By Wayne Chan
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
The Winter Olympics has been an Olympian effort, if I ever saw one.
I’m not talking about the athletes, although their dedication to their chosen sport is, as always, a marvel to watch. And I’m not talking about any particular country winning a truck load of gold medals either.
No, I’m talking about Beijing, the site of this year’s WINTER Olympics.
I’m highlighting “WINTER” because this is the first winter Olympics where the competition is taking place in a city with virtually no snow. Every venue, from snowboarding, the luge, to Alpine skiing, is all done on man-made snow. Olympian effort, indeed!
Watching some of the coverage on TV, it became immediately apparent to me. Just beyond any of the ski runs, if you look carefully at the backdrop, you don’t see the normal snow lined fir trees in the background. What you do see is low-lying brush and foliage, or as someone like me who lives in Southern California might call it, “my backyard.”
That means the International Olympic Committee awarded the Winter Olympics to a city with no snow. In other words, snow is no longer a requirement for a city to host the Winter Olympics.
I’m not trying to criticize China for hosting the Winter Olympics in a city with no snow. The Olympics bring a lot of prestige to a city. And I don’t mean to make light of the fact that experts warn that future Winter Olympic games will undoubtedly face similar changes due to climate change.
But this development does raise some intriguing possibilities for me. If you don’t need real snow for the Winter Olympics, then you really can hold it anywhere. Why not have the Winter Olympics in San Diego?
Here’s my 30-second elevator pitch to have San Diego host Winter Olympics:
- We can easily replace the giant slalom flags with palm trees. It’ll be the perfect tropical winter wonderland!
- We can save a lot of money on the curling venue by using a local gym and replacing the curling stones with Roomba vacuums—great competition and you end up with a clean gym. Nothing like killing two birds with one Roomba.
- Since running snow machines non-stop can get expensive, we can cut back on some of the less popular winter events and introduce some new events. Take the biathlon, for example. This is the sport where the athlete skis until they’re exhausted and then stops and shoots targets with a rifle.
Personally, unless your name is James Bond, I just don’t see this as a very practical skill. We can still call it the biathlon, but instead of skiing and shooting, let’s adapt it to something more relevant to San Diego. How about a timed event where you ski over to the local taco stand and down some fish tacos?
But one thing I won’t sacrifice—we need to keep skiing as an event. The only question now is, snow…or water?
Wayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.