There is a lot of talk about how unsafe the bobsled track is. During training this week and even after the first day of racing yesterday, over half of the questions from the media were centered around the danger of the sliding sports. The death of the Georgian luger began the concern and last night saw six teams drop out of the race due to crashing. And I’m sure there are even more crashes to come tonight as well as next week in 4-man.
So we turned all the talk into a more lighthearted conversation. In the lounge area yesterday night a number of athletes were talking about the danger of all the winter sports and comparing it to the summer games. This became a comical and exaggerated conversation, but we’ve concluded that the winter sports are just more thrilling and dangerous than all the summer sports. If you take a typical athletic person and put them through all the Olympic sports, there isn’t much that a person simply couldn’t finish in the summer games. Of course their times or distances might not be stellar, but they could at least finish the competition. That’s not the case with the winter sports. There is the chance of fatal injury in just about everything (I know a morbid conversation, especially as we are in the middle of the competitions). In the summer, you could what? Miss the pole vault pit? Overturn a kayak? Fall off a horse? . . . But in the winter games, would you have the courage to jump off the ski jump slope and soar 120 meters? Fly through the air at 40 feet doing aerials? Go 95+ mph in a bobsled or luge sled? I know, I know curling brings the thrill level of winter games down a little. But the argument could be made that it takes more of an athlete to do curling than it does for archery.
So bottom-line, while the summer games have more athletes and variety of sports, it takes a real sense of courage to be a winter athlete. Anyone can finish a 3000m run, but would you have the guts to go through Curve 50/50 with only a helmet for protection in a skeleton sled? And what’s worse…you have to do all these mentioned winter sports in -20 degree weather!!