Excitement Is Building for the Winter Olympics
by Gus Jarvis
Nov 18, 2009 | 1590 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There’s 80 or so days left until the cauldron marking the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics is lit in Vancouver, and I am already excited.

And with Telluride hosting the Visa U.S. Snowboardcross World Cup – the only (snowboardcross and parallel giant slalom) Olympic qualifier to be held in the U.S. – Dec. 17-20, it only amps up my excitement for the upcoming winter games because we will have hosted many of the competing athletes on our home mountain.

With the Olympics landing on our TV sets in February, it’s the perfect cure for the long cold days of winter – and it fills that gap once filled by the NFL football season. The event is like a two-week-long, 24-hour sporting event where you can turn on the tube, grab a cold Bud and watch, well, any sort of sport and not only be interested in it but be fully invested in the outcome. There have been times when was up at 1:20 a.m. by myself mindlessly watching Canada and Slovakia duke it out in the semi-finals of curling….Or watching some nasty wreck on the skeleton course at 5 a.m.….Or the amazing accuracy of the athletes skiing and shooting in the biathlon. The Olympic games for me is basically one two-week-long Thanksgiving celebration where I overeat, over-drink and stare at the TV for hours upon hours. Gluttony at its best. I can’t wait.

While I should have my mind focused on the upcoming winter events in Vancouver, something happened about a month ago that really caught my attention. It was announced by the International Olympic Committee that both golf and rugby are to be reinstated for the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

With golf and rugby both in the Olympics, I may have to go ahead and ask for the time off now to the full tournament of games in both of the sports. Our man Tiger Woods told the IOC that he would certainly like to become an Olympian if they reinstated his sport as an event (it was an Olympic sport in the 1900 and 1904 games).

With Woods’ support, the IOC approved a 72-hole stroke-play tournament for men and women, with 60 players each. Why not have another huge golf tournament to watch in the summer months? Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

I am probably more excited about rugby becoming an Olympic sport once again (it was last an Olympic sport in 1924). There will be an organized, four-day, seven-a-side Olympic rugby tournament for 12 men’s and women’s teams. Of course, I would prefer if they would allow for a traditional 15-a-side tournament (where the big boys get to ruck) but I can live with the seven-a-side for now.

What I like about this decision the most is that the game of rugby will be put on American televisions for once. Everywhere else in this gigantic world, you can find a good rugby match on TV at least once a week, if not every night of the week. Everybody who has played or been close to the game knows that rugby is the most exciting and skillful game known to humankind – and it has been for a long, long time.

What about NFL or college football, you may be asking? I truly love American football, but it really doesn’t hold a candle to rugby. While football is a thinking man’s chess match on the field with time to think about each and every move, rugby is the thinking man’s chess match on the move. Elegant violence, it as been called on many bumper stickers. With the Rugby World Cup every four years and now the Summer Olympics, us Americans just might catch on to rugby for once. Everyone else has.

But I guess I am getting overly excited for two new Olympic sports, coming more than six years away. The waiting game begins. Until then, it’s time to get ready for this winter and all it has to offer. Telluride’s World Cup event and then the Vancouver Olympics in February. At this point, any distraction from the Broncos is a welcome distraction.
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