Simpleton’s Guide To The Winter Olympics (Downhill Skiing and Skeleton)

Downhill Skiing and Skeleton

Occasionally you can switch on the TV during the Winter Olympics and think the world has gone mad with their crazy sports like Freestyle Skiing, Snowboarding and Figure Skating, and you hark back to the days when all you would see was someone hurtling down a mountain on a pair of skis or a sledge.

Today I bring you none of that new-fangled nonsense and concentrate on two sports that will appeal to traditionalists who want to win back control from snowboarders.

Downhill skiing

I’m using the term Downhill Skiing to cover a range of disciplines that would more commonly be known as Alpine Skiing but as I’m attempting to appeal to the traditionalists, I wouldn’t get very far by putting foreign words like Alpine in the title.

The sport had been dominated by the Austrians and the Swiss with the sport’s most famous name being Franz Klammer, also well known for writing the theme tune to popular eighties TV show, Miami Vice.

The aim of the sport is to stay upright on the snow and ice whilst negotiating a number of gates in the right order and avoiding death or serious injury. Pretty much the same as a postman’s route in Glasgow.

The sport was made popular in the late seventies by BBC TV Show, Ski Sunday. Favoured by grannies who could sit nursing a Fondant Fancy, waiting for Songs of Praise to start whilst shouting “I hope the bugger smashes his knees” at colourfully clad foreigners.

The shows theme tune, surprisingly not written by Franz Klammer, is still popular today with it’s lyrics “De de de, de de de, de de de, de de de”  being sung by all the competitors as they career down the slopes.

Franz Klammer

What to say: This course reminds me of the black route I did in Switzerland.

What not to say: I prefer the them tune to Airwolf.

Can you do it at home? Yes. Strap two bits of laminate flooring to your feet and try and get out of the garden.


Skeleton is a sledging sport similar to luge with the main difference being that you go down the slope head first. In theory this means that you would be able to see where you are going but to date, nobody has managed to do it with their eyes open.

Ned Flanders

Named due to an unfortunate incident where the sport’s inventor, Skinny Bono, had his skin ripped from his body on a track in Austria, leaving nothing but a skeleton and a firmly shut pair of eyes and not very shut at all sphincter.

The other main difference to sports such as the luge is that the British are actually quite good at it.

Nobody knows how the likes of Lizzy Yarnold and Dom Parsons are battling for medals however their controversial aerodynamic outfits have come in for a lot of attention. GB coaches are unrepentant with an unnamed source saying “We used to do it in a pair of Geordie Jeans and a Christmas Jumper, it’s about time we caught up with the rest of the world.”

Geordie Jeans

What to say: Did you know what Lizzy Yarnold used to be a heptathlete?

What not to say: That suit’s so tight I can see her heptathlon.

Can you recreate it at home? Yes. Slip on a full body condom and leap on a tea tray. (Please do this with caution, it has been the undoing of many a Tory MP.)

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