Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor
I’m not a fan of winter. I hate cold weather and I don’t like the snow and ice it sometimes brings. Back when I was a teen and young adult, my parents and colleagues attempted to coax me in to trying outside winter sports.
I did snow ski a few times, but my novice career ended when I couldn’t stop at the bottom of an icy Michigan hill, and ran in to the lodge, blooding my nose.
My attempts at ice skating were even worse. One blistering cold day I was out on a neighbor’s pond, warming up for a hockey match when I fell and broke my ankle. I decided ice skating was no longer an outdoor activity I would participate in.
Thus I watch the Winter Olympics with trepidation. Or should I rather say, I attempt to watch with interest but find people sweeping in front of a 40-pound oval or Scandinavian athletes skiing furiously only to stop and take rifles off their back and start shooting, to be comedic curiosity versus interest.
The aforementioned curling is a strange activity indeed, and one I can’t consider a sport, let alone an Olympic competition. Curling, somewhat like shuffleboard on ice involves sending a 40-pound oval shaped object (shaped like a Rumba vacuum) down a lane. In order to reach the end of the lane, one person feverishly sweeps with a broom like object to help direct the stone down the ice.
I’m told this is a medieval sport that takes great precision. It certainly doesn’t take much physical skill. If curling is an Olympic sport, I ask why isn’t Uno or Jenga?
Although we compete, the American curling and biathlon teams are rarely on the medal podium. It’s just not the type of sport, Americans are engaged in. But then I’m not sure this Winter Olympics we are engaged in much.
At this writing, the United States was in seventh place in the medal count. Norway was first and a group called the Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR) was on place ahead of the U.S. OAR banded together after Russia was banned from the Olympics having been found guilty of doping in previous years. Sad to say but OAR, without coaches or advisors, was performing better than the American team.
Just an aside, but the Americans had placed second with 28 medals in the 2014 Winter Olympics, only four medals behind first place Russia. This year the American’s total medal count will not be close to 28 or 24 or probably even 20.
Norway appears to be winning the medal count. The country with a total population slightly greater than 5,000,000 is all things winter. You rarely see a Norwegian basketball player, or track athlete, but when it comes to cross country skiing and speed skating, Norwegians dominate the landscape.
I guess if there were less cold weather wimps like me, and maybe more teens and young adults like the Norwegian youth we might be better at racking up winter medals. But then again, as I listened to one American athlete exclaim, “It isn’t about winning a medal, but about participating in the Olympic experience, I realized I had it all wrong.
Apparently despite all the money we pour in to our American athletes, at least one says “winning isn’t important.” I gotta remember that next time my Jenga blocks come tumbling down.