Friday, March 5, 2010

Olympics History

The winter Olympics in Vancouver have come and gone. Most folks I know watched some aspect of this 17-day-long spectacle. Whether it was the pagentry of the opening ceremonies, the grace and beauty of the figure skaters, the bravado of the skiers and snowboarders, or the silliness of the curling or biathalon competitions. These last two "sports" (I can barely type this with a straight keyboard) were included into the officially recognized Olympics competition list only after the head of the Olympics organizing committee lost a bet with his estranged brother-in-law Earl. Let's explore these two events in a little more detail.

Curling: First dreamed up during a fertility ceremony in late medieval Scotland. It is a team "sport" in which stones are slid across a sheet of ice toward a target area. The path of the stones is tidied up by two very humorous individuals wielding brooms purchased from a local Ace hardware store who vigorously sweep in front of the moving stones. The curling event in this year's Olympics was sponsored by Molson Breweries as the minimum allowed blood-alcohol content of the participants is 0.18.

Biathalon: First made up in some dude's backyard in 1978. It is a "sport" in which two random events are combined for no clear reason. This year it happened to be cross country skiing and competitive knitting. Nobody has any clue why these were paired together, but during the Olympics telecast, Al Michaels became so excited by the goings-on that he actually proposed to a giddy Chris Collinsworth on live television.

So, though you may chortle and guffaw at some of the official Olympics events, know that they each have a definitive purpose. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Mr. and Mr. Al Michaels.