Friday, February 10, 2006

An Ill-Informed Guide To Winter Olympic Events

Today the Winter Olympic Games begin in Italy.  Like many sports fans, I have to confess I don’t follow most of these events on an ongoing basis.  And since I have lots of laundry to do today, I haven’t had time to do much research.  So below are my best guesses on the storylines for selected events.



Biathlon:  The intermediate event for aspiring triathletes, after they have mastered the uniathlon.  The process appears to be stressful, as the competitors keep shooting guns during races.


Bobsled:  A drunk guy named Bob hops on a sled and interrupts a race.  After a crash, he goes streaking while humming the Olympic theme.


Cross Country Skiing:  A much easier event than in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.  Italy is a smaller country to cross than the U.S.


Curling:  Much like fencing in the Summer Olympics, but competitors use curling irons as their weapons.


Downhill:  How the American television ratings will go, in comparison to the U.S.-hosted Games in 2002.


Figure Skating:  A letdown for casual viewers since the Tonya and Nancy tabloid-fest in 1994.  As consolation, Michelle Kwan competes in her 16th consecutive Olympiad.


Giant Slalom:  San Francisco Giants superstar Barry Bonds travels to Europe to see the Games.  He maneuvers back and forth to avoid sportswriters’ questions about steroids.


Ice Dancing:  A competition to find the world’s greatest Vanilla Ice impersonator.


Ice Hockey:  As the architect of Canada’s team, Wayne Gretzky hopes for a repeat gold medal.  However, his wife is betting on Sweden.


Luge:  A really cool word to say.  But even the gold medalist will have self-esteem issues, described as a “big-time luger.”


Moguls:  Inspired by the Sundance Film Festival.  Hollywood moguls run through the snow to complete movie deals in record time.


Nordic Combined:  The inspirational unification of East Nordic and West Nordic, after the infamous Nordic Wall is torn down.


Short Track Speedskating:  Why is the track short?  Didn’t they bother to finish it?  And with all these anti-doping efforts, how are athletes allowed to skate on speed?


Skeleton:  A macabre activity in which the corpses of past Olympic greats are put on public display.  As expected, Jesse Owens looks better than the dead Germans.


Super-G:  A rapper who just won a bunch of Grammys.  He’s expected to be signed to a movie deal during the moguls competition.



It remains to be seen who will emerge as the star of these Games.  For Americans, something else is unknown: Do we say Turin or Torino?