeleton and luge = nut bags.
    Looking for action during the winter months = I can think if much better things to do.
    Speed skating = don’t forget the infamous Aussie from a few years back

    1. Agreed. On all counts.
      And I do remember the Aussie, who I refer to as the “Awesome Aussie Speed Skater.” That’s all I have to say and people know exactly who I mean. I hope to reach that level of recognition some day. — first in my own home, then beyond.

      1. It seems my friend Veronica there was behaving herself, she is not normally allowed out so early on in the day. I’ll try and keep a tighter reign on her. I agree also, and that awesome Aussie skater did some pretty funny supermarket ads a few years after that incident, something along the lines of people falling over trolleys and the like…

No one is watching, I swear...

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