Another four years and another Winter Olympics bigger, and I am not sure, better than ever. The winter games tend to be filled with competitions which few of us have ever tried and probably never will. While viewing this year’s games with a rooting interest in how well the Americans would do, I put together a list of the events which I feel should be moved to what I would call the “Fall” Games -not because they have anything to do with that particular season of the year, but because the outcome is tied closely to the simple act of falling. Clearly, there must be other sports which would be far more Olympic in nature which could be moved into the slots vacated by the fall events I have identified.
In my humble opinion, the following events should be immediately moved to the “Fall“ Games and could be held in late Fall somewhere in northern Iceland. Unfortunately, without the inclusion of these events in this year’s games, the Americans would have finished somewhere just ahead of Slovakia in the medal race.
Men’s Figure Skating – In my earlier days, this event was always one of my favorites–from the dazzling skating of Scott Hamilton and Brian Boitano to the commentary of Dick Button. But somewhere along the line, the skaters have loss all their sensibilities and have decided to include elements that they have about a 1 in 10 chance of actually landing successfully. At times, watching this event was painful as each skater took the ice with a panic stricken look hidden behind a forced smile. Clearly, each knew they had little chance of hitting their jumps rather than the hard ice. In some ways, the look must resemble the 1 in 10 chance look I had when I tried to turn and skate backwards for the first time. This year, the Olympic Gold medal winner was clearly the one who fell the fewest times (four I think) as opposed to the one who completed the best program. Until the men skaters come to their senses, this event clearly belongs in the fall games.
Slopestyle (Both ski and snowboard versions) – I must admit I had never heard of this event and found it mostly entertaining, but it seemed to be far too dependent on whether a competitor fell or not and therefore a leading candidate for the “Fall” Games. The other issue I have with most of the snowboard events is that the competitors all seem a little too free spirited for my taste. None seemed too concerned when they wiped out and, in fact, many acted as if they were more than a little amazed that their goofing around on a snowboard could somehow become an Olympic sport. Also, I am pretty certain any event which can be successfully completed by a 5’ 6” skier dressed in 4XXL pants falling down around his knees in the middle of the event cannot possibly be taken seriously. Can you imagine Scott Hamilton hitting that perfect triple jump with his britches falling down around his knees? Finally, many of the snowboarders have skateboard experience – enough said.
Curling – Not quite sure what to say about this event. Falls are probably not very common, but may be the only time the event is even remotely entertaining. I am sure there is some skill involved in this activity, but how did this event ever get elevated to Olympic status?
Halfpipe (ski version) – While the snowboard version of this event tends to have its share of falls as well, the snowboarders seem to have this catlike ability of righting themselves as they fall. The skiers in contrast usually have real falls with what seems like a high chance of injury.
Since I have moved at least 4 events out of the Olympic Games, we can now end all the silly talk about removing wrestling from the Summer Games altogether. In my humble opinion, simply move the various forms of wrestling to the Winter Games and we will have improved the Games significantly. There may be falls in wrestling, but they will have been created by the other wrestler and not the participants’ efforts to complete some crazy trick with the funny name. Also, wrestlers do things like lift weights, train, run and wear tight fitting clothes. I am not aware that a Winter Games event needs to be associated with snow or ice, but if it does, have the wrestlers sit on a block of ice for a minute or two before the match starts. Seems to me gymnastics and weight lifting could easily make the transition to the Winter Games as well. So let’s get the falls out of the Winter Games.