A week ago or so, I said that I was having a hard time getting into the Winter Olympics this year. I just didn’t know any athletes beyond Lindsey Vonn and Shaun White.
But one of the advantages of having a horrible flu is you have plenty of time to veg out in front of the TV. I went down the rabbit hole on a few things.
Winter Olympics: Curling
First, I really want to try curling. I watched this for an hour or so on the Canadian television feed. In case you’re unaware, curling involves teams of either two or four people sliding a big round stone on ice while a teammate sweeps a broom vigorously in front of the sliding puck. There’s a lot of yelling and special shoes.
I know they are the best in the world, but it seems like I could pick this up in couple of hours and have a basic understanding of the
strategy and technique. Honestly, it looks more like an excuse for Canuks to drink beer and get of the house in the winter than an actual Olympic event. I don’t think you should be able to watch the world championships of any sport and say, “I bet I could do that.”
Which brings me to figure skating. Evidently, this must be ratings gold for television. There is a lot of figure skating on. But I’m surely
not watching someone do a triple Salchow and thinking that I could pull it off.
In my cold-med induced haze, I have been kind of obsessed with the skaters that can pull of the quad flip in skates. That’s four complete spins in the air in under a second while landing backwards on one blade.
I did a little research and according to an article in WIRED magazine, a skater is spinning at least 340 revolutions-per-minute to pull off the quad. At the maximum spin rate, it’s over 400 rpm. Figure skating phenom Nathen Chen tops out at almost 440 rpm. They then land on one blade with the equivalent of 6-8x their body weight of force — on one blade and backwards.
It’s breathtaking to watch the sheer athleticism of this move. Scientists are arguing over whether it’s physically possible for
someone to do five spins.
So I guess I’m warming up to Winter Olympics after all. Just don’t get me started on the physics of snow cross.
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