I’m going to level with you, earlier today I was Googling ‘winter Olympic sports’, just to see if I could throw together a list of the most ridiculous sports imaginable that have been played on an international level. Instead I came across, debatably the most badass competition in winter Olympic history: The Biathlon.
The biathlon combines the rigorous endurance of cross-country skiing with the relaxed, laser-focus required for rifle shooting... Yes, rifle shooting and cross country skiing, have been thrown together as a single sport for almost 100 years now. So my #1 question is, “why the hell has this never been brought to my attention and marketed more effectively to the general public”? I’ve been aware of curling and all the shitty jokes that come with it, every 4 years, for the past decade now, and I would barely call that a hobby.
As I’m doing some research on my newfound passion, the more intense it sounds. One compares it to sprinting up a dozen flights of stairs then immediately having to thread a needle once you reach the top. Meshing the high intensity and all-out physical exertion in cross country skiing with the immediate demand to suppress all nerves and calm down breathing, in order to hit targets up to 50 meters away? It would only make sense that this was created by those crazy Norwegians as an alternative training for the military. Yep, this comes directly from the ol’ Viking ancestors that once revered the Norse God, Ullr, as not only the ski god, but the hunting god as well. Hunting god makes sense, but what the hell is a ski god? Talk about a certified badass.
BUT, if you really need another reason to tune in to your first biathlon this year, then look no further. Are you ready for it..? The Biathlon is the only winter Olympic competition that has NEVER BEEN WON BY TEAM USA! I didn’t even know that was a thing. To be honest, I thought that the only reason we had absurd sporting events such as this, was because America made them up every once in a while to get the other countries’ hopes up. The U.S. is so athletically dominant over the rest of the globe, so they come up with the idea of throwing new games in the mix to keep other countries from getting too discouraged. Maybe if we pretend like curling or biathlons are a recognized event, other countries will say, “hey, you guys see that new Olympic sport that America doesn’t have full control over already? Maybe we could bring a medal or two home, after all.”
But apparently that isn’t the case for our Team USA biathletes, who have yet to bring home the gold, silver, or even bronze for that matter. With low funding and an even lower fan base, I think it’s time as Americans to show biathlons the TV ratings they deserve. So with that being said, save the dates, support the red, white and blue, and the next thing you know, you’ll be headed down to Dick’s Sporting Goods for some ski poles and a firearm in no time.