Monday, February 15, 2010

I am luge

The other evening after the kids went to bed I logged onto Twitter and all the Australians were online and had had their six cups of morning coffee and were waxing epic about the Olympics. So I turned to Jim and asked, “Is this an Olympics year?” and he, as usual when it comes to anything sports-related, was no help at all*, just shrugged. But if it was I knew it had to be winter Olympics, based on the amount of snow outside my window, and this meant one thing: LUGE.

However when I turned on the TV it was only to see a demonic fiddler in a flying canoe, surrounded by gyrating tartans. Canada, you seriously need to think about detox. The flying fiddler was followed by a flying boy who periodically landed on a giant iPad followed by a Bic lighter concert moment followed by a bunch of tedious speeches I didn’t listen to because I had gone to bed because I had determined it was going to be another four days before they got around to any actual sporting events I wanted to watch, i.e., luge.

The luge originated in Switzerland in the late 1800’s when British vacationers at resort spas would get sloshed and steal sleds from delivery boys and take off down alleys and roads, picking off pedestrians en route. It’s only gotten better since.

The luge is dangerous, as was evidenced last week when Georgian athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili died in a practice run after losing control of his sled while traveling in excess of 90 mph. Imagine jumping out of a car that’s traveling 90 mph. Yeah.

The Olympics then (over)reacted to this sad event by shortening the luge runs, so that the athletes who had spent their entire lives training to race on a 1,400 meter course could now race the race of their lives on a 1,200 meter course.

There are two types of luge. One uses an artificial track and has specially built banked curves and walled-in straights. Lugers (they’re really called that) steer their sleds by shifting their body weight and applying pressure on the sled with their feet. This is what you see in the Olympics. The other is called natural track luge and utilizes existing mountain roads and paths. Lugers steer by dragging their hands on the ice and brake with the help of spiked shoes.

Artificial track luge is to natural track luge what American football is to rugby. American footballers wear lots of padding and take copious breaks from the football action. Rugby players play nonstop and wear no padding, just uniforms sporting a combination of blood, grass and semen stains, depending on their country’s chosen colors. In other words, artificial track lugers are a bit precious.

I came home tonight and turned on the Olympics because women's luge was starting at 7:00. Except it wasn't on. NBC couldn't be bothered. Instead, they were showing downhill skiers with crooked poles, who rarely break 75 mph. They also showed snowboarding. Snowboarding. What's next Olympics, hacky sack? Foosball?

So far, Germany has been rocking the medals, taking a gold and silver in men’s singles precious-track luge. Tune in tomorrow to see who wins women's (if NBC can break away from competitive snowfort building long enough to tell us).

If I were a sport, I would be luge.

Pardon me, which way to the luge?

*The following conversation took place in our home on Super Bowl Sunday.

Me:  What time is the Super Bowl?
Jim:  No idea. Do you know who’s playing?
Me:  No. Maybe the Saints? Seems I’ve heard talk of saints recently.
Jim:  The Broncos?
Anna, age 7, from kitchen:  Saints and Colts.  (This was probably followed by an eye roll, I don’t know, I was doing the NYT crossword. It was Sunday, after all.)
Jim:  So.  Are you going to revoke my man card?

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  1. I have to admit I have not watched a minute of the Olympics. I used to love this stuff, but at some point along the line, I came to hate competition so much that I just don't want to see it.

    I love the celebration of excellence, but don't know why it has to be in the form of winners and losers. I'd be ok watching performance sports, not competitive sports.

  2. Celeste. That's kind of a pansy response.

  3. I grew up in a highly sport watching family (note, watching not playing so much) and as a result I curl up in the foetal position when sport is on the TV - sure, I can get sentimental with the best of them when they play a sequence of emotional scenes from the Olympic Games but generally, not my thang.

    haha love the revoke the man card comment!!


    I like the Olympics. Especially the competitive snowball fights and the camouflage whites. Yup.

    (I would see more of the Olympics if Amy would stop changing the channel to cartoons. Spoilsport.)

  5. Pansy response? It takes so much more strength to overcome the pull of ego gratification from "winning", and remain focused on the process.

    I kick pansy @$$.

  6. These people are seriously fucked up. I mean 145 kilometers per hour on a half an ironing board with your bum two inches above the ice with no brakes? Fuck that - I would go down on my stomach digging my toes in all the way - 20 km per hour tops. I wouldn't win any medals but them I would only have to wear one set of underwear and would be dry when I go to the bottom. EVERY Luger should get a gold medal.

  7. Lugers must be made of stern stuff. Here in Britain, curling seems to be the only winter sport in which we excel. And that's only because of our rich ancestory of chimney sweeps.

  8. What a great post! We're totally on the same page...especially about certain aspects of the opening ceremonies.

    I have to admit, though - luge scares the crap out of me!

    :-D Anna

  9. Love the luge...and sad to say the tragic death of that Olympian was probably the biggest boost the sport has ever had. Terrible isn't it?

    Now, if Foosball wound up in the Olympics I'd SO be on the team! By the way, my hubby's favorite event is Curling (and not the kind done to hair)...the sport a man can do no matter how old he is. (Well, women do it too but I figured that was too easy of a set up!) And I'll admit, it's sort of neat.

    Great post!

  10. Curling is not a sport, its a game...repeat...

    Kristin - i enjoy what you have to say - I left something for you on my blog...


  11. Yay - we invented something cool - go us! Shame we're no bloody good at it, bit like all the other olympic events really. Oh well.

  12. Luge, bobsled, downhill skiing - love all of these. Any sport where you pit yourself against the mountain and put your life on the line. I totally get it. I'd love to experience the g's those guys pull on the turns.

    And agree - what a pansy post by Celeste :) Where would our species be without competition? What if the strongest lion laid down and said 'I'll just let that weak old lion take over my pride'? Survival of the lamest?

  13. Skeleton on at the moment - really fast!


Mmmm, comments - nom, nom, nom, nom!


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