Garfield Senior High School

Why the Winter Games are cool too

The Olympic Games in Pyeongchang have ended, concluding winter sports and marking the halfway point until the next summer games. While the majority of us are more excited for the arrival of the summer games than we are sad to see the winter games go, we have missed a rare opportunity to witness some great athletics. Most of us were unwilling to watch any of the events that weren’t hockey because winter sports are just so foreign and obscure. If it weren’t for my family members who watch anything sport-related, I myself would never have seen all the wonders of winter sports.

By far the most bizarre sport that I came across was a gem known as curling. A team of three “curlers” compete against another team in what can most easily be described as shuffle-boarding on ice. One curler hurls a stone, which can weigh anywhere from 17.24 to 19.94 kilograms (38 and 44 pounds), towards a bullseye shaped ring. If the hurler thinks his throw was too soft, he can command his teammates to scrub the ice making the stone glide faster. The teams repeat this process round after round for scoring.

For fans of track and field who are a bit bored with the winter games line-up, a nice substitute is speed skating. The individual races are all run in meters and go as follow: 500, 1000, 1500, 3000, 5000, and 10,000 meters. The competitors fly by at speeds that could amaze you whether you’re a fan of the sport or not. The way they move on the ice, gliding side to side cutting through the air as if they were flying is a fascinating thing to watch within itself. The races are significantly faster than those of track and field and it’s just plain fun to watch people shredding through the ice.

For those interested in how fast people can go, I was put into absolute awe when watching the downhill skiing, single skeleton, and bobsled. The competitors in these events were reaching speeds of 75 to 85 miles per hour. Other than looking completely dangerous and therefore making them more captivating to watch, this sport has you wonder a handful of things. How did they discover they were good at this? How does one train for this? For someone who has never seen snow before, these questions are constantly on my mind and still without an answer.

There are tons of ways to have fun watching the Winter Olympic games. Sadly, it’s too late to convince anybody to watch the games. For many of us, these games serve as nothing more than a reminder that the summer games are almost here, and for that reason we fail to fully appreciate these unique sports. Watching these sports that are foreign to us gives us a slight vision about how life is like in snowy parts of the world.