Simpleton’s guide to the Winter Olympics (Ice Hockey and Luge)

Ice Hockey and Luge

Two favourites in the Winter Olympics calendar make their first appearance of 2018 on day three, Ice Hockey and the Luge.

Ice Hockey

Ice Hockey was a relatively minor sport until an insightful documentary, The Mighty Ducks, was released in 1992. It showed how a minor league team changed it’s fortunes by adapting the duck like ‘Flying V’ formation that has been used by every medal winning team since.

Ice Hockey is a little like five a side football, except it’s on ice and as they wear skates that would burst the football, they use sticks and a puck instead of a ball and they dress as if they are part of a bomb disposal unit instead of some blokes fannying about on the ice. Come to think of it, it’s nothing like football at all.

It takes real dedication to become an Ice Hockey professional as you need to arrive on a Thursday to start padding up for a game on a Saturday. Nobody knows why they wear so many pads, especially as the land based hockey game is a lot more dangerous.

Ice Hockey is famed for its fights but to be honest, I’ve seen bigger rumbles over jam at a WI meeting. By the time they have removed their gloves and helmet and skated round a few times everybody has gone home.

In the 1998 games, Canadian Marty Mooseburger accidentally won bronze in the Figure Skating whilst trying to avoid a slap from his American counterpart, Brad Assburper.

The 2018 games will have a combined North and South Korea women’s Ice Hockey team. The women’s game is almost identical to the men’s except they aren’t allowed to body check, a positive move as I don’t believe there is a place for body shaming in any sport.

What to say: Quack, quack, quack, quack.

What not to say: Mighty Ducks 3 was my favourite.

Can you recreate it at home? Yes. Get dressed in a Deep Sea Diving costume, hit your mam with a stick and try and get away before she flicks you with the tea towel.

The Luge

Whilst the luge in various forms has been going since the fifteenth century, it only became popular in the late 1800s when waiters in a Swiss ski resort would hop on a tea tray at the end of their shift and bomb down the mountain to get home in time for tea.

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The sport is dominated by the Germans and in 1986, Hans Niesanbumsadasy was disqualified for hurtling down the track carrying seven steins of beer. He argued that the fact that he didn’t spill a drop should be applauded however the judges rightly decided that he had an unfair weight advantage.

Weight has always been a contentious subject in the luge after the 1976 games where the Austrians were found to be using something called ‘physics’ (invented in 1968) to gain an unfair advantage. They discovered that the more weight you had, the faster you would go so competitors were pouching up to fourteen apple strudels a day to gain an extra few pounds.

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Rules have now been introduced to counter this and competitors are weighed beforehand. The skinnier ones are allowed to carry artificial weights with them such as a couple of tins of peas although some choose not to due to exorbitant prices charged in Alpine supermarkets.

Definitely one of the scarier winter pursuits with a high chance of soiling.

What to say: Like shit off a shovel.

What not to say: Like someone’s shovelled shit on the track.

Can you recreate it at home? Do you have a tea tray? Do you have an icy mountain? Then yes, crack on.


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