Press-Republican

Columns

February 23, 2014

Olympics 2018, here I come

Who hasn’t dreamed, just once, of being an Olympian?

Breaking the tape in the 100-meter dash. Lighting the lamp against the Russian hockey team. Executing the perfect Triple Lindy off the springboard.

Perhaps there is nowhere else in the country where Olympic dreams — at least Winter Olympic dreams — are more possible than they are here. Courtesy of Lake Placid’s history, facilities and infrastructure, anyone who wants to learn, work and prepare has a gold medal opportunity.

The average kid from Indiana, for instance, doesn’t have a luge track in his backyard, or a 120-meter ski jump tower in the park down the street.

Still, to most of us, the Olympic dream is just fantasy. Watching two weeks of inspiring Sochi competition, however, has got me thinking. If you’re clever, you too can make the trip to Pyeongchang in 2018.

No, you’re not going to play on the Olympic hockey team. Yes, you probably would shoot yourself in the foot if you tried the biathlon. But here are some ways that you, too, can join in the fun:

• Join the U.S. curling team. This is the most obvious one, but that’s because it’s also the most realistic. An ice sport that requires many of the same skills as notable senior-citizen activities shuffleboard, bocce and sweeping up the kitchen because company is coming, curling does not have any particular physical requirements. It’s also a sport that the U.S. is terrible at, meaning that there should be openings.

I will allow that the skip — the one who slides the giant rock down the ice — needs some modicum of skill, knowledge and experience. The two who run just in front of the rock, however, sweeping up imaginary sandwich crumbs, could be replaced by just about anyone with a broom. Why not you?

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