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Reverse Iditarod, brain freeze contests highlight Winter Olympics

If you read my column every week, you know that I don’t stray from straight talk. I don’t mince words; I speak the truth, no matter how unsavory it is. That being said, I know I can’t be the only one who thinks the Winter Olympics are a monumental waste of time.

Aren’t some of the sports the most obscure activities possible? Does anybody really look forward to the Winter Games? Who out there is excited about watching a guy shoot down an icy half-pipe in a rickety looking sled? I’m pretty sure that everyone who watches the winter Olympics simply does so to see the incredible wipeouts.

And sadly wipeouts there are.

Consider the case of Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian luger who died during a luge practice run after flying off his sled and slamming into a pole at almost 90 mph. According to Breitbart.com, the luger said, “I will either win or die,” to his father before his fateful trip to the Olympics this year. Truer words have never been spoken.

The Olympic committee blamed Kumaritashvili for failing “to make tactical corrections during his run,” a statement it has taken a lot of heat for, but where does the blame truly lie? Even with the poles being wrapped in padding following Kumaritashvili’s death, luge is a dangerous and wholly unnecessary sport.

I actually came across some other Winter Olympic events that I had never heard of. Based on some of these events, it is apparent that they’re just giving away Olympic medals these days.

Take event No. 16, ski lift races. This event is apparently exactly what it sounds like — teams gather in a ski lift and take turns racing up to the top of the hill. Forgetting the fact that ski lifts are rather slow and they all take the same amount of time to get to the top of the hill. Who would have thought that this would be a great idea for an event? The Swedes, who dominate this event, are looking to take home the gold again. Whoop-dee-doo.

Or how about event No. 17, the reverse Iditarod? In the original Iditarod race in Alaska, mushers and sled dogs cover over a thousand miles in extreme conditions on their way from Willow to Nome, trying to get the fastest time possible.

In this bizarre take on the Iditarod, specially trained dogs are used to act as the mushers while the human athletes are the ones doing the running. The racers must run in unison while the dog remains on the platform being pulled, and whoever gets the fastest time wins. The grueling five-mile race was surprisingly won last year by a Jamaican team. Who has more talent in this event, though, the dogs or the athletes? I say the dogs.

One of the dumbest-sounding events is that of No. 18, the brain freeze contest. The Olympic committee provides Slushees and the contestants drink them as fast as they can. The coveted gold medal is won by whoever achieves a brain freeze first. I never thought I could participate in the Olympics but this event has my name written all over it.

In fact, forget everything I just said and sign me up for the 2014 winter games. I’m going for the gold!

Gerry Wachovsky is a graduate student and columnist for the Daily 49er.

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