Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 17, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

PSEUDO-SPORTS....I have a huge rant about all those X-Games pseudo-sports at the Winter Olympics that's been roiling around in my head for a while and could spill out onto the blog at any moment. You know the ones I'm talking about: moguls, halfpipe, snowboardcross, freestyle skiing, and so forth.

I'll spare you the full rant, but the short version is: stupid faux urban-chic-meets-Nanook uniforms, stupid faux "I'm just here to have fun" hipster attitude, stupid faux "progressive" drivel from the announcers, and stupid real iPods stuck in their ears even during competition. I figure that if the competitors themselves don't take their sport seriously enough to care about winning it, then there's no reason for me to take it seriously enough to watch it.

With that as background, then, this news actually made me happy. Serves her right.

I know this makes me a bad person, but that's the way it goes sometimes. You may now all commence hating me in comments.

UPDATE: In comments, MK points out that the "I'm just here to have fun" attitude doesn't actually seem very faux at all. That's a fair point. But if the competitors don't really care about winning or even if they're just pretending they don't care about winning why should I care whether they win?

Kevin Drum 7:16 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (164)

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Comments

I listen to music before any and all competitive events, athletic or otherwise. So I can't fault the ipod. Other than that, can't say I disagree.

Posted by: TOTL on February 17, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

TOTL: But during?

Posted by: Kevin Drum on February 17, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Aw, come on. The showboating is part of the love of the sport. She took a risk and came out on the wrong end of it, but that's how it goes.

IMO, the Olympics is a bit more fun nowadays than it was when it was just the Cold War being fought on the athletic fields.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 17, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

It's good that you're expressing yourself honestly even if you do come across as a terrified ancient flailing at the future. That said, look, in a few years those x-game type sports you deride will be the core of a winter olympics that will otherwise be about figure skating.

I also wonder about the skating, is it the skimpy outfits that are the draw? I wonder.

Posted by: MNPundit on February 17, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

I LOVED that. Showing off like that is completely against the collegial spirit of the Games and bad sportsmanship any time. It is nice to see some justice. It reminds me of Leon Lett getting stripped of the ball as he started celebrating before crossing the goal line.

Posted by: Nathan on February 17, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Damn straight!

Tell those networks to stop covering the pseudo sports and start covering the real sports. Like... curling. Or biathalon.

Posted by: Oregonian on February 17, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

stupid faux "I'm just here to have fun" hipster attitude

I dunno man, it sounded like that woman wasn't too fazed by missing the gold medal. I haven't seen these events live, but that part anyway may not be faux.

It is a different style, I'd guess. These guys have had their own Xgames-style thing going for so long that I bet they don't care that much whether the olympics likes them or not.

speaking of weird sports at the winter games though, it's tough to beat the biathalon. Cross country skiing and target shooting? what?

Posted by: mk on February 17, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

I can't say that it's more fun to watch competitors who take themselves so seriously that you'd think they were doing brain surgery or defusing an explosive device, than enthusiasts who are having fun with it. It's that grim, life-or-death attitude that leads to people taking risks like drugging themselves up or starving themselves to win.

But that's just me.

Posted by: cowalker on February 17, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sold on the X-games skiing (the downhill thing with the moguls that Toby Dawson bronzed in) but snowboardcross is exactly the sort of purely entertaining event a good Olympics needs. It's like what beach volleyball was in Athens.

Posted by: Justin Slotman on February 17, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, the DLC wants you to know that you are officially on probation because of this comment.

By reveling in the defeat of an American, you have weakened our country's resolve in the face of her enemies.

By way of penance, the DLC says you must support the next three consecutive mass-civilian-casualty US bombings in the Middle East.

Posted by: The Confidence Man on February 17, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with most of the X-sports (snowboard cross being a notable exception) is that they depend on judging. It is nearly impossible for me to take any sport seriously that depends on the subjective analysis of a judge. Snowboarding is figure skating without the pirate shirts. It is gymnastics without 13-year-olds. There's nothing more annoying about X-sports than is annoying about those other "sports". If you're trying to impress judges, and you know that judges like to see the Nanook garb and the iPods, you'll stick those bad boys in your ears and get to it. You'd be a fool not to.

Posted by: collin on February 17, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

Freestyle skiing and all snowboarding events are the figure skating/gymnastics of the snow sports. They don't belong in the Olympics. In fact, snowboarding should be banned all together.

A few years ago the ski resorts were wringing their hands about flat business. They decided to make a truce with stumpy and his typically skill-challenged friends, and allow boards on the hill. Taos and Alta, bless their souls, remain the last hold outs.

Great news though, snowboarding is on the decline and numbers in ski schools are increasing.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 17, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not going to rant about it, but its kind of ironic that the response to the joke otherwise known as "judging" in the figure skating events has been actually extended to these new "sports."

At least snowboard racing appears to be an actual legitimate competition -- I suppose if everyone decided to strap on a snowboard its just as legitimate as everyone deciding to hop in a bobsled or lie down on a luge.

Posted by: hank on February 17, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

It's Sweden V Canada for the Gold in Women's Hockey. Real men date hockey players.

Posted by: serial catowner on February 17, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

re: judging
What about diving?

Posted by: bg on February 17, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

There's nothing wrong with a sport that generally includes smoking dope. It's the natural evolution of parental values with partying on the slopes.
The music is a bonus before during or after.

Damn,born 30 years too soon,oh well,it's all good.

Oh and yes you are a bad person for thinking that.

Posted by: TJM on February 17, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I *almost* totally agree with you. Everything but snowboardcross is just a ridiculous addition to a sporting event that is desperately grasping for popularity.

The big problem is that the winter olympics are unpopular. This is largely because they should just be renamed "the rich people's olympics." Also, all the new made up sports cheapen the whole "medal count" idea (for what that's worth) because its just like, the US made up all these sports, now we make people play them in the olympics, and when we win all the medals.... well done on that. I made up a game called monkeyball that I'm sure I could trounce the world in

Posted by: Luke on February 17, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

I also wonder about snowboarding in general, at least until a releasable binding is developed.

Frow what I see, they might as well call it "falling on your ass ten times each run/interspersed with the frequent face plant" -- that would be more accurate than "snowboarding."

At first, I could not figure out the appeal. Then, I realized that since everyone sucked at "snowboarding" (except a rare few) it was a bit more social than skiing, which suffers from a problem in that intermediates, beginners and advanced skiers will want to ski different sections of the same mountian.

All the snowboarders fall down on the same basic runs. Plus, its seems completely acceptable to simply take one foot out of those bindings and watch other, competent showboarders work on their tricks. You could do that all day and still, apparently, claim to have going "snowboarding" even though it was more like "snowstanding."

Considering that snow skis are such a vastly more efficient and esthetically superior way of actually getting around on snow, one wonders how long it can last.

Compare, by the way, rap music. Rap music will never, repeat never, drop in popularity, because it is actually easier than playing actual music on an instrument and doesn't require much experience to perform.

Posted by: hank on February 17, 2006 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

So wait the US so controls the IOC that they got these X-Games winter sports in but couldn't keep Baseball and Softball in??

Posted by: Damond on February 17, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, I'm wondering what it means that I have absolutely no idea what "snowboardcross" is, and I'm wondering if I should even bother googling it. I mean, I must be terminally unhip, so why fight it?

I'm guessing it doesn't involve through a ball between baskets on the end of sticks while zooming downhill on snowboards? I guess that would be snowboardcrosse, or something?

Silly made-up sports. Now curling, THAT is worth watching!

Posted by: biggerbox on February 17, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Several factors have brought us to this pass, Kevin. TV networks desperate for cheap programming gave us X sports as a part of, or an extension of, reality shows. A cosseted and undisciplined generation (or two) believes in the artistry of its pet tricks. Oh, and don't forget the impact of an administration desperately in need of circuses (as well as bread) with which to distract an otherwise restive public.

Posted by: pj on February 17, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Calm down...calm down. The seven-month snoozefest called baseball season is just around the corner.

Posted by: Pechorin on February 17, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

I actually liked the snowboardcross. It's an entertaining skill sport. Compare it to the male figure skating where they were trying quads knowing that they would fall down. And as long as we are talking about faux sports, I have two words for you: Ice Dancing.

Just skip the puff pieces and watch the events on mute and you'll be fine.

Posted by: enozinho on February 17, 2006 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK


KEVIN DRUM: I figure that if the competitors themselves don't take their sport seriously enough to care about winning it, then there's no reason for me to take it seriously enough to watch it.

People are free to care about what they will--winning included. For many, snowboarding is "achingly beautiful." Did you ever wipe-out in a calculus competition?

Gifted participants in athletics who are not driven solely by the need to win, are not, in my opinion, losers. That is, not unless society demands it of them. Who wins then?


Posted by: jayarbee on February 17, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to see more of these pseudo-sports, like Olympic snowball fighting or air hockey.

Posted by: Mornington Crescent on February 17, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

I listen to the Olympics with the sound off for every event but hockey. And the snowboard-cross, or whatever it is, where they go down a luge-style spiral course with jumps, is one of the most exciting and fun-to-watch events there is.
Fantastic addition to the world of sport. Kevin, turn the sound off and quit being such a fogey.

Posted by: Nell on February 17, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

A couple of points:

1) anyone who thinks showboating is somehow 'unsportsmanlike' is quite simply an ass. The only people who have this attitude, in my experience, are the ones who never won anything, and never understood the exhileration of athletic excellence.

2) You can get rid of half-pipe if you want, but ice dancing is gone too. That's not a sport either.

Posted by: charles parr on February 17, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

speaking of weird sports at the winter games though, it's tough to beat the biathalon. Cross country skiing and target shooting? what?

In contrast to the "sports made up by Americans" that another commenter derided, biathlon makes perfect sense to the Finns, and even to the Swiss, Swedes, Nords, and other people who have thought seriously about fighting a war through snow.

Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft on February 17, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

There's no skateboarding in the summer olympics, and there shouldn't be snowboarding in the winter olympics. And none of that stupid freestyle skiing crap either. I ranted about this during the last winter olympics and got called un-American because of it.
I will only accept snowboarding as a truly Olympic sport if they use the 120 meter ski jump hill. Try THAT while wearing your iPod!

Posted by: charlie don't surf on February 17, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

As for the iPod, my daughter definitely manages her mood and frame of mind with the iPod. I think it's no different with the snowboarders. I think it's clever and creative.

If you think they don't care about winning, you haven't been paying attention. They just don't think it's the only thing.

I admire commitment to excellence, but I'm tired of all the hype about it. Most Olympic athletes overtrain, and would do better with less training.

The attitude to failure that we teach in the dojo is that failure is a valuable experience and that neither failure nor success should cause an extreme of emotion.

Showboating, well, Ricky Henderson was a showboat too, and Tomba, the slalom skier, also. And they know that the world is waiting for them to fail.

So, I'm kind of liking these kids on snowboards. But then, I've always been a subversive.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on February 17, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with ya!

God I hate pussy-sports. The I'm-too-lazy-and-unskilled-to-learn-a-real-sport-so-I'll-just-call-THIS-a-sport

And then idiotic literary criticism/cultural studies people clamour for equal recognition for these non-sports.

Fuckers.

Play football and such - ultimate is just for pussies.

Posted by: cdj on February 17, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

I saw one event while channel surfing this AM, which appeared to be a combination of shuffleboard and bocce, except played on ice. Oh yeah, the disks they were skidding across the ice were bigger.

It does seem they could get this over with in a week instead of dragging it out for something like 17 days.

Posted by: RickG on February 17, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

Freestyle skiing and all snowboarding events are the figure skating/gymnastics of the snow sports. They don't belong in the Olympics. In fact, snowboarding should be banned all together.

A few years ago the ski resorts were wringing their hands about flat business. They decided to make a truce with stumpy and his typically skill-challenged friends, and allow boards on the hill. Taos and Alta, bless their souls, remain the last hold outs.

Great news though, snowboarding is on the decline and numbers in ski schools are increasing.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 17, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK


Good lord Jeff, if your ass was any more puckered, you wouldn't be able to get out of your wool knickers and knee-high socks at the end of a day of 'schusshing'.

What is it about a certain type of skier that simply cannot accept that there is more than one way to slide down a goddamned hill?

It's as though, deprived of the opportunity to become 'that person on your condo board who hates everyone', they simply had to take up downhill skiing instead.

And for the record, 28 years on the boards, never snowboarded in my life, and just for a little street cred, I've dropped corbetts 3 times, and Delerium Dive 3.

Posted by: charles parr on February 17, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

ultimate is just for pussies.

Oh man, ultimate. I'm with you there. Anyone playing that is indeed a pussy.

Posted by: enozinho on February 17, 2006 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

All the snowboarders fall down on the same basic runs. Plus, its seems completely acceptable to simply take one foot out of those bindings and watch other, competent showboarders work on their tricks. You could do that all day and still, apparently, claim to have going "snowboarding" even though it was more like "snowstanding."

Considering that snow skis are such a vastly more efficient and esthetically superior way of actually getting around on snow, one wonders how long it can last. Posted by: hank

Q: What do you call a snowboarder who breaks up with his girlfriend?

A: Homeless.

Q: What's the difference between a snowboard instructor and his student?

A: Three lessons.

For every really good snowboarder there are probably twenty-five good skiers. As Hank writes, most of them spend too much of the day on their asses in the snow (90 percent of the time just below a ridge or in the middle of the run), stumping around in lift lines or falling as they get off the chair. They haven't a clue about slope safety or etiquette. Moguls and ice completely defeat 99 percent of them. Unless it's a freshly groomed run, they're screwed.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 17, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Notwithstanding the fact that I don't really project a long life for snowboarding, actually, IMO one part of Kevin's theme here is off -- if anything, the Olympics should be the showcase of "not actually caring about winning."

It is still essentially an amateur competition. For most of the athletes, the only reason to participate in their sport is the joy they get from it.

In that respect, I must say, there is no reason not to have all of these events in the Olympics. If in the next five or ten years, snowboarding is replaced by lashing one snow ski to one's ass, then add that as an event as well.

Might as well have skateboarding in the Summer Olympics, after all, its the skateboarders who enjoy it, so who cares what anyone else thinks?

Posted by: hank on February 17, 2006 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II

I picked up snowboarding as a teen, after having been a fairly accomplished skier. Now I go up and snowboard on one day and ski the second. They are both great sports that require a good amount of skill.

Posted by: enozinho on February 17, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

And by the way, before I get flamed with Jeff II, I don't object to anyone chosing to snowboard, per se, I just don't quite think it will last.

As the hip thing of the moment? Sure, why not, there have been dumber crazes that I've seen. Plus, its getting harder and harder for teenagers to find things their parents don't also like to do. As a long term recreation? Can't see it.

Posted by: hank on February 17, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Consider that juggling and tug-of-war used to be Olympic events, so it IS possible to get rid of stupid non-sport events.

Posted by: charlie don't surf on February 17, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

A word about biathlon, the most macho sport ever. First, the athlete does some XC skiing, which is one of the most aerobic activities one can engage in. Then, they settle in for a little target shooting, which requires controlling one's heartbeat. Then they repeat. Heart rate up, heart rate down (on command), etc., over and over. Damn, if that ain't cool, I don't know what is.

Ice dancing, on the other hand, is just stupid. It's athletic, sure, the same way ballet is athletic, but it sure as hell isn't a sport.

Posted by: rod on February 17, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

And while I'm not hot on snowboarding as an oly sport, it is patently obvious to me that boardin is how God meant for Man to go down a mountain. Skis are like Forrest Gump's leg braces after boardin...

Posted by: cdj on February 17, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II

I picked up snowboarding as a teen, after having been a fairly accomplished skier. Now I go up and snowboard on one day and ski the second. They are both great sports that require a good amount of skill. Posted by: enozinho

I agree. The problem is that most "snowboarders" never bother to acquire any.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 17, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Simply put: If the "sport" is judged, it's not a sport.

Not sure why Kevin is singling out snowboarding and its like, though. Ice dancing and really all those ice gymnastics competitions are just as ridiculous.

Posted by: The Dude on February 17, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

While we're at it, we should also get clear on the fact that baseball isn't a sport. It's a game. A sufficient reason for this is that baseball doesn't *require* one to be athetic.

Posted by: cdj on February 17, 2006 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

Pehaps even enozihnho would confirm the following:

1. When he says he was a "fairly accomplished skier" I would be that actually means that he was in the top 1-5% of skill of skiers actually on a recreational mountain on a typical weekend or holiday day.

2. If, as I suspect, it was more like the top 1%, our man eno transferred that well honed balance to his snowboard, and off he went.

3. What intrigues me is not the status of the top 1%, but what of the bottom 99%? Hell, lets just stick with the bottom 50%. Last time up, I took my ten and five year olds out locally here in SoCal. Barely any snow. Barely any hill, for that matter, but good for helping my five year old learn. In the lift line, I struck up a conversation with a twenty-something dude and his girlfriend. Not only was it their first time on skis, it look like it was the first time this chap ever saw snow. Nonetheless, while waiting for the chair I passed on a few of the very, repeat very, basics, and despite his complete lack of experience, and a body which looked more suitable for couch potatoing than sporting, he managed to get down the hill pretty well.

4. By comparison, my five year old and I saw many beginning snowboarders. Due to the non-releasable binding issue, one had to be carried off by the ski patrol after, and I am not exaggerating, a two mile an hour fall. My five year old essentially learned slalom skiing that day working his way around all of the fallen snowboarders.

True? And if so, how can this last?

Posted by: hank on February 17, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Good lord Jeff, if your ass was any more puckered, you wouldn't be able to get out of your wool knickers and knee-high socks at the end of a day of 'schusshing'.

Wool knickers? Nothing but Schoeller for me, baby.

What is it about a certain type of skier that simply cannot accept that there is more than one way to slide down a goddamned hill?

That would be the case because 90% of snowboarders are either a hazarad and/or annoyance on the hill.

And for the record, 28 years on the boards, never snowboarded in my life, and just for a little street cred, I've dropped corbetts 3 times, and Delerium Dive 3. Posted by: charles parr

I'm impressed. But Jackson's another place you don't find the skills challenged, which, again, defines most snowboarders. And the ones that may dive in the coulier after you will have the skill. But again, that certain ratio . . .

I'm leaving for Sun Valley Tuesday, Charles. Where are you skiing this week? And, where do you stand on shaped skis? I think even mid fats are extreme unless you live in Utah.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 17, 2006 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

I've snowboarded for years, and even I'll admit the halfpipe is pretty ridiculous. The boardercross, eh, not so bad. Better than male figure skating.

Posted by: luci on February 17, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

Mark and Brian did a great skit on the half-pipe event on Tuesday's show. Basically it was color commentary all in snowboard dude-speak. Very amusing and a nice distraction from the Sepulveda Pass.

I've been disenchanted with the Olympics for quite a while. Guess I'm just an old fuddy-duddy, but Olympic baseball? Olympic snowboarding? Why isn't skateboarding an Olympic event? Or roller-blading?

Give me the old ABC, thrill-of-victory, agony-of-defeat fencing, biathalon, figure 8 figure-skating, over the new, Oprah-esque ESPN-ified dreck any day. Really, how many "inspiring" and "heroic" stories of determined athletes overcoming adversity/alcoholism/apoplexy can we take?

Posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies on February 17, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

Faux Sports in the Winter Olympics?
They can stay as long as the Summer Games has
Rhythmic Gymnastics with the dancing with cat toy event.
Lets see. Rhythmic Gymnastics has dancing with bowling pins,
Dancing with rubber ball, dancing with hoop, and dancing with cat toy..........what a joke

I agree, if it is judged, it is an exhibition, not a competition

Posted by: Matthew on February 17, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Hank -

I think you're right in the sense that you see a lot of newbies throwing on a snowboard and hurting themselves. You can learn the snow plow in five minutes. It takes at least a day of falling down to get a hold of snowboarding, even for people that have been skiing their whole lives.

But I don't think that's what most people's complaints are with snowboarding is it?

Posted by: enozinho on February 17, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

Snowboard Cross has to be the most exciting thing I've seen in the winter olympics. All the rest bore me.

Also there are far too many non-sports in the olympics (summer and winter). Any activity that is "judged" is not a sport, but rather an artistic performance. If they are going to have artistic performances in the Olympics they should have stand-up comedians as that would be far more enjoyable, and we could talk about those "Sudanese comedians" at the office in the morning.

Posted by: Steve on February 17, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

ahem.

"ultimate is for pussies"?

i dare any one of you donut-snarfing computer-jockeys to play ultimate for FIVE FUCKING MINUTES and not DROP DEAD immediately afterwards as your bloated chris penn-esque heart explodes.

it is the most running-intensive of all outdoor sports (yeah, someone actually did a study of this, hell if i know where to dig it up).

people who DON'T play ultimate are pussies.

Posted by: rqz on February 17, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Dang it, really wanted to comment on this - But I missed the damn bus - can't get settled in - probably will be repetitive - don't feel the aura - something is all black inside

Jeff II - try Taos or even for fun, try Targhee.

Posted by: stupid git on February 17, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

it is the most running-intensive of all outdoor sports (yeah, someone actually did a study of this, hell if i know where to dig it up).
people who DON'T play ultimate are pussies.
Posted by: rqz

I like ultimate ... but unless you quote me something reliable, I'm going to turf that honor onto soccer ... nothing is harder than soccer.

... as for the topic at hand ... this stinks of some crotchety old man drum bitching about how good sports were "back in the day." jesus christ ... there are at least a dozen olympic events that are less deserving of their status, including any of the team sports.

Posted by: Nads on February 17, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

Eno,

Well, I'm sure Jeff can speak for himself, as it sounds like he does have complaints. But I don't really have a "complaint" with it, I just sort of don't get it.

I grew up in flat Wisconsin, so my youth winter sport was hockey. I took up skiing, if you could call it that, at about age 28. Even though I have not skied that much, perhaps less than 75 total days, almost everything except steep, true black diamond is enjoyable, and I'm now 46.

I frankly can't imagine anyone over age thirty taking up snowboarding because of the non-releasable bindings and most of us have to work for a living and a broken wrist or two is not going to cut it.

Snowboards strike me as completely logical way for surfers and skateboarders to basically avoid learning new skills, and transfer their existing balance to snow. Moreover, at the very top end, when you watch the latest Warren Miller film, it looks to me like the best skiers and boarders are equivalent when it comes to coping with terrain.

However, for the rest of us, I can't quite make sense of it.

Posted by: hank on February 17, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

people who DON'T play ultimate are pussies.

The only guy I ever knew that played Ultimate was an after-school "coach" at the local middle school. He only introduced ultimate after a summer of getting dunked on at the basketball court by me and my friends.

Posted by: enozinho on February 17, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

Amen, brother. If you can add these "sports" to the Winter olympics, I don't see a reason not to add roller-blading and skate-boarding to the summer olympics.

Posted by: Alexander Wolfe on February 17, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

But if the competitors don't really care about winning or even if they're just pretending they don't care about winning why should I care whether they win?

Here's a thought: maybe the Olympic Games aren't all about you!

These are world-class amateur athletes competing against each other at a level most of us can only dream of reaching. Maybe for some of them, the joy and challenge of reaching this exalted level and competing against other outstanding athletes might just be more important to them than winning... let alone more important than whether some couchbound viewer in California cares whether or not they win.

I know the Olympics have become a big TV spectacle, but the primary purpose of sport is not solely to entertain you. The Olympians are not entertainers, they are athletes.

Posted by: A. Signalstation on February 17, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II - try Taos or even for fun, try Targhee.
Posted by: stupid git

I'm let out of my cage just once a year, and head to Colorade because I have a Buddy Pass for Frontier with a friend who flys out of Denver. Therefore, his brother and I go up I-70. We skied Vail for three days last year, Vail twice this year with a day at Keystone (a Tuesday so the place was empty!) and a day at Breck.

Taos is someplace I've always wanted to go. I'm afraid they may be out of business in the next decade because of global warming.

Targhee has always looked good - sort of the Alta of the northern Rockies with its big dumps.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 17, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see a reason not to add roller-blading and skate-boarding to the summer olympics.
Posted by: Alexander Wolfe

Aren't in-line versions of figure skating and speed skating been on deck as demo sports for Beijing?

Posted by: Jeff II on February 17, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

> I also wonder about the skating, is it
> the skimpy outfits that are the draw? I wonder.

If so, the US Olympic snowboarders are safe since their uniforms this year look like rejects from the latest Michlin Man commercial shoot.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on February 17, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

Any sport that requires subjective opinions of judges should be banned from Olympic competition. If I can't look at a clock, or count the number of points scored by a team or individual, it doesn't belong in the Olympics. As such, boardercross is a hell of a lot more of a sport than figure skating.

And Im even willing to extend this to ski jumping. Until they get rid of style points, ski jumping is dead to me. Seriously, I dont care if the dude lands on his head, if he goes the farthest, he should win. I think theres enough incentive to land cleanly without throwing points into the mix.

If I cant tell who wins just by watching (and getting a little guidance from a clock or scoreboard), its not a sport.

Posted by: Vladi G on February 17, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

As a person who skied in Utah for many years I can tell you that the skier/snowboard war is alive and well. 3 of my best friends are great snowboarders and have mad skills. I have seen all three bomb through Great Scott at the Bird which is about a 50 degree slope at the top. (Albeit nothing like Corbets, I am very impressed that someone dropped in there three times, I do not posess enough skill to do it, and am too old to try). But spend a day at Brighton in Utah and you will see what others have complained about.

The guys that I know that board only really like it on powder days. Hard pack is just too much work and not alot of fun.

And Jeff, I think Deer Valley still doesn't allow. And Alta is the best place in the world to ski.

Posted by: Scott on February 17, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK
TOTL: But during?

Well, I'm not big on participating in sports any more, but anything that helps you keep mental focus is good. If music is something that, because of the way you've trained, is part of your mental focus, well, then, listen to it during competition.

Really, this whole post is one of the most bizarre, petty, childish things I've ever seen on this blog. At least, outside of the comment section.


Posted by: cmdicely on February 17, 2006 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Do you need to care who wins in order to enjoy the competition?

Speaking for myself (a snowboarder) I get a big thrill out of watching the half-pipe competition. The tricks are outrageous, and outrageously difficult and dangerous. There is ample skill and courage to be admired.

The reason I find myself caring who wins is that I have my own opinion of whose run was the most impressive. Whether or not that competitor lives for winning is not that important to me.

Also, the i-pod: anything that helps an athlete relax & focus is also helping that athlete reach the highest heights.

Simply put: If the "sport" is judged, it's not a sport.

Boxing is not a sport?

Posted by: obscure on February 17, 2006 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

I'm trying my best not to go off on a rant here....

Ah fuggit. Bunch of stick-in-the-muds you are. While I'm actually kinda agreeable about the idea that judged sports are kinda bleh...if you look at it..there's quite a few judged sports. Gymnastics, Figure Skating, Diving, etc.

However, if there are going to be judged sports in the Olympics, then guess what. You're going to have to accept Snowboarding, and Skateboarding/In-Line Skating/BMXing would already be in the Olympics if it wasn't for the drug policy (no lie).

And as for Kevin's comment. Guess what. I'd be shocked if any other competitor would be even remotely offended by that "showboating". It's par for the course in those sports. It's second nature to these people. Is the game out of reach? In that case, you still need to entertain the crowd that's come out to see you.

In any case, in the X-Games type sports, it's a COMPLETLY different type of competition than what you see in the Olympics. It's none of the cold, distant respect. These people are in a community, and usually talk on a fairly routine basis. Good example. A Japaneese kid (one of a pair of twins. Both amazing)...hit the first of a certain trick in the In-Line competition at the X-Games finals a few years back...(A Flatspin..for what it's worth. Body paralell to the ground and spinning horizontally. It's an insane trick.) What happened? When he hit it he was MOBBED. Not by fans, but by the competitors, who were congratulating him.

It's a different dynamic. And quite frankly, as far as I'm concerned it's MORE sportsman like, not less.

Posted by: Karmakin on February 17, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

I don't like basketball.

Posted by: republicrat on February 17, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I really like the moguls competition. As a skiier, I can tell you that mogul skiing is far more physically and technically demanding than any of the other ski racing, especially when you throw in the aerials. It is also, hands down, the absolute coolest way to ski. You want to show off and impress, look good in moguls.

I kinda like curling too, but it is much more a strategy game than a true sport.

Posted by: Timothy on February 17, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

A couple more things now that my rage is gone down.

#1. Moguls have been an Olympic sport for a while. Free-Style skiing, as both Moguls and Aerials are known, have been around for a while. Moguals have been a medal since 94, and arials in the Olympics after that.

#2. I listen to music when I need to concentrate myself. It's a generational thing. The dull roar of a crowd or silence is VERY distracting.

Posted by: Karmakin on February 17, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

I'm going to turf that honor onto soccer ... nothing is harder than soccer.

I just want to put in a plug for cycling at this point in the discussion. Soccer is certainly hard but riding a bike through the Alps... now we're talking (or not, because we're too busy gasping for air)

Posted by: Paul on February 17, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Karmakin.

I was just commenting to coworkers today on how refreshing it was to see the boarders right after their runs. They looked like they were having fun! And, yes, they were congratulating each other! World of difference from the downhillers.

As for being a sport, its much easier to appreciate a sport if you've tried it yourself and I'm guessing many in this discussion haven't tried snowboarding. I've only done so vicariously. I watched my oldest son first learn to ski and then to snowboard. He loves it! He never went back to skis. For the kids his generation (mid-20s), skiing is something your parents do. I'm guessing snowboarding is here to stay.

Posted by: karin on February 17, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Just a side comment on the iPod when skiing/snowboarding issue. Some years ago, at a Vet's ski race, the assembled multitude was confronted with a glare ice race course. You could check your makeup in the ice.

Before a practice run, a pro coach friend of mine came up to me and handed me a pair of earplugs. "Try it. Here's the deal: When you hear your skis start to skid on the ice, your muscles tense up, and that is NOT what you want to happen. If you can't hear the screeching of the skis on the ice you do not have the fear reaction, and you'll stay loose, you'll be able to feel your edges."

The earplugs weren't an iPod but they worked. I mean, I didn't win the race, but I realized the good sense of cutting off that particular sensory input in those conditions.

So I can sort of see the iPod possibilities.

Writing from Montana, where it is approaching 25 below zero tonight, and where anybody going skiing/snowboarding tomorrow better be damn careful of exposed skin.

Posted by: Skip Schloss on February 17, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

There's an Olympics on? Where????

Thank God I stopped watching this bullshit 20 years ago.

Posted by: TCinLA on February 17, 2006 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

WTF are these comments about all these absurd X-sports being "entertaining"??? Sports is not about entertainment. Its about VICTORY. Its about blood, guts, power, strength, honor, and duty. Its about teamwork, dedication, and discipline. Its about kicking ass and taking names later. By gawd its about America's place in the world. Its about the smell of napalm in the morning.

Ummm...ok, skip that last one.

Oh yea--and no f+*%ing pirate shirts.

:)

gbd

Posted by: Catcher on February 17, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

What great timing Kevin. I just saw Linday Jacobellis choke away her snowboard race because she was showboating on the 2nd to last jump.

I'm so thrilled she lost. I'm just somewhat saddened she didn't break a leg. And we wonder why the rest of the world hate American.... this arrogant American sl*t is perfect evidence.

Thank GOD Thank GOD Thank GOD!!!!

Posted by: ernie v on February 17, 2006 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

Dude, you don't need to get all gnarly on those righteous boarders. They kick some righteous ass and still get the 4:20 on with some moshin' bad 'tude!

Word.

Posted by: Fred Flintrock on February 17, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno - the Jacobellis thing is pretty funny - but the sport is absolutely riveting.

Posted by: Jomo on February 17, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

I have a few comments.

1.) I skied for 8 years, switched over to snowboarding (11 years) and haven't had the slightest desire to strap on two planks.

2.) I am surprised to see the amount of animosity expressed towards snowboarding from so many skiers. Admittedly, a lot of kids are enamored with the sport for its image, but it's pretty dang fun, too. I thought a lot of the skier/snowboarder attitude died down in the last few years, but maybe its just because I'm an adult (and a rather large one) and skiers don't want to express their true feelings to me.

3.) Most snowboarders (that I know) really don't care if folks think it's a real sport. In fact, I remember that the first year that snowboarding was included in the Olympics, many snowboarders (myself included) were not in favor of its inclusion. The "Michael Jordan" of the sport refused to participate, and a popular sticker proclaimed "Snowboarding is not about the Olympic$"

4.) I have had season passes in New Zealand, Montana, and Oregon. I have an avalanche beacon and a shovel, and I can ride ice, bumps, etc.

5.) There are jerks of all stripes on the slope. This include gauche snowboarders and pretentious skiers.

6.) I truly respect telemark skiers.

Posted by: j on February 17, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

It's Sweden V Canada for the Gold in Women's Hockey.

Actually it's Sweden vs. Canada in Women's Ice Hockey. Hockey is a summer sport.

Posted by: ogmb on February 18, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

I'm actually more entertained by the total wipe-out of U.S. skeletoners. Now there's an X-sport that was only included to give Americans more medals.

Posted by: ogmb on February 18, 2006 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

People showboat and hotdog in most sports. I love it when they screw up doing it. Since it is disrespectful to your opponents and lets your team down.

Posted by: Fat White Guy on February 18, 2006 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

uh... Kevin? How is snowboarding any less of a sport than, say, giant slalom? curling? figure skating?

Posted by: buck turgidson on February 18, 2006 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

curling? . . . Posted by: buck turgidson

Buck, surely you jest? Curling's like bowling or billiards. Yes, there is skill involved, but it isn't athletic in the least.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 18, 2006 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

Waaay back up thread, Luke provided the answer to why I and a whole lot of other Americans just don't give a shit about the Winter Olympics. It's for rich people. These pseudo sports are engaged in by people who don't have anything else to do and obviously don't have to earn a living. Hockey used to be the one genuine amateur sportsort ofbut now the pros are there. The Summer Olympics still have a lot of po' folk, e.g., not too many Kenyans are getting rich by winning the distance races, which is why it's still a more compelling story.

The Winter Olympics was always a faux thing riding on the shirt tails of the Summer Olympics. It is small time and, based on the ratings this year, more and more Americans give less and less of a shit about this frolic in the snow. Couple that with a bunch of made-up, so-called "sports" and you have the recipe for future extinction.

Oh, and don't forget the "judged sports." Just how in the world is something a sport if a bunch of people sit around and decide how well the participant did? As has been mentioned, sport is all about besting the opponent on the field of play, not about wearing the right outfit or coming from the right country.

Save your bandwidth, Kevin. This isn't worth it. Although I do share your pleasure at this girl getting caught showing off.

Posted by: Nixon Did It on February 18, 2006 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

There ARE skill events in the summer Olympics. The various shooting events, I believe that there's a form of lawn bowling as well.

Curling requires as much if not more skill than those sports combined. Hit a rock (as it's called) at the precise angle and speed to get it to where you want to go.

Simple enough?

Do it while literally curving the trajectory of the rock behind other stones. It's the curve that makes curling a true test of skill. The problem is that Olympic...and International ice surfaces well...suck.

To see true action, you need to go to one of the Canadian championships, which probably are the premier curling bonspiels in the world, and better action than even the Worlds.

Posted by: Karmakin on February 18, 2006 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

And Jeff, I think Deer Valley still doesn't allow. And Alta is the best place in the world to ski. Posted by: Scott

I skied at Alta two days during my misspent yoot. I had, unforunately, just tweaked my knee, so I didn't ski all that well as it was swollen (I blew it out the next season). I was impressed with Alta, Snowbird, and less so with Park City, though I did get to see Stein ski by while I was going up the chair. Couldn't get a sheet of paper between his knees. No, I couldn't resist, and yelled out "No one skis like Stein." I wonder if he hears that much these days.

I think Vail is my favorite now, though I was really impressed with Keystone - great constant vertical. Of course it helped that we were there mid-week and practically skied on to the chair every run. But cold! Zero at 11,600 that AM. Not much breeze, thank god.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 18, 2006 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

Waaay back up thread, Luke provided the answer to why I and a whole lot of other Americans just don't give a shit about the Winter Olympics.

It happens outside our borders. It involves learning something new about athletic disciplines, strategies and competitions. In other words, it challenges our intellectual inertia. That's why we hate it.

Posted by: ogmb on February 18, 2006 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

Re:
"But if the competitors don't really care about winning ... why should I care whether they win?"

The bigger question is: even if the competitors care, why should I care? No reason at all unless either (a) I also do the sport (in which case I should be more interested in the performance than in who wins) or (b) I have gotten caught up in that flag-waving nationalism (which strikes me as truly stupid reason).

Posted by: focus on February 18, 2006 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

As has been mentioned, sport is all about besting the opponent on the field of play, not about wearing the right outfit or coming from the right country. Posted by: Nixon Did It

I agree, but what does "wearing the right outfit or coming from the right country" have to do with any of the Nordic or alpine skiing events, hockey, speed skating, the luge, bobsledding or the skeleton? One can certainly question the athleticism of the latter three though not the courage required), but not so for the rest.

There are only four judged events at the Winter Olympics, and only one of them, figure skating, has anything to do (though not officially) with the costume.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 18, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

I'm living in Europe, where the Olypmics play all day and night...and of course I saw the race in question. Whatever the athlete's explanation, her coach's face at that moment told the story: What a stupid but sadly predictable thing to do!

Her desperately middle-class family looked liked fools, as did she, crying at the finish line because the poor dear got second place, and they were crushed by fate. Ahhh. As they say, always cry after, never during.

Posted by: David on February 18, 2006 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

Kev -- you shoulda checked out the Rugby seven-a-side tournament. Now that's a sport. It's fast, requires incredible skill, and the players beat each others brains out on the field and then go drinking together afterwards. Fifteen a side is a little slower but still a sport. The Olympics is athletic competition, but it is hard to call it sport because of the pressure to finish in the top three in the world.

I don't understand the allure of golf. The ball just lies there waiting to be hit, and there is no contact. Compared to golf, skiing the bunny slopes is a real sport.

PS: You wouldn't believe the academic accomplishments of some of the rugby players I have known. At least one of the world's top physicists was a rugger at MIT in his youth.

Posted by: Bob G on February 18, 2006 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

Waaay back up thread, Luke provided the answer to why I and a whole lot of other Americans just don't give a shit about the Winter Olympics.

It happens outside our borders.

Actually, the U.S. has hosted more games than any other country. Throw in the games in Mexico City, Montreal and Calgary, and NA has hosted the games 11 times in the last 100 years - the Winter Games four times, and the Summer Games seven time.

It involves learning something new about athletic disciplines, strategies and competitions. In other words, it challenges our intellectual inertia. That's why we hate it. Posted by: ogmb

Seconded. Also, it doesn't involve the internal combustion engine.

Americans have never been that interested in the Winter Games. In my life time I'd say the U.S. team beating the Soviets in hockey in Lake Placid was probably the one event that Americans of a certain age can recall. Otherwise, there are no team sports (which Americans favor) to be interested in.

I think that the inclusion of professionals has steadily eroded interest as well, but that too has peaked. Many of the top athletes aren't interested in competing in the Olympics. And look how quickly American interest in the Summer Games waned when the U.S. deservedly got its ass kicked in basketball by countries playing team ball?

Posted by: Jeff II on February 18, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

In the pantheon of moguls, halfpipe, freestyle skiing, etc., I actually don't mind snowboardcross. It's a race - start here, finish there, first one across the line wins. Yeah, its a little 'X Games' but no judges, so its OK with me.

But showboating before the finish line? Yup, she's Leon Lett. Learn your lesson, and don't be stupid next time.

Posted by: Robert Earle on February 18, 2006 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

The bigger question is: even if the competitors care, why should I care? No reason at all unless either (a) I also do the sport (in which case I should be more interested in the performance than in who wins) or (b) I have gotten caught up in that flag-waving nationalism (which strikes me as truly stupid reason).

Dumb.

Posted by: ogmb on February 18, 2006 at 2:29 AM | PERMALINK

Jeez, you curmudgeon. The reason you should care is because to compete at the level these athletes compete at is incredibly hard. That's almost the entire point of the modern Olympics: Take things that many of us do as hobbies, like skiing, running, skating, volleyball, basketball, martial arts, hockey, weight lifting, swimming and yes, even snowboarding, and watch it done at the very highest level, at a level you and I and everyone either of us know will never even approach.

Look, Kevin, it's a shame that you can't enjoy new things (just kidding! Relax!), but trust me, these guys do care about winning. They just don't become assholes about it like gymnasts do. However, regardless of whether they do or not, its worth watching because three-and-a-half rotations while fifteen feet in the air is not only very, very hard but also extremely pretty to look at.

So, seriously, ditch the cynicism and just enjoy it. Snowboarding is a hell of a lot more entertaining than Luge is.

Posted by: Mark Kawakami on February 18, 2006 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK

It would be impossible for me to disagree more with Kevin.

I understand the modern sports culture that has taken hold in this country: win at any cost, using war metaphors, and pre-Superbowl pump-ups where players find reasons to hate one another in order to play better. Hate one another. In sports.

But you absolutely must remember that this attitude is a disgusting travesty of sports. And to recognize again just how repulsive this trend is requires new sports, and people who haven't yet learned that you mustn't be sportsmanlike or compete with joy if you are to participate in sports at the highest level.

Long live the joy, and shame on Kevin for trying to stamp it out and replace it with the mercenary zeal that has taken over nearly every sport at almost every level.

Posted by: mere mortal on February 18, 2006 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

Jeff II & Hank & Kevin Drum:

You're phonier than a nine dollar bill. All the name-dropping of resorts visited reveals that your true gripe is that mountain sports have gone mainstream--what's the point of bragging about your trip to Alta or Gstaad or Mad River Glen if any middle-class schmuck in the room might have gone too?

A little background on me--I was a skiier in my 20s; not world-beating, but good. I spent lots of time on the Outer Limits at Killington. I switched to snowboarding around age 30, and have never looked back. It is a different way of enjoying the mountain, requiring more finesse, anticipation, and body control. It also takes one off the piste, into the trees where the snow is better. I can also tell you that almost every year I get knocked over by some jackass skiier, but have never hit anyone--you can pull a dido turn on a board much faster than on skis. Also, you will never see a snowboarder waving his poles in the air at the entrance to the lift (should be grounds for legally justifiable tasering).

So, go back to yelling at the kids on your grass and stop projecting bullshit onto snowboarders. Yes, there are punk-ass annoying teenage snowboarders who buzz you then plop down blocking half the slope. There are also punk-ass skiiers doing the same. The problem is kids, not the apparatus.

Oh, and for the record, it is called "boardercross", not "snowboardcross".

Posted by: Kellogii on February 18, 2006 at 3:34 AM | PERMALINK

So Kevin's a Republican at heart - no heart, no sympathy, no sense of fun.

First, I've enjoyed the boardercross far more than any of the other winter sports. The biathalon is just a 19th century's drive-by on snow. The only way you could get me interested in the biathalon or ice dancing is if you combined them. Ski, shoot an ice dancer, ski some more, shoot a curling team, repeat until there are no more people left on the ice. Then the biathaletes can shoot each other down to the last man standing. Otherwise, give me boardercross and the other "X-games".

BTW if you've really been watching the "X-game" sports, you'll have noticed that the athletes - especially the American women - have been extremely supportive of one another, lots of hugging (win or lose, regardless of the nation), and lots of fun nutty personalities. Compare that to the hyper-competitive, melodramatic, super-ego-mimes on ice. Where's a biathalete when you need one?

Second, have a heart. Lindsey Jacobellis out-boarded all the competition for an entire olympic event, qualifying round after qualifying round. She's a true champion who had a commanding lead and in a moment of youthful exuberance did a fun little victory grab of her board - something she can probably nail 19 out of 20 times - and landed badly. It pales in comparison to the gloating, in-your face indifference the Swiss victor showed her.

I don't know what kind of sick, mean-spirited, hard-hearted person you have to be take pleasure in that kind of mishap. She's 20 years old and made a tiny, dumb mistake that cost her a medal. Her fault, her cross to bear - move on.

But instead of celebrating her tremendous accomplishment - getting a silver medal even AFTER a huge fall - people are instead being jackasses and treating it like a shameful loss... and that's all they want to talk about, and the only way they want to characterize it. One misstep and people are gutting her like pirranahs.

How about telling us the single greatest mistake you've made in your life... wait, no, let's take the greatest accomplishment of your life but ridicule you for not having done better. Then we can make sure that becomes the only thing you're ever known for.

With that as background, then, this news actually made me happy. Serves her right.

Suppose you went to Berkeley but didn't get into Harvard because of a stupid mistake on your application. Should that be a reason to ridicule and hate you for the rest of your life?

Seriously, take a moment to re-evaluate a really insensitive, mean-spirited attitude. It's beneath you.

Posted by: Augustus on February 18, 2006 at 4:35 AM | PERMALINK

I get bored by music because musicians don't care about winning. Why should I be interested?

I personally thought it was great Jacobelli screwed up. It was so much more interesting. It would have been even better if she had done it deliberately. What I don't get is why NBC acted like she had stolen their medal. If she isn't upset about what happened, why should they (or we) be? Chill.

Posted by: matt on February 18, 2006 at 4:53 AM | PERMALINK

Frankly, much as I like to watch and practice all kinds of sports, the Olympics have always been a big yawn. I really don't feel like watching regardless of whether the competitors want to win. In fact, a little less seriousness about it all might entice me to catch the occassional non-team event here or there.

Posted by: Nick on February 18, 2006 at 4:59 AM | PERMALINK

Our snowboarding women did little touch down dances after each halfpipe run -- so it doesn't surprise me.

Did anyone see the nike speed suits on our curlers?

Posted by: ranaaurora on February 18, 2006 at 6:10 AM | PERMALINK

On the "Nanook" outfits:

If it were your 20-year-old daughter competing on worldwide TV, would you rather she wore what Jacobellis wears or what Sasha Cohen wears?

Posted by: Thlayli on February 18, 2006 at 6:21 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin

I'm totally with you on this one.

Posted by: tomeck on February 18, 2006 at 6:52 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin seems to be a football fan, so lets examine his "sport" a bit. Start with this: Football is the only sport where the leading scorer (kicker) displays not a single one of the fundamental skills (blocking, tackling, running, throwing and catching)? Games are regularly decided by a 150-pou nd soccer player, and we are supposed to find this exciting. Pretty stupid sport.

Posted by: bubbaokie on February 18, 2006 at 7:14 AM | PERMALINK

My thoughts are this. If you are in a competition to have fun and not win, you have a strange sense of both competition and fun. Why compete at all if you just want to have fun and don't care about winning? There is hardly any snow in Torino right now. If I had the time and money to be at the Olympics like those boarders "having fun", I'd would instead be in Utah right now skiing sick powder day after day. That, sounds like fun. Dorking my way down some bogued up "snowcross" course sounds like a major league waste of time. It's not about fun, whatever they say. It's about money and winning. Only the losers say they were there to have fun.

As for snowboards, I'll tell you why skiers hate them. It's because the powder stashes used to last until lunch and now they're gone an hour after the lifts open. And skiers know damn well that there is many a snowboarder chowing powder who would be totally lost in the deep on a pair of skis. And if they strapped on the free-heel hippie sticks I use, well, they wouldn't even be able to get on the chair. It's greed and envy man, that's all it is.

Posted by: wank on February 18, 2006 at 7:20 AM | PERMALINK

Then Kevin, don't watch.

Isn't the point of the Olympics to get more people to engage in sport? And if these sports happen to be ones you don't like, well, it's just too fucking bad.

Posted by: Michele on February 18, 2006 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

mk: It is a different style, I'd guess. These guys have had their own Xgames-style thing going for so long that I bet they don't care that much whether the olympics likes them or not.

Damn right. They've got their endorsement contracts for peddling this dangerous crap to the next braindead generation so why should they care?

Recreational skiing in this country owes its existence to returning vets of the WWII ski mounted troops so biathalon makes as much sense as anything else.

Winter Games? Bah! Humbug!

Posted by: CFShep on February 18, 2006 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

Michelle,

A debateable point is whether these things are even "sport". I am surprised the IOC even includes these "sports" in the Olympics.

Goes to show that $ talks, the kind of advertising $ aimed at the punk American kid with his priorities out of whack.

Also, the hot-dogging comments are right on. Show some class.

Posted by: Chris on February 18, 2006 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

Jim Morrison said he wanted to specialize in having fun.

Posted by: Hostile on February 18, 2006 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

Watching sports on TV is the most debased activity ever devised by human beings, until you get down to the Abu Ghraib stratum.

Posted by: SqueakyRat on February 18, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

From www.sidewaysbike.com:

"Human balance is detected in the inner ear. There are three semi-circular canals positioned at right angles to each other that detect balance in three axes. These canals are separate and distinct. The three types of balance are Left to Right, Front to Back and Rotational (Yaw). Left to Right balance is what people are most familiar with and is the primary balance used for riding a regular bicycle or indeed flying a plane. In the case of flying a plane there is a visual supplement to left to right balance provided by the observation of the horizon line. Front to Back balance has very little visual input and is the primary balance used in riding a surfboard, windsurfer and snowboard. Front to Back balance is a finer instrument than Left to Right balance and offers a greater degree of artistic feedback. This is evidenced by the difference between skiing and snowboarding. Skiing (Left to Right balance) is faster than Snowboarding (Front to Back balance); however people like to snowboard because of the greater artistic expression"

This perfectly captures my feelings about boarding vs. skiing. I have always found skiing very "mechanical" - I cannot get the same sense of flow as I do when I carve down a mountain on my board.

Posted by: khansen on February 18, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

I much enjoyed this post. Laughed aloud.

But seriously, I wonder if one can extrapolate anything about the culture of Generation X from this. I mean, if one cares not about winning, whither goes the idea of progress in general?

What would Nietzche think?

A great post!

Posted by: JCB on February 18, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Put down the Geritol bottle, Kev.

Downhill skiing was a "faux sport" once....Before ski lifts there was only cross country or as the common folk called it..."Getting around in the snow"

A snowboard is just a new way to get down the hill and her "showboating" (I'd call it showmanship) provided the only real moment of the games...Look, people f@ck up...She came on national TV and answered all the stupid "How do you feel" questions that Bob Costas could dredge up.

Good for her.

She won a silver medal at the Olympics.

You Go Girl.

Posted by: Johnny@Bad on February 18, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

At least snowboardcross is a real sport, with the winner determined by objective measure. In contrast, the ski or snowboard sports, or traditional Olympic competitions like figure skating, or, in the summer games, gymnastics, in which the winner is purely determined by subjective judgement, aren't sports at all. Yes, they involve extremely difficult-to-master activities, but the same can be said for piano competitions. Actually, it is this aspect that also often makes boxing such a suspect "sport", besides the fact that it is entirely too dangerous on a cumulative basis.

Posted by: Will Allen on February 18, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Add my vote for snowboardcross as a legit addition -- with a little more seriousness and less of the stupid faux-urban attitude Kevin points to, it would rank right up there with short-track as one of the few WO events that won't put you to sleep.

Posted by: Rick on February 18, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

I also wonder about the skating, is it the skimpy outfits that are the draw? I wonder.

No need to wonder. The only reason 95% of men watched figure skating in the '80s was waiting for Katerina Witt to lose part of her costume. All those judged "sports" are an abomination.

Boardercross is a real sport: although they should allow full contact. When I was a young sprout, skiing during the reign of Evil King Richard, two friends and I decided to liven up our day by a "downhill" race, no rules. It ended with one of us going off the edge of a catwalk into a tree. Fortunately, no serious injuries were suffered.

Posted by: PetervE on February 18, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

At least she didn't talk about missing a bus, or having bad aura, or feeling black inside.

In 64, in the old AFL, the Kansas City Chiefs survived a shootout with the Houston Oilers because a young Oiler receiver spiked the ball on the two as he was going in for the winning TD.
This has been repeated several times in both the NFL and college. Even older more experienced players have picked up a fumble and run the wrong way for a TD, oops wrong end zone.

One of the problems with the current Olympics, is the tremendous commercialization - NBC watching, 3 minutes of action, then TV Timeout for commercials - like watching a 90 minute movie on Lifetime that takes a lifetime of 4 hours to watch because of commercials - plus American TV plays to the American crowd - They fail, even in the summer games, to show what the rest of the world is doing. Geez, why should we care - Go USA, Go USA.

As to the elitism, it is more with the attendees, although it is ridiculous to watch the "professionals" competing with the amateurs. And it is a bit of a turn off to watch Bode Miller with all of his Nike sponsorship speaking about winning not really mattering. Then get the hell out of the way and let some struggling kid from some frozen backwater take your place.

Franz Klammer won in Innsbruck in 76 with an unbelieveable manic trip down the hill. He had skied this course on the way to school when he was a kid. Most of the skiers, in those days were from small ski villages - they had no money until they won the Olympics; then they were well paid, such as Toni Sailer, Klammer, Jean Claude Killy.

Too bad that Canadian Broadcasting can't replace NBC and the nitwit Bob Costas, who once shunned the legendary Jim McKay, (Wide World of Sports) during a Kentucky Derby after race ceremony. Real classless guy, that Costas.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 18, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

To get a true understanding of what the winter olympics is really about just check out the fact that the U.S. won the gold in ice sculpting.Wow!

Posted by: gandalf on February 18, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'm all for women's equality in sports, but here's the flip side -- the female equivalent of Leon Lett or Roy "Wrong Way" Riegels. One of the biggest blunders in Olympic history.

Posted by: Vincent on February 18, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Hip Hop isn't "real" music. It won't last. Snowboarding isn't a "real" sport. It won't last. Aaah, yes, this vapid fad of "video games" should be over any day now.

You guys are putting the "baby" in Baby Boom.

If you enjoy the snobby elitism of places like Taos, fair enough. Perhaps the frisson is not unlike that to be had at a WASP-only golf club. I wouldn't know.

If your big complaint is about beginning snowboarders falling around you:

A) Remember your first year of "skiing."
B) Try a more difficult run.

Posted by: crash on February 18, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

WTF people, biathlon is like curling or ice dancing? It's one of the few sports there whose origin, as a test of a type of winter warfare fitness, seems very clear, and totally legit. Luge? Ice DANCING? I have no beef with such crap, but don't try to equate them to biathlon.

The biggest problem w/ Boardercross, if it even is a problem, is that, like short-track speed skating, it has a high degree of randomness.

Showboating kinda sucks, but LJ paid in full. If I were she, in my post-race, I woulda dropped a "you little people pay to see me compete, and I try to give you the best entertainment I can, hopefully while winning. Now go back to your channel surfing and STFU. Maybe you can, like, win a gold medal for BLOG READING AND COMMENTARY."

Posted by: Chasseur on February 18, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't the point of the Olympics to get more people to engage in sport? And if these sports happen to be ones you don't like, well, it's just too fucking bad.

Exactly Michelle!! If cartoongate has taught us anything we need to be careful with our free speech. Bitching about things we see on TV obviously steps over the line. There could be other people that see the same thing and choose to cry out of sincere patriotic mournfulness or even choose to place their flag at half staff. If I was a senator I'd introduce a law against being irresponsible with free speech.

If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all or say it as a fake tbrosz.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 18, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

It was supposed to be a race, as in "crossing the finish line first is the only thing that counts here".

I thought it was a stunning mistake, an insult to her sport, her competitors that had been eliminated, and all her supporters.

But it's no crime to commit an immature foolish act. You just wonder why she had not learned this lesson a long time ago. Must have led a preetty sheltered and pampered life.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on February 18, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Now having seen the fall, and, for the record, not having been one of the ones to gloat, I'm not sure that whatever the little grab was that she did in the air was really a factor.

If you lose concentration on a snowboard, catching that back edge means you are falling. I don't think there is any mechanical way to recover from catching the "heel edge" (just in case that's what it is called) of a showboard with your back turned towards the fall line and your weight heading downhill.

It was just a bad time to lose concentration, but as part of the event it seems typical. Many of the races were decided by falls, not all of them due strictly to contact.

But, also for the record, I will say this. I know a thing or two about the relative difficulty of maintaining popularity in a difficult sport or skill.

I understand why snowboarding as the new thing, is popular now, however, (i) maybe there is an answer to the releasable binding question, and (ii) with the amount of falling present in recreational snowboarding (all of you expert snowboarders and skiers please, think for a minute about the other 99% on the hill which actually PAY for the hill), I don't see how it can last at this level of popularity.

Posted by: hank on February 18, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

And also, the type of showboating involved in throwing in a method air at end of a boardercross seems, to me at least, FAR less objectionable than the type of targeted, derisive stuff that goes down at the end of every single mediocre defensive play in the NFL or NBA. LJ's botched method came across as celebratory, rather than "in your face." Stupid? Sure. Immature? Sure. Hubris? Ok. An example of disrespecting the opposition? Not much. Oh look, guys your schadenfreude is showing!

Posted by: Chasseur on February 18, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Let me share a thought that has more depth than the Winter X Games--that is, the arrogance of the Bode Millers and Princessy skaters are, like Cheney's Quail Hunt, an extended analogy for America itself. Hubris and self-absorbtion defeating self interest. The snow boarding fall was the perfect analogy for the new America. You all realize too, that what she thought was "fun" basically showed crass bad sportsmanship while her opponents struggled to complete the course. She had this coming, and we are reaping the rewards of such arrogance and callousness in foreign and domestic policy with the same out-of-control tumble to reality.

Enjoying sport, it is necessary to be ever the sportsman. Enjoying our place in the world means we must be ever gracious and tolerant and speak less of ourselves than our hopes for the collective good will of the planet.

Posted by: Sparko on February 18, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Even knowing the oucome in advance I enjoyed watching the event. Just getting into the final round required plenty of skill and determination. In the women's snoboard cross the gold was won by the only woman who didn't fall. One competitor had to be taken off on a stretcher (anybody know what happened later, is she all right?) If Lindsey Jacobelli had not done so spectacularly well up to the point of her fall, she might not have finished at all, as her board had been touched.

Really, sports commentary is the one human activity that is definitely less worthy than sports itself. Fundamentally, either you like the sport in question or you don't.

Posted by: republicrat on February 18, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

The thing that gets me about the olympics is the lack of motorized sports. It's like they're trying to make the whole thing an anachronistic international event somewhat reminiscent of ancient Greek sporting competitions. Maybe they would have an audience if the outfits were similarly anachronistic, but the Nielsen ratings for NASCAR and X-games tell us there is an easier way to make money for the olympic committee, and it doesn't involve bribing the FCC or a billion dollar investment in pixilation equipment.

The introduction of sports that require significant buldozing (moguls, halfpipe, snowboard cross), giant water pumps (kayaking), etc. is a move in the right direction, but when are we going to see olympic monster truck racing, water ski capture the flag, night vision paintball, snowmobile cross shotgun skeet, and log rolling chainsaw duels?

Modern biomedical science and pharmacology are likewise largely absent from the games. Someday they'll wake up and admit they live in the 21st century. Until then I'm going to keep the TV on the channel that was really strong men playing tug-a-war with locomotives.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 18, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Sparky, can't you at least find an athlete who's obnoxious, arrogant and a cheater to use for your analogy? And with thuggery thrown in? Because I see a lot of thuggery and cheating in our government, and it scares me more than the arrogance, which is sort of evergreen, y'know?

Surely you can find an arrogant, thuggish doper to analogize to, for your "perfect analogy for the new America?" Because you're coming up way short, Sparko. LJ's a foolish 20 year old--in your spite you're putting way too much on her. Feels good though, eh?

Posted by: Chasseur on February 18, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Do not color outside the lines!!!!!

Posted by: Phil on February 18, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Chasseur: we send 18 year olds to die every day. Some 20 y/os we coddle and coo about based on their wealth. A 20 y/o who pursues a vapid distilled reality like a child sounds about right for the country right now. Or haven't you seen the news lately?

Posted by: Sparko on February 18, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Bring back the barrel jumping.

Posted by: Olly on February 18, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

A 20 year old woman falling down is not some sort of analogy, providng deep, penetrating, insights regarding the place of America in the world.

Good grief.

Posted by: Will Allen on February 18, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you for posting on this topic. It gives an opportunity to glimpse the character of this community.

What a disappointment. I've been reading y'all for quite some time, and find myself in agreement on most all political issues. But now I see here the biggest collection of narrow-minded, mean-spirited, frustrated elitist old farts that I have encountered in quite some time. This is a liberal site????

I think the snowboard events are lots of fun - I enjoy watching them. Ice dancing too, - a lot of skill, hard work, and artistry. Since when do lib-types not respect things like this? What the hell is wrong with you people?

Posted by: Observer on February 18, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

As someone who speaks too much Dudespeak I cringe when I hear it from the next generation,
I feel responsible for this... but this will turn out to be a blessing for her... and I don't think Kevin really means to sound so mean...

Posted by: Kinko Sony on February 18, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Plushenko and the quad have turned men's ice skating into something freakish. His coreography looked like something from Zoolander and I think it was almost required to get speed and rotation for the jumps. There was a japanese skater, Takahashi, that blew everyone else away with foot work and coreography but lost miserably overall.

It's clearly time to break the sport into two: ice jumping and everything else.

Posted by: ranaaurora on February 18, 2006 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is a fogey. I'd blame it on his age, but I suspect he never got any of this stuff when he was young.

Most of what I have to say, has been said upthread, but it bears repeating.

On "Pseudo Sports"
1. I can understand the preference against judged sports, but how a guy whose daily exercise largely consists of stroking his cats and fondling his keyboard can call mogul skiing a "pseudo sport" is utterly beyond me.

1a. This distinction between judged and non-judged sports makes sense when talking about ice dancing. However, virtually all sports have subjective components. For instance, in baseball, a man stands behind home plate and "judges" whether the pitcher threw the ball through an imaginary "strike zone". I find that indistinguishable, in terms of sporting purity, from having ski or snowboard judges determine whether a participant completed a certain number of rotations or achieved a particular level of amplitude.

2. Boardercross is racing. Period. It is more real and pure than pretty much any other sport at the olympics, other than cross country skiing.

3. The iPod comment is perhaps the most revealing of Kevin's social discomfort. Clearly, a person performing with a couple of small cables running up into their helmet diminishes the sport not a whit. Kevin's real problem is that he does not understand WHY they do it. Who ARE these people who would WANT to compete while listening to an iPod? This ignorance, and Kevin's self-awareness of it, is deeply unpleasant for him. He wants the sport to go away, so he is not continually reminded of how out of touch he is with large segments of the population. I can understand that. However, I would prefer that he simply stop whining and change the channel.

On Snow Elitism

4. Nobody cares about your favorite resort, or that you ski there.

5. If mediocre snowboarders significantly impact your skiing day, you aren't that good.

6. If you really want to get away from snowboarders, hike. If you can't/won't hike, STFU.

On "Freestyle"
7. Moguls IS freestyle skiing (or a component thereof). Presumably Kevin is either talking about Aerials when he says "freestyle skiing".

8. If Kevin is talking about the former then he is a f-ing moron. Aerials has NOTHING to do with "newschool" skiing (although it is a judged sport). It does not have a tradition of "stupid faux urban-chic-meets-Nanook uniforms, stupid faux "I'm just here to have fun" hipster attitude, stupid faux "progressive" drivel from the announcers, and stupid real iPods stuck in their ears even during competition." Ironically, much of what Kevin appears to hate/not understand about newschool culture evolved specifically as an alternative to the canned "freestyle" of Aerials; a sport which became increasingly populated with gymnastic specialists. That Kevin ignorantly lumps them all together is mildly amusing .

On Competition

9. Anyone who thinks that Lindsey Jacobellis does not care about winning, doesn't understand the first thing about boardercross, or for that matter winning. Simply put, you do not end up in the boardercross finals of the olympics if you are not a tough fighter.

10. What Jacobellis appears to have is something called PERSPECTIVE. Kevin Drum, Bob Costas, and others want to reduce Jacobellis to a single conclusion: She Blew The Big One. That Jacobellis isn't playing along indicates to them that she never cared in the first place. What it indicates to me is that she is able to put the entire episode into context.

11. People who are criticizing the "showboating" as bad sportsmanship are a bunch of idiots. It wasn't the least bit unsportsmanlike, and if she hadn't fallen nobody on the planet would have suggested that it was.

12. People who are criticizing the "showboating" as being too risky are similarly idiots. Boardercross is FULL of risks. Every turn and jump during the race is fraught with risk. The method grab at the end was a rather small one. No, she probably shouldn't have tweaked out the grab. But the real problem was that she lost focus. If you lose focus, you can fall with no tweak.

Now, that's a rant!

Posted by: space on February 18, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: cdj on February 17, 2006 at 8:20 PM |

"While we're at it, we should also get clear on the fact that baseball isn't a sport. It's a game. A sufficient reason for this is that baseball doesn't *require* one to be athetic."

Tell that to Michael Jordan

Posted by: gosox on February 18, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

sport (n) - an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.

Hmm, sounds like a lot of you are full of it. Oh wah, people are listening to music while competing -- how DARE they. Someone said they didn't care if they won? Sacrilege!

Oh how those who are so busy patting themselves on the back for their "progressive" and "liberal" mindset must not notice how "conservative" they sound now. Rather disappointing.

Posted by: Pyrrho on February 18, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

sport (n) - an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.

Hmm, sounds like a lot of you are full of it. Oh wah, people are listening to music while competing -- how DARE they. Someone said they didn't care if they won? Sacrilege! I mean, somewhere there are rules on how people are supposed to behave, and these kids obviously haven't read that list. The social order is threatened!

Oh how those who are so busy patting themselves on the back for their "progressive" and "liberal" mindset must not notice how "conservative" they sound now. Rather disappointing.

Posted by: Pyrrho on February 18, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

> The thing that gets me about the olympics is the lack of motorized
> sports. It's like they're trying to make the whole thing an
> anachronistic international event somewhat reminiscent of ancient
> Greek sporting competitions. Maybe they would have an audience if
> the outfits were similarly anachronistic, but the Nielsen ratings
> for NASCAR and X-games tell us there is an easier way to make money
> for the olympic committee, and it doesn't involve bribing the
> FCC or a billion dollar investment in pixilation equipment.

> The introduction of sports that require significant buldozing
> (moguls, halfpipe, snowboard cross), giant water pumps (kayaking),
> etc. is a move in the right direction, but when are we going to
> see olympic monster truck racing, water ski capture the flag,
> night vision paintball, snowmobile cross shotgun skeet, and
> log rolling chainsaw duels?

> Modern biomedical science and pharmacology are likewise
> largely absent from the games. Someday they'll wake up
> and admit they live in the 21st century. Until then I'm
> going to keep the TV on the channel that has really
> strong men playing tug-a-war with locomotives.

Best. Fake. Tbrosz. Post. EVER. :). :). :).

I nearly wet my fricken pants I laughed so hard.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 18, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, nearly all sports have some subjective elements, particualrly team sports involving some sort of ball, but the activities in which the winner is determined solely via the opinion of judges are not sports, no matter how difficult the activities are, or how fun they are to watch. It's hard to make good movies, and good movies are fun to watch, but that doesn't mean the Academy Awards are a sporting event.

Posted by: Will Allen on February 18, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Will: we seemed to have launched a culture which falls down a lot while trying to show off. It was a pretty exacting analogy that probably hit too close to home.

Posted by: Sparko on February 18, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

I guess as long as America is also still made up of Shani Davis's, we will be all right anyway--the truly gifted can make up for a tone of grand-standers. There is never an all-inclusive sterotype, and we would do well to remember that, but it is hard these days with politics paramount and leadership lacking.

Posted by: Sparko on February 18, 2006 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

and bobsled is a "real" sport?

biathalon?

ping pong?

that one where they jump over the water on the track?

If you don't like it, fine - but for a lot of us, snowboarding and other "faux" sports are far more interesting than their conservative counterparts at the olympics. I just can't wait until skateboarding makes it to the Summer Olympics. It's just as difficult and demanding and graceful as gymnastics, and doesn't stunt people's growth.

Posted by: kevin on February 18, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Franz Klammer won in Innsbruck in 76 with an unbelieveable manic trip down the hill.

That stands as the most incredible run since skiing has been televised.

Too bad that Canadian Broadcasting can't replace NBC and the nitwit Bob Costas, who once shunned the legendary Jim McKay, (Wide World of Sports) during a Kentucky Derby after race ceremony. Real classless guy, that Costas.
Posted by: thethirdPaul

I've been watching CBC as well.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 18, 2006 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I really like the moguls competition. As a skiier, I can tell you that mogul skiing is far more physically and technically demanding than any of the other ski racing, especially when you throw in the aerials. Posted by: Timothy

That is utter horseshit. The amount of control required to make a turn at 80MPH is far more difficult than anything done in mogul competition. Save for landing on your head off the jump in mogul competition, the risk factor is at least 10 times greater in the downhill. In fact, moguls were actually a hell of a lot more interesting and demanding back in the early days of freestyle competition in the 1970s when they didn't have a prepared course with sculpted bumps. You were expected to go fast, but use the whole hill, and improvise ariels on the bumps.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 18, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK
Consider that juggling and tug-of-war used to be Olympic events, so it IS possible to get rid of stupid non-sport events.

Juggling? Never. Tug-of-war, on the other hand, was in the Olympics.

Posted by: eric on February 18, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK
I'm actually more entertained by the total wipe-out of U.S. skeletoners. Now there's an X-sport that was only included to give Americans more medals.

Skeleton was invented in Switzerland and predates the modern Olympics--summer and winter. In addition, the U.S. may have experienced some recent success, but they're hardly a power in skeleton.

Posted by: eric on February 18, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

winning vs. fun

too many comments to read them all. sorry.

When there's a big local H.S. game and kids come around and report to other kids that the game is over (I work with some kids at night in a theater that wish they could go to the games) the question is always, "did we win?"

I love trippin' them out and making their little brains work by asking, "oh, games over? did they look like they were having fun?" before asking who won.

try asking that next time you would normally ask who won.

or not. but it might be fun.

Posted by: speculator on February 19, 2006 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

No, Sparko, it probably indicates that you need to cut the 'shrooms in half for the morning omelette.

A 20 year old got excited and fell down. It has no greater signifigance. Take a second mortage out and endeavor to acquire a clue.

Posted by: Will Allen on February 19, 2006 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

Whatever...

Posted by: MarkH on February 19, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

The boardercross race with LJ was the most interesting thing I've seen in a long time. As already pointed out many times, screwing up a sure thing because of showboating is part of all competitive sports. Besides the Lett example, I've personally seen many football games turn on ill-advised showing off.

Posted by: sj on February 19, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Somewhat related to LJ's immature showboating is that the press has begun to hint that Miller's dismal Olympic showing may be the fact that he's a drunk. Just like Rick James and Eddie Murphy, it seems Bode wants to "Potty all the time."

Posted by: Jeff II on February 19, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

about asbestos cancer and prostate cancer,asbestos Cancer also called

malignant prostate Cancer
mesothelioma is a disease in which
prostate Cancer (malignant) cells are found in the sac lining the chest (the

pleura) or abdomen (the peritoneum). It is a rare form of cancer. Most people with malignant
mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they breathed asbestos.

You should see a doctor if you experience shortness of breath, pain in the chest, or pain or swelling in the abdomen. If

there are Prostate Cancer symptoms, your doctor may order an x-ray of the

chest or abdomen.

Your doctor may look inside the chest cavity with a special instrument called a thoracoscope. A cut will be made through the

chest wall and the thoracoscope will be put into the chest between two ribs
asbestos Cancer Symptoms. This test, called thoracoscopy, is usually done in

the hospital. Before the test, the patient will be given a local anesthetic (a drug that causes a loss of feeling for a short

period of time). Some pressure may be felt, but usually there is no pain.

Your doctor may also look inside the abdomen (peritoneoscopy) with a special tool called a peritoneoscope. The peritoneoscope

is put into an opening made in the abdomen. This test is also usually done in the hospital. Before the test is done, a local

anesthetic will be given.

If tissue that is not normal is found, the doctor will need to cut out a small piece and have it looked at under a microscope

to see if there are any cancer cells. This is called a biopsy. Biopsies are usually done during the thoracoscopy or

peritoneoscopy.

The chance of recovery (prognosis) depends on the size of the cancer, where the cancer is, how far the cancer has spread,

your age, how the cancer cells look under the microscope, how the asbestos

Cancer or malignant mesothelioma responds to treatment.

Posted by: seeei on February 20, 2006 at 5:08 AM | PERMALINK

Simply put: If the "sport" is judged, it's not a sport.

***********************************

Yes, nearly all sports have some subjective elements, particualrly team sports involving some sort of ball, but the activities in which the winner is determined solely via the opinion of judges are not sports, no matter how difficult the activities are, or how fun they are to watch.

Coming not three weeks after the referrees handed the Super Bowl to the Pittsburgh "Stealers", these statements are the ultimate in hilarity.

And anybody who wants to see a seminar in unsportsmanslike behavior need look, not at Ms. Jacobellis, but at Shani Davis, who's after-skate interview after thugging his way to gold in the speedskating 1000m pretty much fit the dictionary definition of "petulant, immature, bratty and ill-behaved".

Interesting how everybody piles on to the female silver medalist who made a mistake in judgement while ignoring or excusing the truly boorish behavior of the male gold medalist. Is it because Americans believe that winning excuses everything? (See: United States, Presidency, 200 and 2004, Elections Of). Or are the rules different for female competitors?

Posted by: tam1MI on February 20, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

SHE HAS LET THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DOWN!!1

After all of her hard work, we deserve a GOLD

Posted by: Andrew on February 20, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Who cares what any of us like and dislike about sport. I don't care whether Tony Spitoon wins a Nascar race or if Little Jimmy Walrustache does. Ditto football, baseball, basketball, ping pong, speed skating, [...] hurling the wangum. It's sport. It doesn't mean anything to anyone but the competitors. It's sport. None of it matters. If it doesn't mean anything to the competitors, well, who cares?

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 20, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

but at Shani Davis, who's after-skate interview after thugging his way to gold in the speedskating 1000m pretty much fit the dictionary definition of "petulant, immature, bratty and ill-behaved".
Posted by: tam1MI

"Thuggin his way to gold"? How, pray tell, does one thug his way to victory in a non-contact sport like speed skating. And you must have watched a different interview than I did as I say a different, soft spoken victor than you did. Or, is it that you don't like negros in a traditionally white sport?

Posted by: Jeff II on February 20, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

is it that you don't like negros in a traditionally white sport?

And, right on cue, here comes the race card.

I really feel badly for speedskating. They were hoping to get a Jackie Robinson, instead they got a Terell Owens.

Posted by: tam1MI on February 20, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

And, as long as the thread has been reduced to accusations of not being comfortable with black athletes in traditionally white winter sports, I know who Vonetta Flowers and Debi Thomas are. Do you?

Posted by: tam1MI on February 20, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: David on February 21, 2006 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

I would put Jeffrey Davis's post a bit differently: it is a game! The origin of sport is in doing things for fun -- or honing martial skills, but to perhaps the origin of war was some twisted idea of fun too.

By the way, I read some account of war in Afghanistan where mujahadeen told how they repeled all Soviet attacks on a mountain stonghold -- until the winter came, and with winter came snow, and with snow came Soviet special forces, clad in white and moving on skis, practically invisible and soundless.

Posted by: piotr on February 21, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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