#782 – Nerdy Winter Olympic Events

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Alycia loves the Olympics. Summer or Winter, she is a mass consumer of Olympic programming. She will watch every minute of the primetime coverage and supplement it with some online viewing throughout the day. I think she may nerd out more for the Olympics than I do for a few of my favorite nerdclinations.

While I’m not nearly as excited for the Olympics as she is, I am more than happy to watch them with her. Over the past week we have watched a lot of figure skating, luging and skiing. I prefer the timed events as opposed to those that are scored; I like the objectivity of a clock over the subjectivity of a judge.

Here are a few of the nerdier Winter Olympic events.

Biathlon

Most nerds don’t have the strength and stamina to compete in the biathlon. I’ve never tried cross-country skiing but I think I’d rather have a tauntaun. Shooting a rifle, though, seems right up most nerds’ alleys. We’ve all spent hours staring down the barrel of an assault rifle in Halo or a sniper rifle in Modern Warfare 4. If it weren’t for all of the physical activity of skiing, most nerds probably feel like they could medal in the biathlon. I’m sure calming your breathing and taking aim at a target is just like pressing a few buttons and pulling the right trigger.

Curling

I find it hard to believe that curling is as popular as it is. I really don’t get the allure but plenty of Americans are all about sweeping ice and throwing stones. Unfortunately for the United States, our curling teams aren’t very good. Our teams only won seven of their 36 games; that’s an embarrassing winning percentage in any sport. Most of our American curlers, though, don’t have the hardened physiques of other athletes. In America curling is a lot like bowling or darts, a social game that has somehow made its way to the world stage. You could throw a curling team together and, if it was one of the best curling teams in the country, you could go to the Olympics. That’s a much easier path than training as a figure skater for 20 years or making sure your body is finely tuned machine for speed skating. I’m all about participating in an Olympic sport that allows me to eat chili cheese fries after practice.

Bobsleigh

I didn’t know that the official name for the bobsled is bobsleigh. Unlike curling, bobsleigh requires a lot of physical prowess. It requires tremendous strength and speed to get the sled going and dexterity to control the sled as it careens down the track. Bobsleigh has always been one of my favorite Winter Olympic events, even before I saw Cool Runnings. As nerds, though, part of us wants to hop in a bobsled and speed down the track. So many of my nerd dreams include flying through space and I think a bobsled could help me partially realize that dream. It could also be the closest thing to flying through the Death Star’s trench. I imagine my pilot would get sick of me saying in his ear, “Stay on target. Stay on target.”

I really do enjoy the Olympics. I like the Winter Olympics but I’m a much bigger fan of the Summer Olympics. And even though I’ll never win the 100-meter dash, I can still hold out hope to be an Olympian as curler or as an archer.

What are some of your favorite Winter Olympic events?

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2 Responses to “#782 – Nerdy Winter Olympic Events”

  1. There is actually a movement afoot to make it much harder for curling teams (which, as you point out, are self-selecting, and self-governed) to get to the Olympics. The idea is to put together “all star” teams. Problem is, that gets rid of the social aspect of the sport — which, as with most “nerdclinations,” is one of the big draws. Never underestimate the human need to connect, whether over the latest episode of “Doctor Who” or a big heavy curling stone.

    • I read an article about the tension between the social aspect of the game and the need to compete. I don’t think it’s an either/or reality. There are professional baseball players but so many more in adult softball leagues. I don’t think major league curling would be as popular as MLB, but the same philosophy could be applied to it.

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