February 7, 2014

Nine Reasons to Watch these Winter Olympics—and One not to. ~ Graham Markel

Photo: Carmen Rodriguez

It’s that special time every four years when we get to appreciate the winter sports professionals.

As most of the country feels the wrath of winter weather bearing down on them, maybe it’s time we all embrace the winter.

Take a few deep breaths and appreciate the cold. My favorite way to do that is through sport. Go skiing, ice skating, maybe just go outside and throw snowballs. Once your cheeks are chapped from too many runs down those double black diamonds, your ass is bruised from falling on the ice or your arm’s a little tired from pummeling the neighbor’s kids, you can come inside.

And for the next couple of weeks, I’ll be watching the Winter Olympics almost religiously. Though…I don’t think snowball fights are officially an Olympic sport yet. Like I said, it’s cold outside, and I’m pumped to curl up with a warm cup of organic, sustainably farmed, single origin, delivered by sailboat coco and watch the world come together in Russia, compete and try to dominate each other in one of the most peaceful ways possible.

In the tradition of elephant and my old pal Sir Waylon Lewis, here are the top 10 reasons an elephant journal reader such as your fine self should dust off your old television, get some of that organic coco stuff and actually watch the Winter Olympics.

1. Sport. 

Pure unadulterated sport.

Most of the athletes are not in it for the money. It’s not the NFL where when someone loses they still go home and sleep on a cash stuffed pillow—only a lucky few make a decent wage. For every Shawn White, there are 100 curlers and and 100 cross-country skiers. Most of them have a second job to support their passion. They do it mostly for country and love of the sport. They do it for a chance at becoming a champion in the thing they love so much.

They do it for America! Or, Russia, or Sweden, or even Jamaica.

2. Jamaica National Bobsleigh Team.

They’re back.

If you have watched Cool Runnings you know what I mean, so you can jump to Number 3.

If you haven’t watched the movie, go rent it. It is one of the best sports movies—scratch that—one of the best movies ever made! The team missed the last two Winter Olympics and almost missed this one as well. At the last moment they crowdfunded the last $120,000 needed for the team. Jamaicans have always been the best sprinting nation. They get a fast push off the line which is half the battle in bobsledding.

“Feel the Rhythm! Feel the Rhyme! Get On Up, it’s Bobsled Time!”

3. The Athletes.

There is nothing sexier then people in top physical shape.

Oh wait, people who go hard after their passions and goals, that’s really sexy too. Olympians train hard for four years; no doubt doing tons of yoga. No offense to the curling team, but downhill skiers are usually my favorite! Bodi “The Body” Miller. Julia Mancuso, gold medalist from Vancouver, who spends all her free time surfing and yogaing.

Holy giant slalom, ladies!

Lolo Jones, the former Hurdler from the Summer Olympics turned Bobsledder. She has about as much body fat as she has sexual partners: zero—she’s famously still a virgin at age 31.

The whole Norwegian Team.

Especially Cross-County skier Therese Johaug and Petter Northug and snowbaorder Silje Norendal. The list goes on and on—I could basically name almost 90% of the athletes competing. I know most the people on this list are women, but I’m a dude.

4. Figure Skating.

They are the darlings of the Olympics; the perfect combination of power and grace.

Lots of sparkles, kisses and crying—I’m just talking about the men’s team.

U.S.A. vs Russia in the oldest Olympic rivalry.

Your fingernails never stood a chance.

5. Downhill Skiing.

Both women’s and men’s are great.

It comes down to 1/100 of a second most of the the time. The athletes reach speeds up to 80MPH (129KPM) on an icy course.  Every corner and every roller is make or break. Unfortunately, no Lindsey Vonn this year as she is out with a knee injury.

6. Hockey. 

The medal rounds have provided some of the best moments in sports history.

It’s all the best pro players from all over the world. Better than the NHL, in my opinion, as I don’t think there’s a more patriotic bunch of folks than hockey players. For those of you who think regular hockey is too violent, there is a strict no fighting rule in Olympic Hockey.

Just rivalries that go back to the U.S.S.R.

7. Snowboard Super Pipe.

One name: Shaun White.

It could be the most watched event of the Olympic games.

8. Shaun White.

The non-heirloom, hot house, flying tomato! One of the most famous red heads in the world has dominated his sport as only Kelly Slater or Michael Jordan have in their respective sports.

He will be an event unto himself.

9. Don’t! Boycott it!

Stand up for what you believe in and be an agent for change.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is a power hungry, rich, extremely homophobic, mudak—that’s Russian for “assh*le”.

In 2013, Putin enacted a law that bans the distribution of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors, which effectively makes it illegal to suggest that gay relationships are equal to heterosexual relationships or to distribute material on gay rights. Many of the people who protested were put in jail and charged with hooliganism.

Check out my favorites hooligans, Pussy Riot, live from the Orthodox Church!

Also, he captured two wild orcas that were going to be displayed at the Sochi Aquarium until they disappeared…

All of these are decent reasons not to watch. I respect this decision of anyone who feels they want to go that route. Don’t watch for all those reasons. Also T.V. sucks—the athletes get exploited by the likes of NBC and other mudaks.

Don’t watch because you would rather be out in the ice and snow yourself. Don’t watch if you don’t want to watch.

10. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

I almost forgot, the Russians should put on a good show.

At the very least it should be interesting. This year Team U.S.A. remembered to have the Ralph Lauren uniforms made here in the good old U.S. of A. The Americans should do well in the medal count as well.

I know I’ll be watching from beginning to end.


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Assistant Editor: Alicia Wozniak/Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: Flickr/Carmen Rodgriguez

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Graham Markel