Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards is Great Britain’s most famous Winter Olympian.
And he gained recognition (and a biographical film) for being useless at ski jumping.
That pretty much explains why the Winter Olympics is such a non-event in the grand scheme of sporting things, despite the best efforts of the BBC to convince us otherwise.
I awoke on Sunday morning to a radio commentator claiming a Brit had been ‘brilliant’ and had ‘made history’ with an ‘unbelievable’ performance. Now I’m patriotic enough to overcome my apathy to celebrate British success, but it turned out said competitor finished seventh. Ho hum.
The Winter Olympics seems to be an event created to make Scandinavians and Canadians feel better about themselves. I bet there aren’t many of us who can recite the gold medal winners over the years in the blue riband races, whatever they are.
In the proper Olympics, the ones held in more glamorous locations, the world stops when Usain Bolt tries heroically to beat off convicted drug cheats in a 100m sprint. I’d even look up from my Daily Mail when it was time for Mo Farah to race.
But the speed skating? No thanks, no matter how many Brits are competing in a chaotic sport. The sprint races are the winter equivalent of speedway. First one to the first corner wins.
Too many Winter Olympic events appear to be the invention of mad minds.
The biathlon involves skiing for miles with regular breaks for some target practice with a rifle. It’s illogical, like interrupting a marathon running race to chuck some darts at a board.
There are also too many medals decided by judges. Boxing, both amateur and professional, has proven over the years how dangerous it is to let opinions decide a winner.
One of the few British gold medal performances I can remember was Torvill and Dean in the ice dancing. They recorded perfect sixes all the time, even on one occasion when Torvill fell over, which should be the worst thing that can happen.
I will be avoiding the ‘Big Air’ event, a new discipline which awards a gold medal for showboating on a snowboard. What utter nonsense, right up there with banning Russia the country for constant cheating yet allowing most of their athletes to compete anyway.
The Winter Olympics is not a real world event anyway. There aren’t many Africans taking part are there? It’s a bit easier to win a toboggan race than the 3,000m steeplechase.
Curling will presumably be one medal opportunity for GB, but I won’t set the alarm or skive off work to watch it like I would a football World Cup tie.
Curling must be the most snoozeworthy sporting event ever created.
Even Manchester United under Mourinho are more interesting. Heck so is baseball, a sport that generates 10 seconds of excitement every two hours or so.
Wake me up when it’s all over.