The slopestyle event. Tension was high. Would the young American snowboarder go for the 1620 backside?
Gosh, who wouldn’t?
Clearly I was overdue for a dose of the Winter Olympics. I vaguely recall Katarina Witt stomping Teutonically across the ice. And Jean-Claude Killy firing himself downhill as though he was trying to put the greatest distance between himself and his common sense. Uh, Jean-Claude, it says here, is 78.
It’s been a while.
Holy shit. They’ve got kids doing stuff now that won’t even be invented for another ten years. Don’t these people have mothers? And you don’t even need a mountain anymore! Or snow! You can just manufacture winter! The Republic of the Congo’s already putting in for 2026.
In Beijing they made a mountain out of I don’t know what-all and stuck a bunch of snow on it and called it the Shougang Big Air, and it’s designed to toss snowboarders into orbit long enough to tumble the rocks in their heads smooth. And they do it against a backdrop of a nuclear power plant.
[Is not nuclear plant. Is old steel mill. Ha ha!]
Fine, but at one point in mid-big-air their skeletons can clearly be seen flashing briefly against the cooling towers, enabling the judges to accurately record deductions for subluxations in lumbars three and four. But it’s spectacular. We’re all on the edge of our beanbag chairs waiting to see who would go for the nose butter triple cork with a Japan grab!
The various ice-sliding events are old-school, sure, but it never gets old trying to imagine why someone would do this even once. Basic luge involves lying down on a TV-tray a little longer than your butt crack and pinballing down an icy ditch at around ninety miles per hour, or just short of a velocity that could be called terminal. Given gravity and all, it seems like everyone would arrive at the bottom in the same time, but there are fractions of a second differences depending on initial speed and whether or not they hit any of the flippers. Men’s Luge is the one with the nuts on top. Even the degree of scrotal puckering could make a critical aerodynamic difference. A similar event is also done with one man lying right on top of his partner for some reason but it seems like something they might want to do on their own time.
The real thriller is the Skeleton, named after the condition of the earliest practitioners once they reached the bottom, closely followed by clumps of abraded flesh. The Skeleton is done head first. Steering is accomplished by movements of the thighs and shoulders until they’re scraped off, but thanks to modern space-age fabrics, the participants arrive intact at the finish line as human-shaped bags of chutney.
To those who complain that the Bosnian lugers get extra momentum from all their consonants, announcers Alx Krnyx and Krpnk Grnjk point out that they’re also at greater risk of snagging a K on the straightaways.
They still have the really boring events such as the cross-country shooting biathlon that originated among early hunter-slitherers and was probably pretty exciting in circa-1860 Finland. It’s been updated so that the competitors ski uphill wearing schoolkids’ Kevlar backpacks full of banned books and drop to their bellies to type out a text message of 128 characters including two uppercase letters, two punctuation marks, and an emoji.
Alpine downhill is another old-timey event and a particular favorite for the cleanup crew because all the body parts end up in approximately the same place. Seniors everywhere went nuts this year when 41-year-old Johan Clarey rocketed down the slope to become the oldest medalist ever, even though he arrived at the bottom three days younger than when he started.
My favorite new event by far was the Grand Whoop Whoop Snowboard Cross with its jumps and knuckles and berms and steeply banked turns, where good American girls named Meghan, Stacy, Lindsay, and Dipsy risked their ovaries for gold. Features on the snow are defined by lines of the same familiar blue fluid used to simulate absorbent qualities in Ladies’ Hygiene ads. It was cool enough to watch in the qualifying rounds where they went one at a time; I was completely unprepared for the excitement of flinging four of them out there at once, when they had to edge each other out on banked turns so tight their pit crews, poised on the straightaways with pots of wax, fainted dead away.
All in all it was a fine show and all the winners should be proud to podium (it’s a verb now, Gramps) in front of the famous Olympics logo. The Five Linked Sphincters of Terror.
For the record, I am not “sporty” AT ALL. I never watch the Olympics. I remember the first time I even heard of “curling”, let alone saw it. It was a few winter olympics ago, and Paul and I were on our usual Tuesday date night, at a Southwestern restaurant, sitting at the bar. (We always sit at the bar when we go out to dinner. It’s more convivial.) Of course, the ubiquitous TV was turned on to the Olympics, and curling was on. The next winter olympics, we were at a tapas restaurant, and once again — curling. And again, the next time, at a farm-to-table restaurant. First of all, do they only do curling on Tuesdays? Secondly… how is it a “sport”? It looks more like a game to me, like shuffleboard. I’m sure it’s way more difficult than it looks, but EVERYTHING is, and it’s not necessarily a sport. If it was only a matter of difficulty, then putting together IKEA stuff would be an Olympic event. (And maybe it should.)
And yet, it is strangely compelling.
THEY ARE ALL CRAZY
What is the difference between a game and a sport? I thought you might know, because I certainly don’t. The outfits really make the spectacle watchable, though, but that’s why there is an unofficial age limit on most events. I can’t imagine what many of us would look like in Teflon© coated Spandex© after age 60 or 70. I could be comfortable wearing snowboarder outfits with their loose fit, but might need suspenders.
Jono, I was stymied about the difference, too, so I asked Google. He also seemed stymied. A game can be physical or not, but a sport is physical. A game can be played for fun or competition… but so can a sport. Both must abide by a set of rules. I’m perplexed, but apparently so is Google, so I dunno….
All I know is the argyle curling pants they wore eight years ago were the BOMB.
OMG you are so funny. I was laughing out loud through out. Somehow I missed how to track you to your new look. Found ya now. Saw the Skeleton the other night and could only think these people do not have good sense. They must have previously taken a header. You described it and the rest of the events perfectly and hilariously. Thanks for the giggles.
BTW, like the new look. I’m still sporting your old look and too chicken to change.
I wouldn’t have changed without a Spirit Guide who I paid to change me. And I think a lot of people have failed to track me, from what I hear, although I’m not sure why, because anyone going to the old site would be redirected here automatically. I think I need to start all over courting an audience!
Murr, This one had me laughing out loud the whole way down. Inspired!
I stood up and shouted, “Don’t any of these kids have mothers?!”
They must not make mothers like they used to.
I loved an event that involved a single skater at a time tracing a figure (8 maybe?) on the ice. They had to be so precise that they skated so slowly that if they had been going that slowly on a bike, they’d have fallen over. Unfortunately I know this for a fact, the bike part. I don’t know what the event was called and it’s not part of the Olympics any longer, as far as I know.
RIGHT! I forgot that one. It was hypnotizing.
“School Figures” IIRC
You don’t have to have Murr’s we’ll cultivate nose for the absurd to wonder about today’s games. A fraction of a second really means the best in the world?🤣. Maybe for that fractional moment only.
I’d get to the bottom of those hills an hour late. Digging a trench the whole way.
A spit-my-tea funny one. Thanks!
I much prefer your take on these than watching the actual show on TV. The only event I’d like to sit and watch would be the ice-dancing, but I missed it apart from the re-showing of the French couple who moved with perfect synchronicity throughout.
I’ve missed ALL of the ice dancing. I just see whatever happens to be on when I flick it on, and for some reason half the time it’s curling.
You must only be watching on Tuesdays.
I surprised myself by enjoying most of it! And it keeps going on. Man, are we in week three?
How do you manage to get a posting out? I would be laughing myself silly at my own wonderful funny comments if I were you!
Oh you’re nice. And I have no idea how I keep doing this. It’s a weird calling.
What sillygirl said! You are effing hilarious!
This is great fun commentary on what has been a fascinating Olympic Games. The downhill athletes seem to be more about the crazy daring thrill and speed;some of the figure skating tension around coaching and competition not so much. My son has done “boards sports” since he was 12 and he was constantly being hauled home by friendly campus police for skateboarding on university walls and ledges and benches and curbs. The course construction in Beijing is fascinating. Thanks for a laugh out loud read.