If You Hate On the Winter Olympics, You're Wrong

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this here, but I'm totally a Winter Olympics girl. Summer is great and everything, but I am completely in my element every fourth February. I fell in love with figure skating when I was a kiddo and it only snowballed from there (pun totally intended).

So it completely boggles my mind when people hate on the Winter Olympics. I can understand if you simply prefer summer sports, or if you grew up somewhere that doesn't emphasize winter sports, or whatever the situation may be, and politely decide not to watch when winter rolls around. But the utter disdain that the Winter Olympics endure from so many people is just plain not okay.

Again, I understand if a certain sport just isn't your cup of tea. But if you're one of those people that flat out disrespects winter sports and their athletes, I'm glaring looking at you.

Imagine, if you will, that the Miami Heat is playing for the NBA championship and is down by a point in the final game with only seconds to go. LeBron James is dribbling down the court. He's about to go for a sweet dunk but, as he prepares to leap into the air, his foot slips out from under him. He lands on his butt, the buzzer sounds and the Heat has lost. Incomprehensible, right?! LeBron is the best! He'd never just slip!

Well, welcome to the world of winter sports, where everything is contested on snow or ice. You're the best at your sport? Aw, that's cute, but ice ain't about to care, and neither are the rules. If an athlete lands just ever so slightly wrong, the biggest moment of their athletic career goes up in smoke, even if they're the best in the world. No victories are guaranteed. It is impossible to predict the result of any of these events. Just ask Lindsey Jacobellis, the perennial snowboardcross gold medal favorite who only has one silver medal after three Olympics. With the extremely rare exception, every sport is always anybody's game!

Not only do sports take place on snow or ice, but many of these athletes compete with knives strapped to their feet. So not only is falling a very real possibility, blood is a very real possibility. Every time I watch short track, I'm convinced that someone is going to die. Just ask J.R. Celski, who had one of his thighs sliced down to the bone by a skate blade during a race back in 2009. You don't know stress until you've emotionally invested in a short track skater.

If you're bored while deadly injuries are constantly imminent, I'm a little bit concerned.

Sure, if you break it down, Winter Olympic sports sound kind of lame; pushing a giant rock on ice (and psh, sweeping it?!), sliding down an ice tube, twirling around on ice, etc. But let's talk about summer sports, which include throwing heavy balls, throwing pointy sticks, jumping over things, twirling around in water, doing flips off of various random equipment, etc. Let's be fair about this, folks. All sports are, essentially, pointless. But we love 'em anyway. Don't disrespect a sport just because you don't understand it, por favor!

Yes, winter sports are more expensive to take part in than many summer sports. I mean, it costs nothing to go for a run! But are you telling me that speed skater Emily Scott, who had a job but was so low on money after her NGB stipend was cut that she started a GoFundMe campaign and applied for food stamps, is rich? Or Kaitlyn Farrington, the snowboard halfpipe gold medalist, whose parents paid for her snowboarding by selling one of the family's cows each week? Or the countless families that had to take out a second mortgage on their houses, or the athletes that hold down multiple jobs at once so they can afford equipment, etc. etc.?

Seriously, the fact that people think that Winter Olympians are upper-class snobs makes my blood boil and my heart hurt. The amount of dedication and sacrifice that goes into these sports is unreal because they're so expensive.

Uh, dude, do the Summer Olympics have anything to do with Ancient Greece anymore? The only sport that does is the marathon. No sports are kept on the program because they were on the ancient program (hey there, wrestling). They're not limited to Greek citizens, mythology has absolutely nothing to do with anything, women are allowed to participate, and the only competitors that compete naked are NONE OF THEM. The modern Olympics may have been inspired by the Ancient Olympics, but if this is your standard... it probably shouldn't be. That's not really the point anymore.

"Winter Olympics are only for white people!" you exclaim. "They're whitewashed and elitist and RACIST!"

Yes, look at all of those white people.

The Winter Olympics may not have the diversity of the Summer Olympics, but it's improving by leaps and bounds and more countries are represented than ever before. And to be fair, there's no snow or ice in Africa. You can't really fault the blonde-haired, blue-eyed folks of Scandinavia (aka a very very cold place) for being good at cross-country skiing any more than you can fault Ethiopians for being good at the marathon. Heck, the Dutch are basically born on speed skates, but you don't see them sweeping the podium at the Summer Olympics, do you?

So I hope you've learned something today. Even if you don't personally enjoy watching the Winter Olympics, you should at least be able to objectively acknowledge that they're pretty awesome. If not...

And if you need more guidance, I'd be happy to explain the rules of curling to you. :)

post signature

No comments :

Post a Comment