New Olympic events promise even fewer viewers for biathlon

image Welcome to the final installment of our four-part Winter Olympic preview, 20 Reasons to Be a Summer Olympian! Today, we’ll be introducing the six new and exciting events making their debut — or five really, since one of them is another biathlon event. Okay, four if you consider Team Figure Skating. Of course, there’s also the new Luge Team Relay, which proves there’s no “I” in Luge Team; because unless I can’t find the remote, “I” probably won’t be watching.

But hey! That doesn’t mean we aren’t going to offer the same in-depth look at these events as we are Women’s Ski Jumping, mens and women’s Ski Halfpipe, and the Sochi Commode Relay, which pits the endurance needed for Russian cuisine against a limited number of working toilets.

Let us begin! At the risk of losing all of you to drowsiness, we’ll start today’s preview with the Biathlon Mixed Relay

*sigh* (I knew it)


Thank you. According to the National Olympic Committee, the Biathlon Mixed Relay is already “wildly popular” in Europe. That’s the same thing they told us about the original biathlon event, and we all know how that turned out. However, what makes this new biathlon different is that, instead of watching two-man teams trudge through the snow and occasionally awaken viewers with gunfire, men and women will be paired together — which is always a good idea on long trips. To make the event even more exciting, each pair will be connected to a live audio feed, allowing viewers to listen to strategic conversations like:

“Vlad, are you sure this is the right way?”
“I’m positive, Latrina! Stop badgering me!”
“Perhaps we should ask for directions.”
“Niente! I know where I am going!”
“Fine. But this is the third time we have passed that American, Bob Costas. I think he is looking for the restroom.”
“We shall follow him.”

In keeping with this year’s push for more gender inclusion, these next two events — Men and Women Ski Halfpipe and Women’s Ski Jump — highlight the importance of equality within Olympic competition. Assuming, of course, that you aren’t homosexual. Ha Ha! Just kidding! We all know there is no such thing as a gay Olympian!

Speaking of figure skating, this year’s games will see the addition of the highly anticipated Team Figure Skating Event. And when I say “highly anticipated,” I’m referring to biathlon athletes, who know adding another two days of figure skating could get more people to watch biathlon.

Unless Curling is on at the same time.

Regardless, the rules of Team Figure Skating are as follows: Teams of six skaters from each country will perform in four separate categories, including Men’s, Women’s, Dance and Mixed Pair, which the Russians are heavily favored to win because, let’s face it: When it comes to Russian athletes, it’s hard to tell who has a pair and who doesn’t. At the end of three days, the winner will be determined by a combination of aggregate score and which team can take a crotch check from Tanya Harding.

While we’re on the subject of “whacky,” our final new event is the Team Luge event, which actually coincides with my own Olympic event: The Beer Run. The rules to Team Luge are simple, meaning that instead of one or two people sliding uncontrollably down a chute as fast as possible, four people will do it, one after the other, for the fastest combined time. A teammate — presumably the one who couldn’t fit into their polymer suit after the opening ceremony banquet — will synchronize the release of each teammate down the chute by using a touch pad located at the finish. If these pressure pads work anything like the ones that open the doors at my supermarket, this event might actually be worth watching.

Think NASCAR pile-up without the cars!

With that, we officially mark the final installment of our 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics preview. We hope this series has been helpful, at least in terms of enhancing your Olympic experience in ways no drug test can detect. In the meantime, we will continue coverage of the Sochi Olympic Games brought to you live from the top of a parking garage in Salt Lake City Utah — which is the closest to the winter Olympics as we’ll probably ever get…

(For Part One, click here
For Part Two, click here
For Part Three, Click here
For part four… uh, scroll back to the top.)

(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...

43 thoughts on “New Olympic events promise even fewer viewers for biathlon”

  1. Team Figure Skating? I’ll stick to hockey.

    I wonder if the Biathon Medley Couples will be judged on style and coordination together like the ice dancers? I may watch just to judge them on that myself.

  2. My thoughts on ramping up the excitement of biathlon: Make it downhill skiing and the skiers shoot at each other

    ‘Muricans should love it! Gives it a James Bond/Bourne Identity feel.

    I mean, if you’re going to have an elimination round, ELIMINATE SOMEONE for goodness sake.

    It may mean, however, that spectators will be less likely to stand near the fence, but hey, they already bought their Official Olympic gear so who cares

    1. Haha! It might work for golf, too. Closest to the hole gets to shoot at the other golfers. But they’d still have to yell “FORE!” first, just to keep it fair.

  3. When/ where do I try out for the beer run ?
    Just think, 2 weeks of new material only limited by our own ability to capitalize on the mis-steps of others.
    Hmmm, I guess the Olympics really doesnt change what I write.about….

        1. Hahaha! I’ll bring limes as a peace offering to quell any hostility that might develop. You know, in case we run out of beer — Like THAT would happen!

          Cheers 😉

  4. Ned’s Alternate Scenes: “The Biathlon Mixed Relay is already “wildly popular” in Europe. So was World War II, and we all know how that turned out.”
    Also: Seen this?

    P.S.: This entry is really funny.

  5. The depth of your coverage of this topic leaves me speechless. As, judging by the comments, it does your other readers too: singing medolists, target practice on the ski slopes (and golf course), ball-washers, beer runs, doping beer run participants, water slides and gay games preservation. It seems, Ned, you have engaged you audience on a very visceral level. Either that or I’m officially, as a dedicated reader of Ned’s Blog, a part of a very special group.

    1. Thanks, Paul. “Visceral” is my middle name.
      And thank you for being a dedicated reader and part of this special group. We even ride our own special bus and always get to park up front.

      1. I can understand why we always get to park up front – that happens when you’re a rider on a “short bus” (reserved for special needs passengers) – people feel sorry for you.

  6. I support athletes. What the heck. Anyone who has spent how many years being the best anything has my vote. The trouble is, my biggest interest is who makes the cut. I am not a TV enthusiast anyway, so I won’t catch the fever. I am especially reluctant to serve witness to who-knows-what will result eventually in Sochi. I feel it might be something we aren’t prepared for or would never have expected. 😦

  7. You know, Jerry Lewis and David Hasselhoff have been described as ‘wildly popular’ in Europe.

    I do not think that means what they think it means.

  8. Ned, I can’t help but be a little offended by this; biathlon is my favorite winter Olympic sport. I live for that 10 seconds of in-depth coverage it gets every four years. When the other kids were dreaming of playing in the Super Bowl, I fantasied about biathloning my way to gold. But my mom wouldn’t let me take my BB gun skiing, so the dream withered on the snowy vine. Ah, what might have been!

    1. Trust me when I say I had no intention of offending anyone, and that I understand how you feel. I spent many a lonely Super Bowl Sunday “scrubbing the driveway” as an excuse to practice my curling technique in pursuit of the gold. All I got was a really clean driveway. And a new scrub brush every Christmas. I “feel you,” dog.

  9. I don’t care about the events or the winning countries. The only thing that matters to me is the back story. If I find out a grieving Olympic athlete is competing to keep the memory alive of a goldfish he won at a local carnival in June but forgot to remove from the trunk of his car in January — that’s the guy I root for. Unless he’s in that sport that looks like shuffleboard on ice with the pushbrooms — I don’t care what the backstory is for someone who competes in that event — it’s kind of a given anyway that something screwy happened if your life work is dedicated to a sport that requires training and dexterity to handle a broom in icy conditions.

  10. You are obviously just another xenophobic American who is jealous that Russia is hosting the Olympics. (as dictated by V. Putin who is otherwise a huge fan of yours)

No one is watching, I swear...

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