Friday, February 17, 2006

RESOLVED: THIS HOUSE PREFERS HALFPIPE: There's been a fair amount of discussion here lately as to which winter Olympic events are sports and which are not. The debates go more or less like this:

  • Events where a judge must exercise discretion are not sports; others are.
  • Events stemming from the X-Games are not sports; others are.
  • Who cares whether they're technically sports or not -- they're all fun to watch.

After watching much of the inaugural coverage of Snowboard Cross last night, I have to add a new category:

  • Certain events may in fact constitute a sport but nonetheless are ridiculous and have no business being in the Olympics.

Any Olympic event in which (1) the most relevant statistic is which lane the competitors are starting in (lots of commentary to the effect of "oooh, no wins for the black line tonight, it must be running slower than red or blue!"); (2) the most relevant strategic point is "he who gets the early lead wins because he's less likely to be squashed and nudged off the track by others behind him"; and (3) the sole means of overcoming the significance of (1) and (2) seems to be positioning oneself in the one spot on the track (amusingly, the one spot without direct camera coverage) from which one can try to launch a slingshotlike attack on the leader is just not worthy of being an Olympic event. Snowboard cross is a back yard dirtbike race on snow -- fun for the kiddies involved, but not so much deserving of medals and primetime television coverage.

Edited to add: Every guy I work with is now shouting at me that Snowboard Cross is the best event of the entire Olympics.

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