Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The youth of the world

Now that is it February, the youth of the world will be descending on Vancouver, BC, Canada for the 21st Winter Olympics games.

Having watched the Olympics for a long time, I have detested the overly large amount of tv coverage focused on performance events where a person (couple, or group) gets an score from a group of "expert judges" based on technique, style and artistic impression.

To me that is not a sport, I have always held strong to the belief that sport is a yes/no proposition and though it might be entertaining, by definition, it is not a sport. There have been many occasions where the integrity of the people judging events have been questioned but more on that in the next post.

There are events that fall into a gray area as judges give athletes a score based on a 1 to 5 second trick. Within that time frame, I believe it is possible to accurately access tricks one at a time. However, since a score is given, it falls into the gray area.

Here is a chart that describes the 86 events being held by type:

Time: Each person competes on a course. Fastest time on it wins. (Alpine skiing, luge, bobsled, skeleton, most speed skating, some cross country, some biathlon)

Placing: Four or more people or teams compete at the same time. First person to cross the finish line wins. (Note: There can be qualifying and non final races where players get eliminated) (short track speed skating, team and some individual cross country and biathlon, skiing cross and snowboard cross)

Match: Teams or individuals compete one on one until all but one is eliminated or one wins a final. (hockey, curling, snowboard Giant Slalom, speed skating pursuit)

Form: Players (or groups of) are judged one at a time for a 1 to 5 second interval and given a score. Best score wins. (ski jumping, aerials)

Performance: Players (or pairs) get a score by judges based on a 30 second to 5 minute performance. (figure skating, half pipe)

Combo: Nordic combined (half ski jumping, half cross country) and moguls (score based on time, form and performance)

1 comment:

Igotnothing said...

You make a good point. I've never looked at the fact that some of the events at the Olympics are not true 'sports'. Gymnastics while both entertaining and athletic is not a true sport in that sense. In fact there are an insane amount of ways to be penilized for errors in those events.

I would also think that a defining point of a sport would be if it is athletic as well. This would exclude things like shooting and golf from the summer Olympics. While both take a huge amount of skill to be a professional at it, neither require someone to be athletic.

This could also be said for Nascar. While you do need to be small enough to be able to fit in the car you do not have to be athletic. You do have to be very skillful at driving to be a Nascar (or any other racing) driver with quick reflexes and great hand/eye cooridination. But this still does not mean atheletic.

I'll be thinking about the events differently from now on.