Russian doping, curling and other scandals

Q and A on PyeongChang Winter Olympics

Chennai, Feb 15: Sports aficionados in Chennai have always been fascinated by Winter Olympics, especially because it is a celebration of  — pay close attention here — winter. For, winter in these parts lasts for lesser number of days than the Olympics does.

This time around, Winter Olympics is held in the South Korean city of PyeongChang, which was chosen for the fact that it is probably the only city in the world which boasts of a capital letter bang in its middle.

The original spelling of PyeongChang is Pyongchang.

The thing is PyeongChang had an ‘e’ introduced and a strange capital ‘C’ inserted in its middle in a bid to differentiate it from Pyongyang. (It is a considered and practical change, otherwise there is a distinct possibility of the Americans, whose spelling skills are not the best in the world — think covfefe — landing a few missiles on the innocuous South Korean city in a situation when their actual intended target is the North Korean capital city).

There are a few other stuff pertaining to this Winter Olympics that deserve to be explained. Hence this Q & A:

Q: How old are the Winter Olympics?

Ans: Figure-skating and ice hockey have been part of the Summer Games itself. But since in those early days everybody was busy celebrating the great Olympic ideals, nobody actually noticed these two sports. And in those days, ice hockey was played on normal turf only and it still looked less stupid than what Americans play with hands but call football.

The first Winter Olympics was held in 1924 and main the event was, of course, staying alive. In those early days, there were no games village and athletes had to sleep in the open and many of them perished in the harsh winter. Winter Olympics have claimed more victims than World War II. This is a popular trivia in quizzes.

Q: Winter Olympics is a bit esoteric in this region. Give us a brief overview of some events

Ans: Winter Olympics comprises 98 events, in 15 disciplines, and all involve some kind of sliding. Among the events, the Luge is highly popular. Contestants hurtle down in a small sled through an icy chute at maniacal speeds while the spectators watch with bated breath that at least one contestant ends up in an spectacular accident. Without any mishap, the event is as boring as any F-1 race.

The Skeleton is a far more thrilling event because competitors descend face-first on a board, which is just a tad broader and longer than a standard tea coaster, through a rambling icy slide at speeds that you can never experience on Chennai roads.

Q: Face-first on a downhill, curving, narrow slope? What makes athletes take such extreme risks?

Ans: We suspect cocaine.

Q: Tell us about Alpine skiing

Ans: Alpine skiing is skiing done in Alps. We don’t know how they are going to relocate the Alps to PyeongChang. Must be a logistical nightmare. But trust the enterprising Koreans to pull it off.

Q: Russian athletes are participating in this year’s Winter Olympics. But we also read that Russia has been banned from the Winter Games for wide-spread doping. Explain please.

Ans: As you rightly said, Russia is indeed banned from the Games. But wise heads of world sport understood that Russia is different from Russians (drum roll). Seriously, Russian sportspersons are participating under the banner OAR which is an abbreviation for IOC Is More Stupid Than Anyone Can Believe. Okay, OAR is Olympic Athletes From Russia. But the medals they win will not be recorded in the name of Russia in history books till such time history books are changed.

But Russians’ systematic doping is still the lesser scandal in Winter Olympics. The biggest of course is curling being considered a sport. Except the Scots, no one understands curling. People have let it be, lest the Scots get upset and stop producing Scotch.

Q: On to India, what about its participation the Games?

Ans: India, as ever, has sent a huge contingent of 16, and 14 of them being officials, which is still better than the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games, where India almost sent a team without a goalkeeper, because his place on the trip had been taken up by the nephew of the Sport Secretary of Union Government.

Q: Which channel is telecasting the Winter Olympics in India?

Ans: For the sake of answering this question, we tuned into Star Sports, and, inevitably, a match involving Sri Lankan cricketers was being telecast. We suspect one Sri Lankan team is capable of playing five different matches simultaneously. We switched to the Sony-Ten platforms, and we came across WWE contests that are apparently a huge hit among many youngsters, none of whom, we suspect, inhabit this planet. We moved to DD Sports, which was beaming the live telecast of 1986 Kho-kho Nationals. We also found out that Neo Sports Channels still exist, but nobody knows why.

Since no channel was having anything on the Winter Olympics, we checked the internet and realised that the official rights for telecasting the Winter Olympics in India has been bagged by Jio TV, which is not a TV but an app.  You have to download it on your mobile to watch the Winter Games. All fine except the fact, Jio TV app works only with a Jio mobile connection.

Q: We think  we will go back to watching Sri Lankan cricketers

Ans: Good idea.