Winter Olympics

Sean Simonson

Too few people take the time to support the men and women representing our county. No, I’m not talking about the soldiers in Iraq and Afganistan, though they don’t receive proper recognition from the American people either, but rather those proud athletes in the winter Olympic games.

The winter Olympics is host to a wide variety of sports that even someone as uninterested in sports as myself can enjoy. Maybe it’s the added danger (a Georgian luger already died this year after a steering error threw him into a cement pole at 90 mph) or the chance to witness people perform stunts an average person could never dream of successfully pulling off (think ski jumping).

In the 1994 Olympics, figure skater Tonya Harding was attacked by a man hired by the ex-husband of rival Nancy Kergann. Violence like that makes Jersey Shore look like your grandmother’s tea parties.

But unfortunately, not nearly enough people even take the time to pay attention to the world-class athletes who spend their entire lives training for this one moment of glory. Some don’t even know they’re going on; I didn’t, until I turned on the television and was entranced by the fact that the competitors were traveling down hill at over 100 miles per hour.

Watching Americans face off against foreigners invokes a sense of national pride. Speed skating may, in itself, be boring to watch, but throw in the rivalry between our own Apolo Ohno and South Korea’s Ahn Hyun Soo and you’ll find yourself jumping from your couch to cheer them on.

There are plenty of captivating, unheard of sports to satisfy any viewer. Take the biathlon, for example. Competitors ski 10 kilometers with an eight pound rifle on their back. Then, each competitor fires from a standing position at five targets, each 160 feet away. Sounds like an adventure in a post-apocalyptic tundra, a dream for video game lovers.

For the more cerebral viewer, there’s the graceful movements of the figure skaters, both couples and singles. There is also a whole competition dedicated to skilled snowboarders, both men and women, performing mind blowing stunts and stunning tricks, all for your entertainment.

So instead of turning on the tube and staring at mindless (if mildly entertaining) programing such as Ace of Cakes or American Idol, why not turn on a real reality show like the Olympics. And who knows, you might just find yourself a promising career in curling (and I don’t mean hair).