5 Curious Questions About the Winter Olympics

Mon, Mar 1, 2010 at 7:15 pm ET

Social Commentary, Sports

Frumped by

The 2010 Winter Olympics may finally be over, but confusion remains rampant. Well, I’m still a bit confused, at least, but then I’ve never paid as close attention to the Winter Games as I did this year.

Still, if you make the jump with us, we’re confident you’ll agree that there’s at least a handful of head scratching-worthy, unanswered questions…

2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Logo

1.  Why on earth is Curling separated into mutually exclusive Men’s and Women’s events?

Anna Sidorova curling it upI’ve been trying to figure this one out for quite some time, Frumpsters, and if someone has a legitimate answer (or even an illegitimate one), please let us know.

Let’s face it: there are a lot of “sports” in which men have a natural physical advantage over the better half of our species, and this often necessitates gender segregation in the realm of highly competitive athletic contests.  I won’t bother fleshing that notion out any further, because it goes without saying, and I do not apologize.

However, try as I might (and believe me, I’ve tried), I can’t for the life of me figure out how a man, or a woman for that matter, has or lacks any distinct advantage over the other when it comes to sliding a block of granite down a sheet of ice, then subsequently directing teammates to scrub said ice with a broom in hopes of controlling the speed and spin of the stone.  Am I right?

I mean, I’m assuming, of course, that the primary (potentially exclusive) reason for gender segregation in sports is related to equal opportunity to compete/participate.  If that’s the case, why separate the Curling sexes?

Regardless, at least we get more Curling coverage under the current setup, which I’m sure makes Denmark’s Madeline Dupont very happy (however ironic that may be).

2.  Who engineered this concept of the  Short Track Relay?

Roller-Derby on Ice: The Short Track RelayUnfortunately, you really would have needed to see this event to know what I’m on about here.  And, since NBC has Winter Olympic video locked down as if it were gold ingots in Fort Knox, if you didn’t, you may be a bit lost.

Nevertheless, for those that did have the chance to catch the Short Track Relay, I’m sure you, like me, were convinced that it’s one of the bigger logistical cock-ups since Washington D.C.  What a nightmare.

I wouldn’t be so perplexed by this one if it weren’t for teams getting disqualified for the slightest bumps and nudges on opponents — especially since we’re talking about an event that seems it was designed with a little contact in mind.

Let’s see, you’ve got, what, up to 16 skaters merging in and out of the rink at one time?  And the “relay” element of the event involves being pushed/boosted by your teammate as you’re about to start a lap?

Needless to say, I expect this event to become Roller-Derby on Ice within the next 50 years or so.  You heard it here first.

3.  Why aren’t we (the United States) more competitive in the Biathlon?

Why isn't the United States better at the Biathlon?Why isn't the United States better at the Biathlon?This one is truly bizarre.

Do Americans like to ski?  Check.  Are we pretty dang good at nearly every other event that incorporates some sort of skiing?  Check.  Is our society and culture relatively wrapped up and saturated with the allure and controversy of semi-automatic weapons?  Check plus.

And yet the U.S. has never sniffed sweet Biathlon Gold, or even medaled at all.

Seriously, someone needs to get the NRA on this, or something.  The Biathlon has been an official Olympic event since 1960 (was on a trial basis since the 20’s) and we’ve never even medaled?  That’s Men’s, Women’s, singles, relays, etc., too.

This is particularly disturbing since it seems so right up our alley.  Cross-country skiing combined with intermittent sessions of rifle range practice?  Where’s Chuck Heston when you need him?

4.  Just what the hell is going on in the Two Man Luge?

Two man luge: WTF?Listen, I’m actually not going for the cheap, obvious joke here.  It’s too easy. I’m genuinely wondering what in god’s name someone had to be thinking when they came up with the idea for the Two Man Luge.

Most athletic competitions involve some sort of practical aspect to them — some relatively ascertainable element of measurement that actually means something to competitors and spectators alike.  Something to take pride in.

Two Man Luge: Again, WTF?You know, the first down-hill skiers probably said: “Hey, I bet I can finish this course faster than you.”  That meant something.

The first figure skaters: “Hey, I bet I’m more graceful and less mistake prone than you on the ice, and can dress more ridiculously than you to boot.”  That meant something.

Even the first lugers: “Hey, I bet I can navigate this track on my sled faster than you.”  That meant something, too.

But who the heck said, essentially, “Hey, I bet I can luge this track faster than you…while Sven is riding on top of me, reverse cowboy style.  Lars can ride on you.”  Mind boggling.

Honestly, is the Two Man Luge really any less ridiculous than some hair-brained idea like the Piggy-Back Slalom, or something?  I’m sure I’m missing the point here, so please feel free to set me straight.

5.  Who at NBC signed off on their coverage of the Closing Ceremonies?

NBC does it again...Obviously not satisfied with selling Conan O’Brien short, NBC also decided to half-ass its support and coverage of the 2010 Game’s grand finale — in order to show the premier of Jerry Seinfeld’s new reality show, The Marriage Counselor (no wonder Seinfeld was so lukewarm about the shakeup).

I’m just glad I wasn’t the only one thrown for a loop by this.  Nearly 1,000 hours of Winter Olympic coverage, and that was the best NBC could do?  Tune back in at 30 minutes to midnight?  On a Sunday?

To be fair, did I really feel shafted by missing out on performances from Avril Lavigne and Nickelback?  No.  A nice little melodramatic montage of tears, celebratory evocations and the like would have been nice, though.

Then again, it’s NBC.  It’s Seinfeld.  I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised.

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11 Responses to “5 Curious Questions About the Winter Olympics”

  1. Joicelynne Slater Says:

    5 Curious Questions About the Winter Olympics | Frumpzilla: Sports …: I've been trying to figure this one out fo… http://bit.ly/djwGOP

  2. Carroll Hightower Says:

    RT @YieldToFrump: 5 Curious Questions About the Winter Olympics http://is.gd/9ugjU

  3. Anonymous Says:

    The seperation of Men and Women could be due to a few reasons. It does actually take a certain amount of precision and strength (much more precision) to throw a 40 pound rock down a sheet of ice. If you watch Kevin Martin (men’s gold medalist skip) throw a takeout he can routinely throw a 8-9 second takeout (as opposed to maybe a 10-11 weight that women throw) with incredibly accuracy and alot of that has to do with leg strength kicking out of the hack, which the majority of men have more of. There are also some slight advanatges that lie with sweeping as the best men’s teams in the world can sweep a rock an additional 6-8 feet after it has been released. This also has largely to due with strength, but really isn’t that monumental a difference as women at the olympic level strength train as well. It would be interesting to see the results if they all played together or you saw mixed teams..

  4. Ciaran Says:

    Interesting info, Anonymous. Having never curled myself, I guess I’ll have to take your word for it. For now…

  5. Bronce McClain Says:

    RT @cehightower3: RT @YieldToFrump: 5 Curious Questions About the Winter Olympics http://is.gd/9ugjU

  6. erin elizabeth Says:

    great post. i was discussing this very same curling question the other day and could only surmise that if they integrated curling, what’s next? co-ed strip clubs? we have to draw the line somewhere.
    as for the two man luge, i mean, it’s just super-fast, super-gay spooning, no? i’m picturing thrill-seeking cuddlers with a downhill ice-skating fetish.

  7. B Diddy Says:

    Just wait til they figure out a way to share the same uniform in an attempt to become more aerodynamic!

    I really wonder who the pioneers of the 2-man luge are and how long they had to convince people it was a real alternative to the 1-man.

  8. dbj Says:

    look im just throwing this out there, but it seems to me the possibility of a surprise boner in the two man luge seems shockingly high.

  9. B Diddy Says:

    The suit may cut off blood flow…


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