The Winter Olympics Suck

Here’s a good ole throwback post from my blog…from 4 years ago that someone just commented on…enjoy:

The Winter Olympics Suck

Only once every four years do things like pushing rocks on ice and sliding down a giant ice tube on top of another person get prime time coverage on NBC, it must be time for the winter Olympics.

To be clear, my loathing of the winter Olympics is not born out of my personal dislike of winter in general. There are legitimate reasons why they suck.

First of all, the sports that are highlighted in the winder Olympics are dumb. The Olympics were born out of a festival to honor the Greek gods. To celebrate, all the Greeks got butt naked and ran around, threw rocks, read poetry, and wrestled…naked. Point being, they were stripped down because the Greeks honored not just the gods but the human form and all it could accomplish, which is why they included intellectual events because for some reason they thought thinking was something to be proud of.

They were also a competition where the city states showed off their best warriors in competitions born out of combat, sort of like scouting without the under table contracts before the signing deadline.

So the Olympics are about honoring all that our bodies can do and how we can best kill each other. But the luge? There are no giant ice tubes going from Marathon to Athens. And they were definitely trying hard to find filler sports for the winter Olympics when they added another person to the luge. If you really want to luge on top of your buddy, go get a room, or some sort of indoor ice tube.

Curling, as cool as it might be, is another dumb one. It’s not a sport, it’s a recreation activity. No sport that allows you to be obese and completely hammered while doing should not be an Olympic sport…or else Bowling belongs in the summer Olympics.

Biathlon could be argued to be in the same spirit as the original Greek games. If the army is skiing through the Alps it has to shoot people, that’s reasonable. It seems pretty straight foreword, but most probably don’t know that there are a whopping TEN biathlon events:
Men’s and Women’s:
10K sprint
12.5K pursuit
15K Mass start
20K individual
4 x 7.5K Relay

This really gets at the root of the problem with the Winter Olympics; it’s a struggle to find goofy winter sports to fill two weeks of prime time television. Just because NBC has the 3 am spot open doesn’t mean they have to add another speed skating event (there are 20).

Plus, I’m sick of listening to Morgan Freeman every commercial break narrate some overly dramatic heart breaking story about Curling.
Plus I hate the over-dramatization of the Olympic athletes. OK, it’s hard for a network to introduce a person and sport that we would normally never lift a finger to change the channel and watch. They figure by playing out Apolo Ohno’s life story and struggles enough we’ll feel like we know him and give a crap for two weeks every four years.

Plus I hate ‘sports’ that have some arbitrary judging system like figure skating. The Olympics have even managed to include some arbitrary scoring system into something as straight foreword as ski jumping.

The weird sport aspect and judging combine in the moguls. Not only do you have to race down the hill over a bunch of bumps, but you have to do jumps in the middle that you get scored on.

However there is one good sport: speed skating, mostly because it’s just like crit racing and there’s more crashes in speed skating than the Daytona 500. Check out the medal race from Salt Lake, and why it pays off to tail gun a pack:


Thank God January is Over

I’m pretty sure I’ll never really be a winter person. But it wasn’t until yesterday that I’ve realized that I’ve completely wasted the past 22 winters of my life.

In honor of the upcoming winter Olympics (which I ultimately hate every aspect of, but that’s a blog post in itself), I’ve extended my foray into wintertime sports going to Indiana’s Perfect North ski resort. Yup, in a mere 10 days you will see Chris Uberti tearing up the Alpine downhill ski slopes.
Alright, probably not. But my first crack as skiing went surprisingly well. Given my past experiences with sports (Baseball, Tennis, Soccer) I don’t consider myself a coordinated person by any means, and my ability to stay upright on a bike should be considered a miracle. Heading to the Midwest’s premier ski resort with the Purdue Cycling Club I sincerely believed that I would be shredding the gnar on the bunny hills all day long. When we actually pulled up to the hills and I saw first hand how steep the hills were and how fast everyone was going, I nearly wet myself. I’m used to the gradual switch back climbs of cycling…that and the biggest snow covers hill I’ve ever been down is the massive 100 foot Slayter Hill here at Purdue.
So we all get booted up (by the way, cycling shoes are a piece of cake to walk in compared to ski boots) and head over to the “Learning Area” full of people going down something that could barely be considered a downhill at a speed that makes snails feel fast.
So after some coaxing from Brian and his friends (all of whom have been skiing a few times before), I followed them to the chairlift to one of the blue runs, which seems like an easy color. Besides, I was feeling confidant. I had, the day before, watched a whole five minutes of instructional YouTube videos, on how to ski: Pizza and French Fries are all you need to know.

After a full three runs, I decided to hit up a black/blue hill, which in the Midwest the increased difficulty apparently means just a slightly steeper hill. Skiing, as I found from each crash, is really about some simple rules, In addition to junk food. First, you don’t corner with your inside ski, you just end up on your ass. Bend at the knees. Don’t lean too far back. Look where your going. Use your knees to turn. Going fast is really a lot of fun…but someone like me has absolutely no control at those speeds. And finally it is really hard to stand up after you’ve fallen down, especially on steep hills.
We even hit up the “Terrain Park” to hit some sick jumps. Here’s a video I expertly took of Brian shredding some gnar:
Once the sun went down the resorts lights came on and you automatically felt like you were going a lot faster. Plus, after 7 pm the place cleared out. We were able to ski from the run right onto the chairlift, making it so the only time we spent off the skis were when we were going up the mountain. By the end of the night I was able to hit the black diamonds, and only crash spectacularly once each time down. This was a great improvement over the five times I crashed the first time I tried a black diamond. I didn’t feel too bad at that attempt because between my third and fourth crash on the run, I saw a snowboarder eat it on the same hill and slide nearly a half mile on his back.
I never really mastered the art of skiing in one day but I did really start getting the hang of it towards the end of the night. The absolute fear I felt at the beginning of the day was down to a mild adrenaline high, and I was really have a lot of fun. So much so that everyone from our group left a whole hour before and the people who I gave a ride down had to call me to tell me they had been waiting in the lodge for half an hour for me to finish.
This might sound cheesy and like a South Park episode, but I really learned something from this trip. With school and cycling I’ve really been doing the same thing over and over for a while: mainly just school and cycling. While both of these things are fun and all, they are very familiar to me by now, and with familiarity comes comfort. I know exactly what to expect and have some confidence in myself in both areas. Because of this, I’ve really forgotten how much fun it can be to do something that is really foreign and outside my comfort zone.
That is part of the reason I got into cycling in the first place, because it wasn’t your suburban Baseball or Soccer. It was something completely weird and I seemed to be good at it, and the reason it was fun was because it was so challenging and when I put effort into it and I was able to get better. That’s not how everything goes, I know. I spent a lot of time playing sports like Baseball and Tennis and never got very good, which was frustrating. I guess I realized that because of this fear of failure I haven’t been going outside my comfort zone for quite a while in many ways. Things like my job search and school have been progressing a tectonic plate velocities pretty much for this reason.
Insert generic ‘sports teach you life’s most important lessons’ analogy here.
I applaud anyone for making it through the cheesiest two paragraphs in this blog’s history.