Monday, February 3, 2014

The New Direction of the Winter Olympics

When it comes to the Olympics, I am all for new events that mesh well with the old events. Olympic organizers have a hard task to do: select events that will blend seamlessly with the traditional events, while introducing events that will invigorate the Games. (But don’t get me started on eliminating events, like baseball. I just don’t get that one.)


The Winter Olympics don’t have as much of a pool to work with, but the organizers seem to be inspired from the punk kid brother to the Olympics - the Winter X Games. Snowboard events only began in 1998 with slalom and halfpipe, and now snowboard spreads it reach across snowboard cross, parallel slalom, and slopestyle.


Ski events are also branching out from the elderly “alpine” events to include ski cross, halfpipe, moguls, and slopestyle. I would much rather sit and watch the excitement of jumps and twists of a halfpipe event than yet another thirty-something male with a very, shall I say “hefty” body build (lots of them look like they do lots of beer heaving and not enough shaving) going down a sheet of ice.


The X Games (sponsored by ESPN and ABC) were created to showcase “extreme” events of summer and winter, but increasingly those events are becoming mainstream. This may be to the chagrin of X Games purists (whoever that may be) and traditional Olympic fans, but for me, I embrace it. Not only does it add more events to the “lesser” of the Games (not in my opinion, but in most), but it brings in a younger crowd of fans and athletes.


If you are someone that tends to enjoy the more “traditional” events, let me ask you this: when you turn on the Games at 2:00 in the afternoon, do you want to watch ANOTHER cross-country ski event (there must be at least...oh...30 different races! 10K, 10.5K, 11K, 11.5K…) or would you rather watch four snowboarders jet their way down hills and jumps with the possibility of crashes at every turn?

Of course, if the Olympics ever consider snowmobiling events, I may have to draw the line.