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2/15/2006 6:02:17 PM - Why I Don't Watch the Winter Olympics

I like the Summer Olympics, but Winter?

I don't care to watch skiing, but I would certainly agree that it's a competitive sport. I have never watched Olympic ice hockey (other than the 1980 US upset of the Soviet Union), but I have no problem understanding why other people might. Ditto for speed skating, figure skating, and a variety of other winter events.

No such understanding can be granted to the Winter Olympic "sport" of "curling." It is the most inane thing that I have ever seen. One person slides down the ice guiding some kind of a large puck and eventually lets it go. Two teammates furiously "sweep" in front of the sliding puck to try to guide it to its destination. I have no doubt that they are having some kind of a minor effect on the trajectory of the puck, but watching the event on television it's impossible to tell if their efforts have been in vain until the puck actually nears its target because any alterations to the puck's path are so miniscule. I know that they often try to hit another puck that's farther down the field, but I think that on some occasions they also just try to get it to stop in a particular spot for maximum points (on something resembling a large archery target with concentric rings whereupon the most valuable space is the smallest circle in the middle.)

This is the problem with the Winter Olympics. Who dreams up these goofy endeavors? Worse, who devotes a significant portion of their life to mastering these things? If you gnaw a pencil into a piece of sculpture it certainly shows skill, but I wouldn't make it an Olympic event.

Don't get me wrong. The Summer Olympics have their fair share of silly events. Synchronized swimming? Races whereupon you can only walk and not break into a run? The Winter Olympics, though, take the cake in this regard. Curling? The two-man louge?

Want to crank up the viewership ratings of the Winter Olympics? Add more "sports" that are actually fun to watch as opposed to so many that just have the mainstream audience scratching their heads and wondering, "Why?"

- TZ

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