I would like to slide a 42-pound stone on a sheet of ice and have it stop approximately 140 feet away on a circle outlined on the ice. Of course I would not be able to do this by myself. I would need the aid of a couple teammates who will use their brooms to condition the ice as the stone moves, making sure the stone travels in the right direction at the right speed. I could even win a medal in the Olympics.

This is curling ? a Winter Olympic event.

To be blatantly honest, it seems that anyone with good enough hand-eye coordination and the ability to use a broom (prior experience requires sweeping your dorm room) could be a curler.

It does not take exceptional athleticism, agility or strength to be an Olympic curler. Speed skating, figure skating and cross country skiing take exceptional athleticism. A professional beer drinker can be an Olympic curler. As simple as curling seems, I will give it more credit than I feel I should.

According to the World Curling Federation’s web site, “the game contains elements of great skill, strategy, finesse, exertion and endeavor.” But bowling certainly involves the skill of curling without the aid of fellow teammates. Why can’t bowling be in the Olympics?

When I think of an Olympic athlete, I envision someone with not only great skill, strategy and finesse, but also with strength, endurance, speed and agility. If we take away the World Curling Federation’s element of finesse, then we might as well make chess an Olympic sport.

Maybe we can have players slide people-sized chess pieces on ice into their respective squares. That would be interesting to watch. It would be like Harry Potter’s game of giant Wizard Chess. See the movie.

True athletes, as I have described above, must also participate in a sport. According to Webster’s Dictionary, a sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.”

Curling does not meet these requirements.

I know you might be thinking that it is called the Olympic Games, not the Olympic Sports. I would like to draw an important distinction. Not all games can be called sports, but all sports can be called games. If the Olympics were just simply games, we might as well have a Monopoly event.

I want to see true athletes participate in true sports. I do not want to watch Michael Jordan slide a stone, and I do not want to watch average John Doe play basketball. I want to see the world’s greatest athletes participate in real sporting events.

And why does it seem that the summer Olympics are more legitimate than the winter Olympics?

The summer Olympics have approximately thirty event categories, including track and field, swimming and gymnastics. The Winter Olympics only have approximately fifteen event categories that include ice hockey, speed skating and skiing.

In both the Summer and Winter Olympics, there are questionable events. For example, I don’t think table tennis should be in the Summer Olympics. However, if we were to dismiss all questionable Summer and Winter Olympic events, we would still have more than enough events to keep the summer games going. The Winter Olympics, on the other hand, may not.

What are some of the questionable Winter Olympic events? Besides curling, how about snowboarding? Remember watching half-pipe skateboarding in the Summer Olympics? You don’t remember because the Olympics don’t have it. But there is half-pipe snowboarding.

How about the biathalon? Participants must ski 15 (women) or 20 (men) kilometers and stop to shoot a rifle at various intervals. What kind of event is this? Yes, you do need to be an exceptional skier and athlete, but they seem to just be making up events.

Why don’t we have alpine archery, equestrians on ice or boxing on a snow bank. Seriously, who participates in the biathalon? Winter hunters? Who hunts in the winter when the animals are hibernating?

I am no expert skier, but don’t you want to stay out of wooded areas when skiing ? you know, so you don’t crash into a tree and die. I bet more hunters on skis kill themselves instead of the animals.

Don’t get me wrong. All the Winter Olympic events are quite entertaining to watch ? especially when you are procrastinating and in the Olympic spirit. I would just like to see real sporting events, not cheap rip-offs of the X-games. If the people organizing the winter Olympics want to attract a young crowd, then why don’t they make football an Olympic event? If the Greeks who began the Olympics saw some of the events in today’s Olympics, they would be rolling over in their graves.

It is very simple.

All I want is to watch the world’s greatest athletes participate in real sporting events. Can we at least have events that we can call sports?

Reiter can be reached at mreiter@campustimes.org.



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