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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Are Olympic sports becoming too extreme?

Ski jumping freaks me out, so does bobsledding. If the bobsled tips over on one of those walls, the driver is dragged along with his head exposed. That's scary enough. Skeleton has always freaked me out. It's an open sled the athletes ride head first. Sadly, someone died this year on a luge run. That's an open sled, feet first. Crash into a pole head first at 90 mph and it's certain death. Did I mention they fly down the flume at up to 90 mph???

Someone had the nerve to say "skeleton is not a sport. They don't even do anything." And she knew this from her years of experience doing it.

After Nodar Kumaritashvili's death, watching someone take a potentially brain-shattering spill on a downhill slope sent chills down my spine. But now ski cross features the largest hills I have ever seen including a 15 foot wall they must ski over and land.

Ice skating was set free to evolve quickly once the figures portion was dropped. Time "wasted" in training for that was used to develop stunts. Doubles led to triples and then quadruples and even head-over-heels flips. Ice dancing is now where pairs skating once was in terms of difficulty. And now people say ice dancing is hardly a sport? I can guarantee those people don't ice skate.

The only place where I might agree with people is with curling. However, just because it's boring to watch doesn't mean it's not a sport.

The more extreme things become, the more jaded we become towards sports. It must be outrageous to be considered a sport, even when the average person can't keep up. Even an athletic person can't keep up with the extremes. They don't just ski moguls, they have to insert flips and tricks.

Olympic athletes make the most outrageous things seem easy. Freestyle skiing realllllly freaks me out. The spectacular seems obtainable or even ordinary. By that standard half pipe snowboarding is a sport, but curling? Are you serious?? Curling? In that case, why not get rid of golf? Archery?

Well kids, according to the definition, curling a sport.

an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf,bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.

And if curling meets that definition, then so does ice dancing. And for that matter, so does equestrian, and even golf which bores me to tears when I watch it. And that's why I think most people just don't understand what sport really means. Plus people judge sports they don't engage in.

And this from the IOC website might answer a few questions.
How does a sport become Olympic?

To make it onto the Olympic programme, a sport first has to be recognised: it must be administered by an International Federation which ensures that the sport's activities follow the Olympic Charter. If it is widely practised around the world and meets a number of criteria established by the IOC session, a recognised sport may be added to the Olympic programme on the recommendation of the IOC's Olympic Programme Commission.
Here's a site which lampooned ways to make Olympic sports more extreme:

Luge death. It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Let's not forget that a family lost their son.

I love comments!


S.E.Gregg said...

A very good topic.
I agree,the Olympic sports is becoming too extreme and dangerous.
And so are some of the spiritual athletic competitions that Christians go through in the Spiritual Olympics.This is a comparison of how Christians in some countries are under unbelievable suffering and persecution.We must pray for them daily that they will keep the faith until they reach the finish line.

MarkyMark said...


I did a blog post on Nodar Kumartashvili's death. Even AFTER the course was shortened @ Whistler, it was STILL the fastest on the planet! The male lugers, who moved down to the old women's start some 200 meters down, were STILL hitting 90! Lugers don't exceed 80-85 at most other tracks.

SavvyD said...

Thanks for stopping by. It sounds like it was a seriously scary course. I remember reading that it was a slow course for bobsledders.

I was disheartened by some of the comments I read on videos that were posted on Youtube about how it was his own fault that he was killed and that he was terrible at the sport. I wondered what is wrong with people. Someone's child died. If there had been higher walls instead of that open area, he might be injured but alive.

MarkyMark said...


The track could have had an elevated wall covering the beams. Better yet, if it had been like the SAFER barriers used at NASCAR & Indy Car tracks, it could have flexed, dissipating the impact forces, so that Kumartashvili would be alive today.

Secondly, though he wasn't the best luger around, he WAS on the World Cup circuit. Generally, only the best make it to that level.

Thirdly, even the two time, defending gold medalist in Luge, Armin Zoeggler, had trouble at Whistler! If the sport's top dog had trouble, what does that tell you? He had a wicked wipeout that affected him for the duration of the Vancouver Olympics...