Simpleton’s Guide to the Winter Olympics (Speed Skating and Snowboarding)

Today’s blog features both old and new classics of the winter sports genre with Speed Skating and Snowboarding.

Speed Skating

Speed skating is largely split into two forms, short track which is on a 111 metre circuit and long track that is on one that is longer. It is unclear how they got their names.

The longer form of the sport is graceful and dignified like a swan on a lake. Short track is chaotic and fraught with danger, much like a swan on a frozen lake.

The Queen of England is apparently not keen on swans partaking in either version, or indeed any sport, as she prefers for them to get fat before she has them for her tea.

In long track, only two competitors are allowed on the ice at one time, usually a courting couple who will hold hands, exchange pleasantries and skate aimlessly around the circuit. The winner is the one who doesn’t say, “Sod this, let’s go to the pub.”

Short track is a much more unruly affair with up to six skaters on the ice at once, all of them going hell for leather round the track. The aim is to build up enough speed that once you are overtaken, you can take out your opponents at the knee, using your sharpened blades to slice them open like some slasher Kung Fu movie.


Many skaters wear smooth ceramic or carbon fibre tips on the left hand glove to reduce friction when their hand is on the ice at corners and also so they can operate the touch screens on their smartphones to take selfies when crossing the finishing line.

Team pursuit is another variation where one group chases after a group of foreigners whilst simultaneously being chased by a group of foreigners. It is believed that Great Britain expects to excel at this post Brexit.

What to say: They’re some super fast clogs the Dutch are wearing.

What not to say: Is Elise Chirstie planning on skating the whole thing on her arse?

Can you recreate it at home? Yes, if you own a swan.


The only event in the Winter Olympics exclusively aimed at children. Gold medalist Red Gerard, 17, is the oldest ever competitor in the competition and will be forced to retire when he reaches 18.


Named after that other famous Red Gerrard, Steven, he took up the sport when he saw his namesake hero perform a ‘Fakie Ollie’ versus Chelsea in 2014.

There are various disciplines including Freestyle, Half-Pipe and Big Air which are coincidentally, the names of Jamie Oliver’s first three children.

The aim of the sport is to perform tricks in front of a number of judges. The lack of clarity about what ‘perform tricks’ meant resulted in some ugly scenes at the 1998 games in Japan when Paul Daniels turned up with the employees of a Texan brothel. The judges liked it, but not a lot.

To clarify the tricks, snowboarding expert Roger Mellie was drafted in to explain a number of terms including Stalefish, Frontside Rodeo and The Gutterball. His Profanisaurus is now seen as the bible to all snowboarding enthusiasts.


What to say: Fantastic Super Mindy, followed by a Mule Kick.

What not to say: An impressive Stiffy followed by a Rippey Flip.

Can you recreate it at home? Possibly but good luck in asking your partner if you can perform a Rusty Trombone.

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