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Opinion: Time to Put Some Sport in the Winter Games

Feb 17, 2010 – 7:29 PM
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Dave George

Dave George Contributor

(Feb. 17) -- BREAKING NEWS: In a historic first, Tully Bascombe of the tiny European country of Grand Fenwick upset his favored rivals yesterday to take the gold medal in ice sculpting at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. It was a win not just for beleaguered Fenwickians, but for lovers everywhere of this majestic and storied Olympic sport.

OK. Ice sculpting isn't an actual Olympic event and Grand Fenwick is a made-up country from a 1950s comedy. But that's beside the point. Many of you probably believed for a second that maybe ice sculpting really was in the Olympics -- and why shouldn't you? Last night we watched a guy dressed up as a bird prance about on the ice to the strains of classical music.

Our nation's forefathers, when creating the Olympic Games, wove into our Constitution the immortal words "Higher, Faster, Stronger." * There was no mention of "Twirlier" and "Fluffier."

And curling? Please! Kristie Moore, one of Team Canada's curlers, is five and a half months' pregnant! Half the Winter Olympic events are not sports. And yet, here we are.

I fully accept that many of you enjoy watching these ... activities. Hey, I enjoy watching a good snowball fight, but that doesn't make it an Olympic sport.

(Of course, now that I've said that ...)

And, yes, I also concede that plenty of commentators are on record mocking sports whose sole criterion for victory is judges' scores -- or whose athletic requirements are on par with golf. (See, "Daly, John.")

But have any of them offered to fix it? Well, here I am.

I admit that there are a number of Olympic events that require true athleticism: speed, coordination and strength (with an apparent desire to cheat death being another requirement). But with my tweaks, not only will the Winter Olympics be a purer testament to sporting excellence, network ratings will go through the roof.

First, a word about luge. The death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was horrific and very unfunny. But the International Olympic Committee's solution of having the men start at the women's start and the women start at the juniors' start (and, presumably, the juniors start at the finish line) misses the mark somewhat. We don't want slower and safer; we want faster but nonlethal. The American solution? Cover the track with a Plexiglas dome the length of the course like a hamster tube. Then have everyone all start at the new Real Man start (a 100-foot ramp built of plywood and extra-slick ice). Possibly add cheerleaders.

Anthony Deane of Australia starts during men's skeleton.
Michael Sohn, AP
Anthony Deane of Australia starts his men's skeleton run.
My other Olympic dreams?
  • Figure skating should be the halftime entertainment of Olympic hockey games.
  • Curling should be a drinking game that athletes play after competing in alpine skiing events.
  • Snowboard half-pipe? Not a sport. It would be a sport if two boarders "dropped in" at the same time -- from opposite walls -- and tried to knock each other down when passing.
  • Ski jumping is boring, and it's only because of their different color uniforms that we can even tell that NBC isn't just showing the same jump over and over. So combine it with the shooting part from the biathlon: Guy jumps, dude shoots at him. (With paintballs, of course.)
  • "Snowboard cross" is a terrible name for an awesome event. It should be renamed either "stoner cross" or "death race 2010." And while I'm at it, snowboard cross competitor Lindsey Jacobellis is gorgeous and disqualifying her for merely going outside of the course is an obvious outrage. Again, she's gorgeous.
  • "Skeleton," on the other hand, is an awesome name for a sport! This is where a competitor rides headfirst, on his tummy, down an icy course atop a small platform supported by runners. Sound familiar? That's right, it's sledding! Put a scary name on it, and it's Olympic!

So, enjoy the games, but recognize, if you will, that until my sweeping reforms are put in place, they will remain just that -- the Olympic Games. Not the Olympic Sports.

* This is possibly inaccurate; however, I'm not a historian.

Dave George is a social media marketer by day and a stand-up comedian by night. You can follow him on Twitter -- @DaveGeorge_DC. His previous op-eds for AOL News include "
Rats and Turtles and Worms, Oh My!," "A State of the Union Speech We'd Really Like to See" and "A Guide for the Unemployed."

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