February 10, 2006

"Newfangled pseudo-sports are our lifeblood.": Felix Gillette of Slate.com outlines a four-point plan for US world domination at the Winter Olympics. Tactic number 4: invent sports that no one else cares about.

posted by Amateur to other at 11:09 AM - 12 comments

If no one else cares about it - who will you compete against? I think he was trying to be funny. Trying being the important word, there.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:20 PM on February 10, 2006

Yeah, not too amusing. However I would so watch short track Zamboni. I think we'd (Canada) have a good chance at it too.

posted by mkn at 01:22 PM on February 10, 2006

I am just curious but with the percentages that he lists what is the precentage of competitors that the USA brings to the table? Are they off balance or do they go hand in hand. I don't know much about the Olympics so maybe these are stupid questions and if they are I am sure someone here will point it out to me. Does every country provide the same amount of participants in every event or does it vary? How many countries are there participating and do they each have someone competing in each competition? Sorry for all the questions but I am too lazy to google today.

posted by skydivemom at 01:23 PM on February 10, 2006

Pathetic. Newfangled pseudo-sports are our lifeblood. Pseudo? What makes snowboarding any less a sport than say figure skating? Just because it hasn't been around as long doesn't make it inferior.

posted by tron7 at 01:35 PM on February 10, 2006

Does every country provide the same amount of participants in every event or does it vary? - Some countries don't send a competitor for every sport. Senegal has only sent two competitors (both alpine skiers). - Most sports have qualifying minimums that have to be met, and some countries don't have competitors that meet those requirements. I call this the "Eddie the Eagle" rule. If you can't be the least bit competitive at a sport, you won't be allowed into the Olympics. - Some sports allow you to send more than one competitor IF your nation has won competitions/medals in that sport. The best example is figure skating. If your nation has had a champion or podium finish in the worlds, then you get to send an extra competitor as well.

posted by grum@work at 02:30 PM on February 10, 2006

He forgot the 2, 4, and 10 man car hood.

posted by scottypup at 04:15 PM on February 10, 2006

Thanks grum. Do you have any figures about the ratio of participants/medals that the USA has had. That might put alittle more prespective on the percentages he lists in the article. I was wondering if we don't put up better medal numbers when we are hosting because we have more competitors.

posted by skydivemom at 05:54 PM on February 10, 2006

skydivemom, there is a clear and definite host effect, which applies to almost every country that hosts. (Even Canada, who notoriously did not win a gold medal in 1988 or 1976, won more medals than they did before.) I am pretty sure it has nothing to do with numbers. The host country usually does send a bigger team, because they don't have to meet the same qualifying standards as everybody else. But the "extra" athletes are all coming in at the low end; that is, they are athletes in sports where the host has little chance of winning a medal (see the Italian ice hockey team).

posted by Amateur at 06:30 PM on February 10, 2006

I should also point out that in general, the percentage of medals that any country wins is decreasing, because there are more countries winning medals than there were in the old days.

posted by Amateur at 06:31 PM on February 10, 2006

Thank you Amateur.

posted by skydivemom at 06:51 PM on February 10, 2006

as to the point 4 of creating sports nobody cares about... I guess that's what people thought when they added Biathlon and Curling - or luge for that matter. Or how about the summer games... is Beach Vollyball really any worse than Synchronized Swimming? I hear they might add Texas Holdem next go around.

posted by endorfin at 10:04 PM on February 10, 2006

Of course if the US really completely dominates a sport they will just eliminate it. Look at Softball.

posted by scottypup at 08:05 AM on February 11, 2006

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