A complicated look at uncomplicated topics to ameliorate your day.

The Winter Olympics Explained

As explained by a completely impartial Australian Observer

I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains. Of rugged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains. And it’s not a place that’s conducive, to most of the sports in this Olympic Games.

This is a small dossier on the fifteen sports that comprise the Winter Olympics for anyone else who has never made a snowman, didn’t see snow until they were 24 and in a remote Syrian town where they still speak Aramaic (the language of Jesus) and has only ever used a chair lift to get across the Cataract Gorge in Launceston.

The Essentials

There are fifteen sports in the Winter Olympics, split into three main categories –

1. Ice Sports

2. Alpine, Skiing and Snowboarding and

3. Nordic Events.

Every country is required to send their best looking athletes to compete in these games. Why Donald Trump hasn’t just started running his Miss Universe Pageant straight out of the Winter Olympics is a complete mystery. Granted the swimsuit section might get a little nippy but I’m sure these girls would warm everyone’s hearts…

The Five Minute Guide Torah Bright

Alpine, Skiing and Snowboarding


A sport designed by frustrated surfers.

There’s a board, there’s water (albeit frozen), there’s a flying down a slope at breakneck speed involved and instead of the threat of having sharks that come and nibble on your knees while you’re doing it, you just have the threat of knee reconstructions instead.

The USA clearly missed the fine print about the Miss Universe Pageant when sending a man aptly named after a vegetable to compete. But apparently Shaun ‘The Flying Tomato’ White is rather good, he is the only person ever to land a ‘frontside heelflip 540 body varial’, which contrary to popular belief (and incidentally Mr White’s hair) is not a new line of hair colour from L’Oreal and will not give you ‘extra volume’.

The Five Minute Guide The Flying Tomato

Freestyle Skiing

This is not Ian Thorpe and Michael Phelps on skis doing an interpretive dance, but it is not far off. This is where the artistically frustrated come with their skis to express themselves.

Traditionally you could jump and twist in the air before booking a knee reco upon landing (aerials) or get an express ticket to a knee/hip replacement duo by flying down hill over speedhumps at a rapid speed (moguls). However, seeing as private health care is so good these days, they’ve also added Ski Slopestyle and Ski Halfpipe in case by some miracle your knees have managed to survive the first two.

Alpine Skiing

Ever wondered what all of those actors from the James Bond movies of the 80s did in their spare time?

Now you know.

The Five Minute Guide James Bond

Nordic Events


Ah, the Olympic Event for the Modern Multitasker. Don’t have time to go skiing and then go and shoot shit? Now you can do it all at the same time! Magnificent!

Cross Country Skiing

This is like the Cross Country Running we did in school, only with less snakes and spiders to kill you and more snow and picturesque trees to plod about.

Ski Jumping

Designed by some bored Norwegians who were sitting around listening to the Space Jam soundtrack, believing they can fly and wondering how they could use their skis and pogo sticks at the same time.

Has now developed to the point where instead of bouncing up and down on skis, they now launch themselves off ramps and flying into the air whilst on skis. R. Kelly, you have a lot to answer for.

Nordic Combined

Unfortunately for every hot-blooded Australian male this is not the title of an excellent piece of Adult Cinema, it is actually an event.

But don’t worry, gold medals are still awarded for those who do it best, albeit ironically, the quickest.

Ice Sports

(The home of Disney Movie Magic)


Everything I know about Bobsled, I learnt from Cool Runnings.

Which means that I know all teams acclimatise themselves by sitting in ice cream trucks, they train by sitting in a bathtub together, all coaches look like John Candy and are actually SP Bookies on the side and the most important thing you must do before the race is check that all of the screws are tightened and in place.

The Five Minute Guide Cool Runnings


Otherwise known as ‘I have a death wish’.

Ice Hockey

Three words. The Mighty Ducks.

And just like that, Disney brought the wonder of Ice Hockey to the world. And when revenues were looking slim, they then recreated the joy of 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics, where the US Men’s Ice Hockey team won gold.

The 5 Minute Guide The Mighty Ducks

Every thing you need to know about Ice Hockey is in these movies.

– Minnesota is the home of Ice Hockey and all of the best players come from there
– As do all of the actors in the movies
– Recovering alcoholic lawyers make the best junior coaches
– Don’t drive your limo on the ice
– It’s not 1,2,3 Go Team! It’s Quack, Quack, Quack, Quack
– Apart from hooking up with Goldie Hawn, starring in Miracle is the best thing Kurt Russell ever did
– When it comes to Ice Hockey, it’s never just about sport, it is always about the Cold War
– If you have to take a penalty shot, the triple-deke never fails. Ever.

Although, I am still waiting to see the Flying V at the Olympics…

Figure Skating

What better way to add drama to two people skating, twisting and leaping about at great speed on skates with lethal blades than to add opera music and lycra costumes?

Short Track Speed Skating

A sport we know something about. The trick is to go fast, but not too fast, and then to hang around at the back of the pack until everyone else falls over and then cross the line, arms in the air and face in a state of disbelief a la national hero Steven Bradbury.

The Five Minute Guide Steven Bradbury

But seriously, what did Apolo Ohno expect? As they say, it’s all in the name…

Speed Skating

Like the shorter version, but longer.


Invented by Snow White to amuse herself and her dwarves & keep her arms and broom in form during the winter frosts. This event involves the intense sweeping of the ice as the big pot of boiling stew is pushed backwards and forwards.

Winners are given a gold medal and the title – Ultimate Housewife.


This video says it all.

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February 2014

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