Winter Olympics: Where did these sports come from?
Everyone knows about the origin of the marathon. A nameless (Pheidippides) Greek dude (soldier) ran exactly (nope) 26.2 miles around (from Marathon to Athens) Greece alerting his fellow Grecians about something worthy (the Greeks had just trounced some Persians) of running more sustained mileage than anyone previously had ever thought to do (this is wrong).
So, turns out this story is bullshit.
Our marathon man Pheidippides was actually an ultramarathon man. He had run 140 miles from Athens to Sparta to plead for their assistance in keeping the Persians out of their shit.
I love imagining Spartans as just these warmongers for hire. They sit around all day waiting for ultramarathoners to knock on their castle doors (my imagination, my decisions), beg for help, and the Spartans kind of bully the messenger by being super wishy-washy but, in reality, they love to kill people so of course they will take up arms and they eventually agree and give the messenger a noogie.
One more thing. The modern day almost-marathon distance was, in fact, covered after the Battle of Marathon. The Athenian army quickly marched 25 miles to Cape Sounion to stave off a Persian force sailing towards their loved ones. Turns out the Persians lacked some gall back then and flipped those boats back towards wherever they came from, thus sealing up an Athenian victory and a terribly misconstrued legend.
If this legend hadn’t been totally ruined by an Athenian scrolling through his news feed and not fully engaged to his friend’s story about his battle last weekend, we could potentially live in a world where the modern marathon distance is 140 miles. We would live in a world where people were regularly dying out on the course because 140 miles is bonkers. Diddy and Oprah would have run 140 miles and inspired other people to run 140 miles and then they would have died and then the blood would have been on Diddy and Oprah’s hands, respectively. We dodged a bullet, folks.
What about the Winter Olympics? The Winter Olympics are the Costco for weird sports. Yeah, that’s right. Costco. Because they come in BULK.
I will now do an exercise in assumption. I’ve, most likely correctly, come up with a short back story for some Winter Olympic sports. Sit back and watch me set flames to the annals of history.
BIATHLON – This one seems fairly obvious. A young Scandinavian boy was tasked by his father to gun down a reindeer for the family dinner. While he’s stalking down Rudolph, the young boy sees his crush – Hilde. They make out in the forest for what feels like hours. In a haste, Hilde cleverly makes the boy some skis from a felled tree branch nearby. He then skis away, rifle in hand, slays the reindeer, and the crowd goes wild.
BOBSLED – A bunch of dudes got wasted in a Bavarian lodge and started getting super emotional and talking about how much they loved each other and would never leave one another’s side. So they quickly, drunkenly, pieced together a sled-like apparatus and used it to slide down the mountain and into their village. The crowd goes wild.
ICE DANCING – Moscow. 1854. A Russian man and woman are ballroom dancing. It’s cool. It’s chill until another couple gets super jealous and slaps on their ice skates (it’s Russia) and do an even better dance on the frozen potato field outside the ballroom. The crowd goes wild.
CURLING – Imagine how bored you’d have to be to think sweeping ice while your friend flings a stone at you is entertaining. This event was created at the most boring time in the world, in the most boring place in the world at that specific time. This has 16th century Wales written all over it. The crowd goes wild.