Would Some of These Winter Sports Even Exist if Not for Olympics?
It can be a struggle even in good years to really get into the Winter Olympics. I mean, how many different versions of “sliding on ice” can a person be expected to care about? Add the hypocrisy and corruption of the IOC and the Chinese government into the mix and the Winter Games are a “hard pass” for many.
The first Winter Olympics were held in 1924 in France. The five original sports were ice hockey, bobsleigh, curling, skiing, and skating. I have the feeling that the winter games saw how many events the summer games had and decided, “Welp, we’ve got to make up some new things to do in the snow”.
Let’s look at some key questions about the importance and relevance of some of the winter sports that are in the Olympics.
Would Anyone Participate in These Sports OUTSIDE the Olympics?
Even without the Olympics, people would ski and skate. Ditto for snowboarding. I guess, in some places, people even go and curl just for fun. I don’t know if Canada has “curling alleys” similar to bowling alleys. But, fine, I’ll allow Curling as a sport some people would do. But, honestly, who’s going to Monobob just for kicks? For starters, it’s extremely dangerous. Secondly, and most importantly, there are only 2 bobsledding facilities in the entire United States. One is in Utah and the other is in Lake Placid, New York. There are only 2 places in the entire country you could bobsleigh and, even if you wanted to, you probably couldn’t reserve any time on the…slopes? Do they call them slopes?
I just don’t think any of the bobsleighing events would exist outside of international (definition: NOT Africa) competition.
Would Anyone PAY to Watch Others Play?
Ice hockey is a real, money-making sport. It’s actually exciting in person! Some colleges offer scholarships in skiing and snowboarding. I would ASSUME no one has ever paid to watch Curling, but I don’t know how desperate for entertainment people in northern climes may get after 6 months of snow-bound boredom. And, ice skating, for sure, can sustain itself financially (though mostly in the forms of Ice Capades and Disney on Ice). What other sport can you go from being the best in the world one year to wearing a Minnie Mouse costume the next?
But paying for a ticket to watch people “luge”? I’m just not buying it.
Is it Obviously Just James Bond Cosplay?
Sure, Wikipedia SAYS the biathlon is “rooted in skiing traditions of Scandinavia”. But I think we all know where the idea of skiing, stopping, and then shooting a rifle REALLY comes from.
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