Saturday, February 13, 2010

Why the Winter Olympics Suck

When you are forced to wait four years for something, you have the right to expect it to be pretty fucking awesome. If you couldn't have sex for four years--say you were me in high school--you would be really, really, looking forward to having sex with practically any human being on the planet.

The Winter Olympics happen every four years, but just like my first sexual experiences, they're not as good as you imagined they would be, there's a whole lot of confusing stuff going on, and it isn't very much fun to watch on TV. Also, a lot of it happens on a skating rink.

The weirdest thing about the Winter Olympics is that for such a massively televised, supposedly important sporting event, it's remarkably boring to watch. The skiers go down the same hill over and over, the lugers and skeleton-ers (?) shoot down the same icy chute, the speed skaters aren't fun to watch unless they are all on the ice at the same says something about the Winter Games that the most exciting part is women's figure skating, which hardly anyone cares about during non-Olympic years. And let's not even mention the too-boring-to-mention events like curling, the biathalon, and women's ice hockey.

Having weird, boring things on television isn't a big deal—it happens all the time on public access—but the Olympics aren't just boring TV, they're boring TV that take billions of dollars to produce. For instance, there's the cost of importing snow to Vancouver, which only sounds like an unfunny joke. There's the cost of building all of those massive, useless-unless-you're-hosting-the-Olympics sporting complexes and arenas (remember what a problem this turned out to be for Athens?). Then there's the cost of bribing the IOC spending legitimate money to make the city more attractive to the IOC, and the cost of keeping the Games safe from fishing rods, which all adds up to more than 6 billion dollars, including nearly 1 billion for security alone.

That is a lot of money, and unlike professional sports very little of it goes to the athletes, who if they're lucky become famous and get rich off endorsements and if they're unlucky they get seriously injured or die because their sports are dangerous. And none of it goes to the locals, who resent the whole mess.

But why don't we look on the bright side? Well, unlike the 1936, 1968, and 2008 Olympics, these Games aren't helping to support an authoritarian government or the open massacre of civilians. So, hey, that's awesome. And it's unlikely that there will be any more deaths or any more judging corruption scandals. And no doubt the women's figure skating outfits will be dazzling and make a large number of men ask themselves, “How old is she? Does this make me a pedophile?” Although, on second thought, that last item might not be a positive.

The Winter Olympics defy logic. They obviously just exist to counterbalance the Summer Olympics, which may have started as a good, if somewhat naive, idea but turned into another battlefield for the Cold War, which is now over—and that means that the Winter Olympics are the offshoot of a weird undertaking that doesn't have any purpose any more, except to alert the public that speed skating still exists. And, of course, to sell Coca Cola and McDonald's products, which are extremely delicious.

Some people, of course, hate McDonald's, and these people really don't like the Olympics. They do like Rage Against the Machine, however:


  1. Billions of dollars for a 17-day elitist party. And it'll take a long, long time to pay it all off. Why do some people want the Olympics to continue? There's plenty of sports-related stuff to watch on TV. And there are better things to spend $6 to $10 billion on. How about working on things like schools, health care and poverty? Why not improve the environment? How helping out the people that are suffering in Haiti? I guess those things don't really matter.

  2. Most sporting events suck. As my favourite fictional anthropologist Temperance Brennan says: "Sports is a juvenile replacement for war".

  3. Maybe there are sports you find boring, but I really enjoy watching biathlon. And if you don't like halfpipe snowboarding then you're gay. This isn't a bad thing, but the reason why you don't like sports(winter sports). Also,there are a lot of straight men who like competition of any kind. It'simply in the nature of straight men to like competition.
    Yes Angela, sports are similar to war(I suppose you thoght war is about principle, not about I'm-better-than-you, sorry) they both imply competition, which rullz, if you're not woman or gay.
    And about the money. If you give this money for education, or whatever, you'll directly help 1(one) generation. If you invest in hosting a winter olympics(or whatever event), you'll have to build alot of infrastructure(ski slopes, etc.), and you know that solely the tourists for this event will cover all your costs. And yes this mean little money for the athlets and little money for the locals, but the infrastructure stays there, and this ensures you at least 50 years of heavy tourism, so alot of money for the locals, for many generations. This is what happend with Innsbruck in 1964, which was a small city with little infrastructure, but now, it's the biggest and coolest ski resort in Europe. In conclusion... you're wrong at all points, except that it's boring if you're gay or woman.