It’s interesting, really. Currently, the United States stands in second place at the Sochi Olympics in overall medals. Impressive, right? We’re a sports juggernaut, right?
A closer look shows the truth. Actually, don’t look closer, it’ll just disappoint you. We’re super awesome at made-up pseudo sports, and pretty mediocre at real ones.
The United States has won 7 gold medals. Two are in Halfpipe Skiing and Snowboards, 3 are in slopestyle skiing and snowboarding, one is in ice dancing. That’s 6 of our 7 gold medals won in sports where someone judges the participants based on style. Style? Really? Really. How sporting.
When did sports become about being the “prettiest” at something? Is the World Series Champion crowned because Derek Jeter properly points his toes while sliding into second base? Is the Superbowl decided by the proper back-arch of the right guard when he’s pass blocking? Is the 50 Meter Sprint decided by how well choreographed the sprinter’s motions are timed to the music over the loudspeakers?
Looking further, half of our 4 silver medals are in slopestyle skiing, and a further 4 of our bronze medals are in judged events. That means a grand total of only 9 of our 21 medals are in objective athletic sports. In the others, we’re just really pretty.
There’s something to be said for that, I guess. The pretty girls get the attention at the parties. The good looking guys get the pretty girls, right? And it’s not as if the REST of the sports make sense. Let’s face it, none of us are losing sleep that we’re not a world power at biathlon. We really shouldn’t be. There simply haven’t been a ton of American partisans cross-country skiing around the Rocky Mountains , intermittently stopping to pop off a couple rounds form their small-gauge rifles at occupying forces. It’s just not in our national consciousness.
And it’s not to say we’ve won nothing. Our Skeleton teams have been solid, as has Alpine Skiing. Our Hockey teams have been playing extremely well, and both the men’s and women’s look to be solid medal contenders. And maybe our shuffleboard teams…err…curling teams…can pull out something.
So my gripe isn’t even with our teams…it’s with a world population who readily accepts that something called ice dancing is a sport, while such obvious options as Greco-Roman Wrestling have been pulled from the Summer Games. If Ice Dancing is a winter sport, why not include other dancing in the summer games? Brazil could be a world power, racking up medals in the Samba. The US would crush everyone at clogging , square dancing, and interpretive dance, right?
And it’s not that I don’t respect people who do these activities at a high level. They require a lot of hard work and plenty of strength and ability. So does bricklaying. These subjectively judged “sports” should be called what they are: artistic competitions. I’ll even go so far as calling them Athletic Arts. But they’re not sports. They don’t judge who jumps the highest, runs the fastest, or can pilot a tiny luge down a chute with another man on their back while wearing skin-tight spandex the fastest. Those are sports. So is drinking. But that’s neither here nor there. We’re currently #2 in the medal count, and I’ll drink to that no matter how we get there. ‘Murca!