When winter sports get funny, weird and extreme

By Sergio González | 17:01

Sochi Olympics are at its height, showing the whole world once again why winter is such a cool season to play sports, the more when they are strange and fun winter sports.

Russia’s recent anti-LGBT laws have raised international outrage and IOC’s mild reaction has been criticized even by the UN’s secretary general Ban Ki-moon. On the bright side, we also found some hilarious yet blunt responses like this one from The Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion and this other one from Channel 4 in the UK, which has switched its logo to a rainbow version. Sochi’s problem also included semi-built accommodation, lack of decent Internet connection and incomprehensible signs that have every social media platform bursting with witty comments and hilarious memes.

IOC president Thomas Bach fights back criticisng Obama, Hollande, Cameron and other world leaders for not attending Sochi. As this political and social drama unfolds, the actual games are taking place and we don’t want to miss them. However, since everything around Sochi seems a little out of this world, we’ve decided to join the funny side of it all. Get ready to have a look at the funniest and weirdest side of winter Olympic sports. 

One of the coolest anecdotes of winter Olympics ever was performed by the Jamaican bobsleigh team when they were the first tropical nation to compete in winter sports during Calgary ’88. It was also a living proof of the Olympic spirit.

The Jamaican team arrived with few training and no equipment but early in the games they were crowd’s favourite. The rest of the competitors offered them their spare sleds and some last-minute guidance. Who wouldn’t root for the guys with the worst odds but the best spirits?

Watch on the video below the Jamaican Bobsleight Team debut at Calgary ’88 or get the full story from the 1993 film Cool Runnings. To experience a closer-to-the-real-thing experience, here’s a list of bobsled roller coasters in the world.


Since then, many tropical nations have joined winter Olympics and performed quite outstandingly in luge, the third sledging Olympic sport along bobsleigh and skeleton, and cross-country skiing. Let’s all remember these athletes come from countries like Virgin Islands or Fiji where the only snow is the one inside Christmas snow-balls.

Curling is on the stranger sides of winter sports but somehow it made it to the Olympics. Halfway between bowling, darts and ice-brooming, the goal in curling is to slide a stone along an ice sheet aiming for it to stop at the target area. All that bromming and planning is far more intense than what it may look like at first sight and curling makes an awesome family winter sport, totally DIY and far less dangerous than black-ice-ball.

As always, we like peeking into what the boldest of us are doing -talking about winter sports, the extreme awards this year goes to ice diving.  It’s the pro version of polar bear plunging. Ice diving is very dangerous not only because of the low water temperature but because more often than not the entry and exit point are the same. Ice divers are usually tethered and wear special suits but that doesn’t make it any less risky. On the other hand, swimming with penguins is the ultimate diving experience.

 

You may have noticed that in the last winter Olympics games more and more extreme sports have beed added to the competition. According to Olympian historian David Wallechinsky and The Washington Post, it’s an IOC’s plan to drive young viewers back that has been on since the late 90s.

12 non-traditional winter sports have been added to Sochi, many of them based or originated in the X Games, the most important extreme sports competitions and shows in the world. Wallechinsky says some of these new ways can be ‘just silly’ like athlete Jamie Anderson, who prays to the forest before snowboarding. Free-style skier Nick Goepper thinks this new freedom is ‘kind of artistic’ and the skis are the paintbrush that will turn a canvas of fresh snow into art.

Is it too much? Have Olympic winter sports gone too extreme? We’d love to hear it from you. Meanwhile, enjoy the Sochi Olympics!

Photo credit: Skeezix1000

 

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