The Olympics have basically been on every night at my apartment — I have a roommate who is very much into figure skating, and in the Olympics in general.
Anyway, the other night while he was watching figure skating, one of the other sports they were also showing was snowboard cross — it’s like BMX biking but on snowboards instead. At first it was kind of boring to watch, but once I “got it” and started paying more attention, it was really cool and fun to watch. This year the sport made its olympic debut.
Basically, you have a track with all sorts of turns and jumps. Four snowboarders ride the track at the same time, and in the quarter- and semi-finals (at least for the Olympics) the first two finishers move on to the next round. They’re not allowed to check one another, but “incidental contact” is okay. The goal is just to get down the track as fast as you can, without falling over (I don’t think you get disqualified, it’s more that it’s impossible for you to catch up). It’s not timed — I guess they do a photo finish if it’s that close. The races are so fast, and it really is pretty compelling to watch. I got into it. This photo and this photo will give you an idea of what I’m talking about. But it’s like hockey — I don’t think you could really “get” hockey just by looking at a few still shots.
I only saw the men’s competition, but I bet the ladies’ was just as cool, though my understanding is that Lindsey Jacobellis basically gave away the gold medal at the last minute by doing a jump off of the very last “jumpy thing” and falling, thus allowing someone else to overtake her. We won the men’s gold, though.
Speaking of the men’s snowboard cross gold medal winner, Seth Wescott is an intelligent, articulate hottie, though you can’t really see the hottness in that photo. This is better. He’s building a house in Maine, he must have some need for a librarian, right?