Monday, February 20, 2006

OLYMPICS KVETCHING There's a lot I don't understand about the winter Olympics. But I thought I had a good handle on ski jumping.

And then I learned about the style points.

Style points?

Clearly, aesthetic judgments are necessary in events like skating and gymnastics. But in ski jumping?

We don't care--it seems superfluous even to ask--whether a 100 meter sprint winner has exhibited more grace than her competitors.

The same is true of discus throwers, speed skaters and high jumpers. And, for that matter, tennis players.

I mean, can you picture Roger Federer winning a closely-fought Wimbledon final, and then losing the championship because Andy Roddick demonstrated more poise?

It's preposterous. But that's the road the sport of ski jumping has gone down.

My advice to the International Ski Federation:

1. Let women compete at the Olympics. Seriously: You're making yourselves look bad.

2. Let the jumpers jump. Send the judges on holiday. Can't resist wondering which jumper had the superior stylistic approach? Take another look at the the results: The jumper who jumped furthest--his style's the one the rest of the jumpers should think about emulating.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.