I figure with the Winter Olympics on again it's worth bringing up a long standing point of mine. And it is this - if you require judges to tell if you've won, it's not a real Olympic sport.
I'm all right with referees. If you need them for sports like hockey, to help enforce the rules and make sure people don't cheat, then that's fine. But with sports like figure skating...I call shenanigans. I'm not saying what they do is easy or that I could hop on a pair of skates and then spin in mid-air four times. Of course I couldn't. It's hard, it requires skills and athleticism. However, at the end of the day, you still have a bunch of people telling you how you've done.
And no system is fool-proof. There's always room for human error or bias. So while I'm pleased and happy for Alexandre Bilodeau for winning Canada's first gold medal on home soil, moguls is still a flawed winter Olympic sport for me. If it was simply about getting down the hill as quickly as possible, I could be all about that. However, once you toss in the two jumps for judging, plus the whole "watching their knees to make sure they don't come apart" thing, then no. Sorry. Shouldn't be an Olympic sport.
But Maelle Ricker's snowboard cross gold medal, sure. That was one competitor against three others. Speed skating, that's you against a competitor and the clock. I'm all for that. Luge, bobsled, cross country skiing, downhill skiing, curling, hockey and sports like that...they can be Olympic sports.
Half pipe? Not so much.
People tend to get upset when I make this argument, mentioning that no one really cares about things like bobsled except at the Winter Olympics, but they do care about figure skating every time it comes on. And I understand that. However, I see figure skating as fundamentally flawed. To many judging scandals for me to take it seriously. It's a step up from professional wrestling for me. However, you don't hear of many bobsled scandals.
I realize the notion of "purity" in the Winter Olympics is laughable, given the amount of drug enhancement that goes on, and that's before you get to the staggering volume of commercialization going on.
But it's one little thing I'd like to see. Never happen, of course. They'll never give up figure skating in a million years. But that's my take on it. Give me a sport where it's you against another person, team or a clock and you have my attention. Give me a sport where five anonymous people have to tell me who is best, and I'm flipping the channel.
1. Last night on Earth - U2
2. Eleanor Rigby/Julia - The Beatles
3. Tell yer mama - Norah Jones
4. No stillness and no rain - Hawksley Workman
5. Live circus (live) - Tom Waits*