The British skeleton bobber Shelley Rudman said on TV the other night that the skeleton is not, as some people think, a tea tray. And she's right. It's more like a washboard. Shelley won a silver medal in the event at the last Winter Olympics in Turin, and Amy Williams got a gold last night in Vancouver, Britain's first female individual gold in a Winter Olympics since 1952. Their event is exciting and excruciating to watch, but rather than "skeleton" it would be more accurately called "throwing yourself down a mountain lying face down on a washboard, head first". It's insane, which may be why Britain does so well at it. A country which is not exactly the strongest at the winter games has won at least one medal at this sport every damn time it's been in the games, culminating in last night's completely dominating performance by a woman who twice smashed the track record, once broke the record for fastest start, and eventually won by well over half a second, an eternity in terms of the skeleton.
I've also enjoyed the snowboard cross, or "throwing yourself down a mountain side by side with some other people while standing on an ironing board". This is also exciting and features people diving arse over tit on a regular basis (those two things are not, in all honesty, entirely unrelated). And short track speed skating is likewise, for essentally the same reasons.
It's the curling that I'm really watching, though, as usual in the Winter Olympics. Scotland (as the officially "Great Britain" team would be more accurately named-- when England once amazingly qualified for the World Championship, all four of even THAT team were Scots) is doing fairly well, especially in the women's event, where they yesterday took the reigning European champions, Germany, to the cleaners (no washboards in sight though) by a margin of 7-4. They've won three games so far and lost one, while the men have won two and lost two but are looking okay for a place in the semi-finals. I've been staying up until five and six in the morning to watch this, and will not be stopping until the medals are presented.
BUT, the event I'm thinking of entering next time (along with Susan, but she doesn't know it yet, so keep it to yourselves) is the ice dancing. Marks are awarded in this for degree of difficulty, and as absolutely anything at all would be insanely difficult for us, especially bearing in mind our size and shape, all we'd have to do to win the gold would be to stay on our feet for more than five seconds. I reckon that in four years we would probably be able to master that.
And if she doesn't want to do it, I'll go to a jumble sale and get myself a washboard.