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Curling Skeletons at the Olympics

     If you look at the “Sports Highlights” in TV Week, you’ll see bull riding and drag racing and fishing and football and golf.  You know what all that is. Regular stuff. But if you look a little further, you’ll see the Winter Olympics.

     And under this heading you’ll see moguls, skeletons, halfpipes, biathlons, curling, ski jumping and ice dancing and hundreds of other … sports? Don’t ask me! I’m snowed!

     I was really curious about the skeletons. I finally saw them last night – boy, did I get excited! I’ve never seen a skeleton except in biology class. These skeletons weren’t curling; they were sledding – I guess that’s what you’d call it.

     You couldn’t see their bones ’cause they were covered with colorful costumes with a lot of mesh on the legs. The skeleton runs along beside a tiny little black sled-like thing and hops on SMACK! landing on his stomach

     I don’t know if skeletons have stomachs. I don’t see how they could, but he seemed to be lying on something more substantial than a set of bones. Whatever it is he’s lying on, he then cruises at lightning speed down a long open tube of firmly packed snow, going around corners one after another until he reaches the finish line.

     Actually, the whole thing happened so fast, I’m not sure what I saw.

     What first caught my attention about the Olympics is when I tuned in the other night to see a snowboarder flipping up and over the snow, heading down a treacherous course. The announcer was raving about her speed and how she was wa-a-a-y ahead of all the others at this point.

     He said the time to beat was – well, I don’t remember what it was, but when he said it, I noticed a little box in the corner flashing the time as she sped down the hill. Suddenly the “time to beat” appeared in a box above the flashing numbers. By now I was mesmerized. I watched the numbers intently – would she beat the time? Next thing you know she was at the bottom of the hill. I’d missed it all!

     But the announcer saw her. He raved about her form and how far ahead she was of the competition. With awe in his voice, he exclaimed by golly! she had just beat the closest competitor by MORE THAN…

     I held my breath.

     a second!

     I don’t know. I just don’t know.

     The next evening when I switched to the Winter Olympics, I saw knees. Knees pumping up and down and up and down so fast you couldn’t believe it. They were attached to a pair of skis traveling over a series of bumps that wouldn’t stop. How could those knees take all that punishment? It hurt me to watch.

     I found out later what those snow-covered bumps are called. Moguls.

     It’s a strange world, these winter Olympics. I’m learning a lot about moguls and skeletons and luges and halfpipes and curling – without a curling iron – and I never knew there were so many ways to ski.

     There’s Alpine and freestyle; there’s ski jumping and the Super-G; there’s slalom and downhill; there’s cross country and those crazy moguls if you have good knees and don’t care what happens to them.

     I really enjoyed the ice dancing and watching those snowboarders go down and up that icy crater and wa-a-a-y up in the air with a flip and a roll and back down and up and…

     And like I said, I’m learning a whole lot about winter sports that I never knew before.  Oh yes – those skeletons I was talking about? Actually, it’s the little black sled that’s the skeleton; the guy on his stomach is real flesh and blood with a helmet on his head and speed in his bones.

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