Olympic Update Part 1

This whole Biathlon thing.


I love writing about the biathlon because no one else does (and I am slightly fascinated by this whole skiing and shooting thing).

So. In the Women’s Biathlon Sprint event Slovakia’s Anastazia Kuzmina won with a score of19:55.6”. Once again the scoring is one of those things that take a guidebook. Speed of skiing and penalties for misses. Anyway. It’s like 7 kilometers of skiing or something like that. And then they shoot at this miniature target of Osama bin Laden all with a heart rate of over 170 or something like that (apparently it is an incorrect belief that these shooters slow their heart rate to level the sighting). Just to give you some perspective it’s like maybe jumping rope for 15 straight minutes or doing a hundred straight jumping jacks a fast as you can and then sitting down with a pencil and writing all your valentine’s day cards (in a way someone can actually read them). Amazing stuff.

The guns are wacky looking but they do seem kind of lethal (so you don’t see a lot of spectators hanging out behind the targets).

And in the Men’s Biathlon Sprint event. (And I am still a little unclear how this merits a “sprint” heading .. see Summer Olympics hundred yard dash as example of confusion). Anyway. The top three were:

France. Vincent Jay

Norway. Emil Hegle Svendsen

Croatia. Jakov Fak

Never heard of them (but have heard of the countries). I just wanted to note the winners. I figured this may be the only time their names appear on our radar. Oh. Yeah, their fans (who I assume are mostly relatives or people who subscribe to Guns & Ammo), they are nuts. Think cowbells and big funny hats and horns. I am just not sure guys who ski and shoot rifles for a living are funny hat/cowbell spanking type of guys but, hey, whatever floats your boat. Maybe the tickets were for free. I went to a fencing event at the Atlanta Olympics because I had free tickets (but I left my cowbell at home … just blew a dog whistle every time someone did something great).

This whole mogul downhill (going downhill with lots of bumps and a couple of jumps) skiing thing.

Moguls skiing

Women’s version. Ok. Men’s version. I don’t care. My knees and lower back just start hurting every time I watch these contestants bounce their way down the hill. Their knees pump furiously as they pound down the course. Their runs are a brilliant mix of speed and technical skiing with daring back flips and “helicopter spins” and other amazing feats that seem to defy gravity. Who thought this crap up? Awesome.

Women’s ice hockey

"Good game? You beat us 18-0!"

The Canadian women’s hockey team, a two-time defending Olympic gold medalist, didn’t disappoint. The Canadians cranked out an 18-0 rout of Slovakia (exciting the 16,000 Canadian fans eager cheer to keep warm and disappointing the 496 Slovakian fans – who cheered anyway to keep warm). C’mon. 18 to zilch? And I thought Slovakia had ice rinks. Oh well. They would beat the crap out of Canada in a “bryndzove halusky” (small dumplings made of potato dough with sheep cheese and topped with scrambled bacon) cooking contest. I know that for sure.

This speed skating thing.

Olympic speed skaters

Yikes. First the solo stuff. Who decided to put that on television exclusively? 20 some laps of two guys skating around a really small rink with one hand tied behind their back (ok. that’s what it looked like). And then there is the group speed skating thing. In the huge wipeout fortunately the Koreans weren’t injured with those razor sharp blades flying in their pileup (thank god they weren’t North Koreans or some nukes may have been dropped). Anyway. This group speed skating is kind of like Indy car racing where the cars are inches apart and you cannot really fathom how they can stay so close to each other without hitting each other. But, it was kind of amazing to see the skaters in that one race self destruct at what would have been a 1-2-3 finish for them and allow the Americans to take the 2-3 positions in the race. These races often have a little bit of roller derby flavor. But on really big skates. And with funky colored outfits. I still admit I don’t really get it and it seems a little boring to me.

Cross country skiing.

Charlotte Kalla Awesome. Today a really cute 22 year old Swede girl unexpectedly won her cross country event and puked after crossing the finish line (she still had a Crest bright big smile afterwards). The Polish woman, the favorite, collapses in fatigue maybe a minute from the finish (so that’s collapsing after maybe 23 minutes of cross country skiing). I need to watch more of this. Put it on prime time I say.

Oh. And how cool is it your coach (or I assume it is a coach and not some random spectator hovering at the side of the track) is screaming at the top of their lungs (and because it is in Swedish or Russian or Croatian I have no clue what they are saying) at the skier as they ski by. I assume they are saying something like “you are a lardass and an embarrassment to the queen (or whatever monarch is appropriate) and may your ancestors be hamsters if you don’t win a medal.” But the screaming person sludging their way through the snow beside the track is awesome. I would go if I could do that.

Written by Bruce