Over Easy: How about an Olympics for everybody, and every body?

For the Valley News
Published: 2/5/2022 1:45:30 AM
Modified: 2/5/2022 1:44:00 AM

The Winter Olympics were already on my mind, but all I wanted to think about last weekend was Tom Brady. I thought that maybe he’d step away from football with a blockbuster announcement that he’d been training in secret for the U.S pairs figure skating squad.

“We’re on to Beijing,” he might say.

I wouldn’t bet against ageless Tom and his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen. They are such a handsome couple they’d be favorites to medal and, if they can skate, a lock for gold.

Perhaps I exaggerate, but why should Olympic sports be only for the elites? In our country, where anyone can watch a few YouTube videos and master immunology, the Constitution or 101 uses for apple cider vinegar, there’s virtually nothing holding us back.

Certainly not gravity! Take ski jumping, for instance. All you need are skis, skin-tight clothes, hardware store goggles and a helmet (optional for liberty lovers) to take flight. Study a few videos to cover the basics, then trot off to an Olympic-sized jump. Taking off at over 60 mph and flying more than the length of a football field might test your mettle, but what the heck — that’s why alcohol was invented. Why should frat boys have all the fun?

Just kidding. You should always be stone-cold sober on your first ski jump, and maybe strategically stuff in some soft padding in case something goes wrong, like you hit a pigeon or something.

If you are afraid of heights, it should be OK to shut your eyes. Everyone lands eventually. It’s not as if you are going to miss the Earth.

Many other Olympic sports are perfect for beginners, pairs figure skating among them. I expect many couples to be giving it a whirl on the Norwich green and other places over the coming days, though most of us are past the form-fitting, sparkly costume phase. A tip for husbands: Don’t drop your beloved as you hoist her high above your head. I don’t want to get into stereotypes here, but wives don’t forget that sort of thing. Make some crack about weight and prolonged recriminations can only ensue.

Or, given more flexible gender roles, have her lift you and see how that goes.

Singles skating is expressive, a showy way to impress a potential romantic partner. First-time skaters will want to start with the double lutz. The triple lutz should be reserved for a second date. Do not attempt the quadruple salchow, which sounds like sow cow, until you are entirely clear what it is.

If you don’t like performing to music, you might consider other events, such as curling. All you need is ice, a broom, shoes, pants that won’t split and a polished granite stone that weighs about 40 pounds. If you don’t have a curling stone on hand, hail down any Canadian and they’ll have one in their trunk or backpack. Yes, they will lend it out. They are famously polite and friendly.

The biathlon, which involves both cross-country skiing and shooting, is particularly suited to my fellow Americans.

According to various online sources, most professional biathletes use the serious-sounding Anschutz 1827, a modified .22 rifle with a straight-pull bolt action. Most Americans could easily bring more firepower. Show those targets who’s boss with your AR-15.

There are so many other sports to choose from. Snowboarding is for everyone, at least those with snowboards and without a hinky hip. Increasingly, that eliminates my age group. American ingenuity could devise new Olympic sports or improve on current ones. Competitive cleaning of snow-covered SUVs with small ice scrapers would require real athleticism; it could be a timed event. Walking on icy sidewalks with heels is for daredevils. You see it here now and then when someone from New York or some other swanky place comes to grips (or not) with life in the Upper Valley.

Bobsledding will take off here when they add engines. It could be just as big as NASCAR someday. Uphill skiing is a sport just waiting to be invented.

I for one would welcome barrel jumping, which was a big part of winter carnivals before climate change, back when you could rely on actual snow in midwinter. Team snowball fighting would be a fan favorite, and a way for nations to work out hostilities. It would also provide another comeback opportunity for Tom Brady and his amazingly accurate arm. With good luck and reconstructive surgery, if necessary, he might have another 20 years in him.

Olympic ice fishing could be open to all, not just athletic specimens. It also might extend Brady’s sports career to 90 or 100, bringing us as close to Mount Olympus and forever as we can get.

Dan Mackie lives in West Lebanon. He can be reached at dan.mackie@yahoo.com.




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