Sunday, March 14, 2010

Don't Forget the Paralympics

I've never understood why the Paralympics aren't held before the Olympics instead of after. Holding them before would be such a perfect testing platform for transportation, volunteers, scoring & timing, accommodations, food service, and so forth. By the time the Olympics are over, the public is all Olympic-ed out, a lot of the volunteers don't show up because they've used up their vacation time or are just plain exhausted, the local natives are sick of all the inconveniences, and so forth. It gives short shrift to the para athletes.

If anything, the Paralympics is a better show than the Olympics. The paras may not have the star power of NHL players or the odd Apolo Ohno / Lindsey Vonn crossover star, but 100% of the para athletes are there simply because they love to play. None are eyeing an appearance on Jay Leno or a bigger endorsement contract. They just want to compete for the love of sport, which is the basic principle upon which the Olympics was founded, a principle largely forgotten at the Olympics.

The ski racing conditions at Pissler during the Olympics were appalling, as you know from my earlier posts. The result from almost every ski race was compromised by terrible weather and slushy snow. And THAT was in mid-February, in the heart of winter. This week, the Paralympics are trying to get off their ski races with Spring fast approaching, and it is not going well. Several training runs were canceled this week by fog in The Sewer, and today's DH was postponed by (shockingly) more fog in The Sewer.

The good news is that nobody will ever have to deal with the challenges of ski racing at Pissler again in our lifetime. Word among the ski racing community is that the Olympic ski races were such a disaster due to the coastal weather and the fog that Alpine Canada will never hold another national-level race there.

But of course, that's what everyone said in 1998 after the 3rd straight attempt at holding a World Cup at Creekside ended up without a racer leaving the gate.

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