Saturday, September 02, 2006

Too late for Torino

Back in February I was thinking about how too many winter sports rely on the concept “snow is slippery” and that most of the rest on “ice is slippery.” This leads to a certain sameness in the Winter Olympics which I believe that we could alleviate by introducing some events which play up some of the other aspects of the cold season. Here are seven events which one could develop in time for Vancouver perhaps.

Snowball fighting — with special costumes which sense cold and moisture and change color and cover the contestant from head to mid-calf. Snow is prepared with consistent density and moisture content and the contestants switch halves of the circular playing area midway through.

Snow shoveling — individual trials with a recessed track filled with standardized snow, competitors use shovels made to standard specifications as to length and capacity, the track is heated after a set time, heaters switched on, and the volume of remaining water is measured to judge how well they did. In the head-to-head trials the competitors start at opposite ends of neighboring tracks and shovel snow onto the other person's track while clearing their own.

Ice sawinga competitive version of ice harvesting in the 19th/20th century industry, competitors have to saw through the surface of a frozen lake to make the resulting blocks using a set of tongs, which addresses the clear lack of a sheer strength-related event in the Winter Olympics comparable to the weightlifting events during the Summer.

Catching snowflakes — competitors will have a miniature video camera trained on their lower face while they attempt to catch as many snowflakes on their tongues as possible during a snowstorm.

To build a fire — basically the same event as featured in every season of Survivor, only in subzero temperatures in a howling gale, using a pack of soggy matches, or perhaps flint and steel.

Freeze tag — this really ought to be an international sport (with the non-freeze version conducted during summer "no tagbacks") each nation takes a turn as "it" chasing the others around a circular (snow-covered?) playing field and freezing any who are caught. A certain amount of diplomacy is required between nations to arrange for players to be unfrozen.

Writing your name in the snow — an even which can easily be moved from the Olympic village over to one of the venues, employing judging criteria of size, legibility, and artistic value, and which has the bonus of incorporating the illicit drug testing process in the actual event.

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