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Not all Olympic Games are sports

Last Modified: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 1:34 PM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

The Winter Olympics puzzle me.

Take some of these sports, even a fairly popular one like, say, the bobsled competition.

It’s kind of interesting, I guess, and then it goes away and hides for four years.

That befuddles me.

But it brings up a question.

The Olympics, we are led to believe, bring together the truly elite athletes of the entire world, with years of hard work and dedication weeding out the wannabes so that only the creme de la creme survive to gather on the ultimate stage and duke it out to be the planet’s best.

The ski people, I get it, even the figure skaters and whatnot.

But with the bobsled, for instance, I’ve got a question: Exactly how many people in the world, on this whole planet, actually partake of bobsledding?

And I’m not picking on the bobsled. There are others.

I don’t know, maybe in Austria the high schools have bobsled teams, with state playoffs — select and non-select schools divided ­— maybe even Little League Bobsledding.

Maybe the dreaded “Bobsled Dads” are the scourge of growing up Swiss.

But sometimes, don’t you get the feeling that all the people on Earth who’ve ever been on a bobsled are right now in Sochi competing in the Olympics?

Same with the biathalon. Just can’t believe people (mostly in Norway) actually practice that for four years.

That short-track speedskating is kind of exciting, in a video-game sort of way. Throw in some roller-derby elements and they might be on to something.

Or is growing up with the bobsled just a European version of the All-American Soap Box Derby?

Not that there’s anything wrong with niche (obscure) sports. In fact, that’s what the Olympics should be about.

Here’s my pet peeve/rule of thumb: if the Olympic gold medal isn’t the ultimate accomplishment for your sport, it shouldn’t be in the Olympics.

Yet, for the sake of TV, I’m guessing, we get glorified NHL (and NBA) exhibitions.

 Meanwhile, they’re building a golf course in Brazil just for the 2016 Summer Games, where it will host that sport’s entry into the Games. I doubt the British and U.S. Opens are too concerned.

What is the difference between figure skating and ice dancing? My guess is that it’s an excuse to do it all twice since it gets such good TV ratings.

Figure skating/ice dancing is a lovely, demanding undertaking requiring years and years of giving up your childhood. Also, very boring. Sorry, I just don’t get it.

You can’t trust any “sport” where judging is involved and that’s goes double for anything where the musical selection is as important as the routine. It’s just entertainment.

Figure skating, if not ice dancing, was a lot more interesting when Tonya Harding was around. Now, those were the days. And, for the record, I was always on her side in the dustup with Nancy Kerrigan, aka, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

Never been skiing. Not on the bucket list. Spend that kind of money, my caboose is going to be somewhere warm.

Wasn’t a lot of this stuff just on the X Games?

The more I learn about curling — which is scary enough in itself — the more I love it.

Did make a sidetrip to Park City, Utah, one time while covering an NCAA basketball regional in Salt Lake City. Must say, it was very warm in the Dead Goat Saloon.

Shouldn’t Iceland be dominating this stuff? Best I can tell, not one medal so far.

For my money, driving a car up the mountain from Salt Lake City to Park City should be an Olympic event.

What in Sam Hill did somebody from the Cayman Islands find to do in Sochi?

Did spend two days speed sledding down a levee when I was about 9 years old. Thawed out just in time for my high school graduation.

Throw away the luges and let them fly down the hill on cafeteria food trays and I’m watching.

Something called skijoring was once an Olympic sport, probably in 1928. It involved skis and horses and that’s all I want to know about that.

Of course, they all pale next to curling. Seriously, I can’t get enough of that sport. It’s flat out addictive.

And, yes, it most certainly is a sport.

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

Posted By: Glenn Pumpelly On: 2/20/2014

Title: Bobsledding

This comment is from a friend of mine in Houston. Thought it was worth posting.
I'm with him, ice skating is crap. But bobsled, not so much. Throw in a few shirtless rednecks, standing at each turn, raising a natural light and screaming whoooooo! when the sled goes by and you almost have a sport. All that would be missing is a big red 88 painted on the side of the sled and a Mountain Dew themed paint job. Finish it off with a Cale Yarborough fight at the end of each run and every redneck from Seattle to Miami would be on the edge of the couch.

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