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The Future of Winter Games

It is always a matter of perspective: more than 100 events lead to medals at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, which is a new record for that sports event. I personally doubt that winter sports can carry this number of finals by itself.

Of course, it is finally a matter of taste. You may be fully addicted to Skiing Slopestyle, but I feel it is one of those events which are simply too much out there in the Olympics. I am fine with doing it on Snowboard and I feel it looks cool if the are doing skiing backwards before doing an incredible number of loops and corkscrews – but I would rather see this kind of sports in the Winter X Games.

If you look at the Summer Games, many great sports or sports which are very popular in some parts of the world are not olympic: yeah, I love floorball – and we are a sports of millions of active sportsmen. I am sure we exceed the number of people riding skis in the wrong direction massively. But there are other sports on that last, which might be more popular to you: Golf and Rugby just joined again, while Baseball, for example, seems to be only having a chance to be part of the Summer Olympic programme if the hosting country is really baseball addicted. Summer Games have a significantly higher quality in the selection of events and, in addition, these events nearly all represent a high number of active athletes.

Some events I would rather skip:

  • Talked about Freestyle Skiing already. I would reduce it massively
  • Luge Team Relay. Yeah, Germans love Luge because it is so fantastic to gain all the medals, especially at the Ladies… But finally, it seems to become less and less popular. The Luge Team Relay is to me the worst event of all Luge ones: in a sports which deals with thousands of seconds, ain’t this one majorly decided by the reaction time at start (apart from the really dominating Germans)
  • Similar to me is Team Ice Skating. It feels very artificial.
  • Mixed Curling: I do like Curling. But just having shorter matches and two people per side do not form a new event to me.
  • Biathlon Mass Start: You might be very surprised about this one – and the Men’s event has been a great show ending with a photo finish – but an event having just 30 contestants by the way it is set up should not be Olympic in my point of view. There are numerous Biathlon events anyway. I could also mention their Mixed Relay.
  • 5000 metres Speed Skating, Women / 100000 metres Men: It is just one discipline each and you got the oval there anyway, but does it make sense to give away medals in an event which just has twelve individual competitors? To me, an Olympic discipline also needs some mass / depth in regards of the people being part of it.
  • Men’s Normal Hill Ski Jumping: I love Ski Jumping and there is definitely no “inflation” of Ski Jumping Medal in the Olympic programme – but the K90’s and K100’s do not play any role in the World Cup any more… Why should they be part of the Olympics then?

There are also some disciplines I have been missing: if the men’s have three events in Ski Jumping, why do the women just go for the Individual Normal Hill competition? There were just eight countries in Korea with three or more female atheletes, but in general I feel you should aim for a Women Team event there as well… Or maybe do the Mixed Team thing – it would make much more sense to me in Ski Jumping, where the women’s competition is still developing compared to Biathlon where in several countries the females might even be more popular than the male ones.

However, if you follow my plans, you might end up with 60 competitions altogether. That is maybe the core motivation of the IOC to blow up the schedule that much: to keep the Winter Olympics alive. With less medals contributed, it will be more and more challenging to determine an attractive schedule for a two-week event – and as there are some disciplines like Alpine Skiing, which are very sensitive to weather conditions, you also need to have a buffer of some days to move events in case of critical circumstances. I do not feel it is the right way to (more or less) invite any discipline which deals with snow and ice – it is just weakening the event as such. I would go the vice versa way and profit from the strength of the Summer Games: there are a couple of sports (mainly indoor ones) which in fact are played in winter season anyway, like handball or volleyball. Some others like all the indoor shooting disciplines are also not too dependend on sun, rain or snow. Why not moving some of them to the Winter Games, where they might even have a higher visibility and popularity and also ease the very dense Summer Games schedule? I feel it is worth a try!

 

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