User Input

User Input: A Modest Proposal for the Winter Olympics


The 1936 Italian bobsleigh team engages in hijinks.

Good morning everyone. The quadriannual Winter Olympics are well under way, and I for one have been watching far too much of them. I especially enjoy the biathlons, as I enjoy target shooting and detest skiing when it involves me. One can only marvel at the marksmanship of the athletes after they ski a couple of miles around a mountain (up and down hill) then stop and try to shoot 5 small targets at 100 yards (or so), all while breathing like a bellows and their hearts racing, then getting up and doing it again (and again and again sometimes). Good stuff.

Watching the other events, however, I couldn’t help but notice that there are long, boring intervals during the competitions (sometimes the entire competition) that could benefit from something being added. The obvious answer to that is: firearms and/or projectile devices ala the biathlon.

I put the question to the AT staff that aren’t in hiding (something to do with the mayor of Toronto as I understand it) and we worked up a few ideas, which are after the jump.

Ski Jump

The first sport that came to mind was the ski jump. There a lot of competitors but very few really good jumpers, so in order make the event more sporting, why not have the jumpers shoot trap while in flight? You could even have single and double trap events, with each clay pigeon hit adding points to offset a lousy jump.


The luge/skeleton/bobsled events are also crying out for additional activity and a leveled playing field. After their sled is launched, the pilot and passengers are basically just sitting or lying there for the next 57 seconds or so when they could be adding to their point totals to offset their crummy driving. The supine luge pilots could shoot at ceiling targets, or if they use this style of shooting:


 they could shoot at drop targets along the sides. The skeleton pilots would be limited to drop targets, but the bobsledders could have a variety of targets since they’ll have either 2 or 4 guns at hand on a run. Points are subtracted for shooting a team member.

Ice Dancing/Figure Skating

This one posed a problem. Everyone wants to shoot at the ice dancers, but we don’t want to injure them (badly) otherwise they won’t come back for the next Winter Olympics. So we decided that they should have to wear 3 small adhesive AirSoft targets each on their bodies, locations chosen by drawing lots out of a hat. Designated shooters (no, the entire audience can’t shoot) at random locations in the rink would use AirSoft rifles to plink the skaters. Points go to skaters with a low number of hits. Skaters hit too many times must compete in the 2-man luge event.

Downhill/Super G

Skiers must try to strike the target flag on every gate on the course, using the pistol in one hand, or if they miss, the Kabar knife in the other. Points are added for each flag shot or stabbed. Points are subtracted if the skier wipes out and manages to shoot or stab him/herself.


Much like the Downhill/Super G, skiers will try to strike the flags on the gates with their weapons, with the addition of paint-filled landmines that explode when the skier goes off-course a certain distance, dousing the skier with paint but causing no (serious) injuries, except to their egos.


I like curling. I’m constantly amazed at how the players can slide a 3-stone stone some 50 (or so) feet down an ice sheet and place it just where they want it (usually). There are, however, long, dull periods where the teams play conkers instead of curling, i.e., one team places a stone and the other team knocks it out, then the first team knocks that stone out, and so on. Very boring when they do that shit. To liven things up a bit, instead of sweepers, let’s have designated shooters, two from each team, fire plastic slugs from 12 gauge shotguns at the stones to “steer” them between the red lines. Each shooter gets 2 shots per end, with penalties given for taking pot shots at the other team (poor form).

X Game Transplants

These are the snowboard/mogul/aerial events that are largely ignored by adults. Participants must wear 5 targets on their bodies, again chosen by drawing lots from a hat. Designated shooters would use paintball guns to shoot at the participants, with extra points awarded to the shooters for hitting their targets mid-air. Participants lose points for every hit, and if the shooters score exceeds the participants, the participant is banned from the Winter Olympics for life. I think that’s only fair.

That’s what we’ve come up with so far. What other additions or modifications can you lot come up with? We’d like to come up with something to submit to the IOC before the next Winter Olympics.

Photo credits: top photo: Australian Olympic Committee website; supine shooters: Research Press website

  • Ooooh…we weren't supposed to mention the connection between Deartháir's disappearance and the Mayor of Toronto until the mayor wins his reelection campaign.

    Poor Deartháir. Even fuzzy handcuffs begin to hurt after a while.

  • I propose that the bobsleighs have a tail gunner (using a belt fed machine gun of course) and fixed forward firing guns on the sleigh.

    Skating and hockey should take place on the same rink and the same time.

    Speed skating and curling should be on the same ice at the same time, bonus points to the curlers for knocked down skaters.

    Luge, skeleton, and bobsled should be run head to head on parallel tracks that feature at least 3 crossovers (think figure 8 short track race).

    All sleds shall use rocket power.

    More trees on the snowboard course.

    A team event with three olympic events chosen at random and a team of five athletes chosen at random from a country's team. "You signed up for snowboard, but now you are doing luge, biathlon, and figure skating!" (This is sort of what happens with pentalon in the summer games. I saw the equestrian pentathlon events at the 1996 games, lots of guys going headfirst off the horses.)

    Live wolves and bears on the cross country course.

    Biathlon to allow fully automatic weapons, better yet you must use your country's service rifle (in full auto mode of course)

    • The Professor

      Sigh, you never disappoint. Lots of good ideas, especially simultaneous events like ice dancing and hockey, but let's not (seriously) injure the participants.

      I think that the additional trees on the snowboarder's course should be acacias, lots of 'em. Maybe some blackberry bushes too.

  • I was thinking that Curling would be better livened up by "Cowboy Action Curling." In this version a 42 pound 'rock' (actually hard plastic and lead shot, no need to waste Ailsa Craig's finest on this) is slid down the ice at a 'button', but instead of sweeping opposing team members shuffle from station to station firing various antiquated weapons at the stone to get it to go where they want. Disqualification for shooting your opponent's leg.

    The ski jumpers could do double duty as 'pigeons'; where another sport is played by trying to hit them with clays launched from a trap. Jumpers may fend off clays with their skis only, and a 'hit' must be on the body.

    Claymore mines. Snowboarders. Done.

    Speed skating would be livened up by significant doses of Ex-Lax and the elimination of clothing. (What wouldn't?!)

    • claymores might be a little tough to get passed, may random airbags buried under the snow?

      • I was thinking for many of the snowboarding and skiing events you could have mines off piste that cover the athlete in paint when triggered.

      • The Professor

        Yeah, what engineered said, and didn't I mention paint landmines?
        Anyway, put a dozen designated shooters on each side of the half pipe and no snowboarder will make it down with an unpainted square inch.

      • Airbags, awesome! This is totally along the line I was thinking, I want to see mines that the skiers have to avoid that would send them flying, limbs flailing hilariously, through the air, to land moderately unscathed in the snow. I think airbags would fit the bill nicely!

        • The airbags can be marked for the skiers. Randomly placed and hidden for the snowboarders though.

    • The Professor

      I like the idea of shooting clay pigeons at the ski jumpers, that would wonderfully random (ever try to throw clay pigeons with a hand launcher? You should try it, it's harder than it sounds).
      The claymores are a bit much, unless they're paint claymores. Remember, we don't want to hurt (seriously) any of the participants, else they won't come back to be shot at again. Call it "target conservation".

  • I don't watch the Olympics as much as I used to. Maybe it has something to do with my decreased appetite for national rivalries. I mean it was fun beating Russia back in the day but now, the bloom is off the rose. I feel no pride in beating unpronounceable-stan and no shame in losing to a country that has nothing else going for it, like Canada.

    What hunt would I have a dog in? How about skiers vs. snowboarders! Full contact of course. Something like a Chinese Downhill, but maybe two on two, and four on four. That's something that would get me watching.

    • The Professor

      I like the skiers x snowboarders idea, especially if we give them paintball guns.

      I've been watching the Olympics almost entirely on the internet video feeds, and mostly the replays, because time difference. It's a lot more pleasant because the old national rivalries are pretty much not visible. Plus, you get to watch all the athletes compete, not just the Americans and the eventual winners, like what you get on NBC. I like rooting for everybody.

  • cruisintime

    Curling is an elaborate Hoax imposed upon us by our Northern Friends.
    Not unlike the French feeding you frogs legs.

    • It's actually quite a fun game to play. I used to Curl at the Cape Cod Curling Club 'cause my girlf at the time was a member. It's not too much fun to watch, though. Up there with bowling and American Shuffleboard. Or regular shuffleboard.

    • The Professor

      Bah, there's a long (long) history of the Scots throwing stones at each other. Curling developed in an area where they ran out of easily-throwable stones, and had to resort to sliding big ones across the frozen lochs at each other. Never underestimate the antipathy of a Scot towards a Scot.

      • cruisintime

        Not to mention tossing the Caber.

      • Actually if the curling stones were hurled overhand or at least an arc like softball, that could add some interest.

        • Vairship

          Especially if done on (thin) natural ice, it'll be somewhat like dunk-the-daddy!

  • I love the Winter Olympics, particularly as a celebration of the great diversity of the world's white people.

    • The Professor

      Well, the events are taking place in the Caucasus mountains….

    • cruisintime

      Jesse Owens?

  • rovingardener

    I would like to see ice dancing with all teams in a group simultaneously performing with a paint ball element amongst themselves.Each flight of five or six teams would have unique colors for each team.

    For pairs figure skating I propose something similar with each flight of five to six teams performing simultaneously. I propose a minimum of three throw moves and opposing teams getting triple points for paint balls (or laser tag if done in the dark) when they strike while the opposition is in the air.

    Anything that hits a snowboarder when in the air should be a sport unto itself, possibly using biathlon athletes as shooters, though I'm not sure how this could be worked out.

  • Nick Rivers
  • PeterTheNot-so-Great

    Here's an easy way to liven up downhill skiing–just make all the courses more than 2000 meters long.

    [youtube TyrNvCUy_GQ youtube]