I’m entranced by sports I didn’t think I cared about

Derrick Knutson

Derrick Knutson

You do that double Japan followed by a cork and a pretzel on the next jump, American slopestyle skier guy.

Yeah, I don’t really know what that means, either. I had to look those terms up online.

They’re apparently the names of some of the tricks skiers are performing in the new slopestyle event at the Winter Olympics.

I’m learning a lot watching the Winter Olympics, and I find myself engrossed in events I normally wouldn’t give a rip about.

On a normal weekend when figure skating is being televised: “Ah, darn it, figure skating — where’s football or basketball?”

During the Olympics when figure skating is broadcast: “Nice form on that ice dancing, team America.”

My wife and I have been turning the Winter Olympics on just about every night to partake in the viewing of sports we know almost nothing about.

Monday night, we watched pairs of men zip down an icy course inside bobsleds.

Initially, to me, this looked like something anyone could do. Push the sled for a little bit, hop in and then hunker down until you hit the bottom.

But after the Russians told gold in the event — the Americans took bronze, the first medal in the sport for the United States since 1952 — one of the announcers, who apparently knows all the intricacies of bobsledding, explained how much training these men do before the Olympics and how the bobsledding is a sport of inches. Small compensations in steering can result in the sleds losing valuable tenths of seconds as they speed down the course.

Over the weekend, we watched women’s speed skating and saw the American competitor lose her footing and fly into the padded wall surrounding the rink.

She was uninjured, but I assumed that fall took her out of contention and she wouldn’t make the final.

But she advanced.

The broadcasters had to replay the fall multiple times to show why she moved on; one of the other racers had touched her lightly on the shoulder as she attempted to pass, which is apparently not allowed in the sport.

That touch evidently caused her to lose her balance.

Last night, I even found myself researching the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan debacle from 20 years ago because it was mentioned on the Olympic broadcast. Like I said, I normally don’t give a hoot about figure skating, but now that the Olympics are on, I’m thinking, “Go for four spins on that jump instead of three! I want to see spectacular!”

Once the Olympics are over, I’ll probably get back into my regular routine of watching basketball in the winter and football in the fall, but I might see if I can find some curling on ESPN 8 during those seasons to supplement my sports viewing.

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