Dom Joly: Let's bring snowballing in from cold

Weird World of Sport: It could be like javelin but ... with snowballs

Share
Related Topics

I'm in Whistler, British Columbia, and all the talk on the "street" is about the Winter Olympics hosted by Vancouver in February next year. I'm quite fascinated by the Winter Olympics – I totally get that the Olympics were first conceived in Ancient Greece so that young men could run and throw things before grappling naked for hours and hours.

The Winter Olympics, however, is a little trickier. There's not a whole lot of snow in Greece so there was not that much snowboarding going on. I presume that very cold countries got a bit cheesed off with not doing very well in the Summer Olympics and decided that they should be represented in the Olympic arena. The extraordinary thing is that there are only seven sports featured in a Winter Olympics – skiing, skating, bobsleigh, luge, biathlon, ice hockey and curling. There are 86 medals to be won within the variations of these events but surely they could have come up with more events?

New sports for Vancouver 2010 are snowboard cross and the team pursuit for long track speed skating ... how about snowballing? It could be like javelin but ... with snowballs. Maybe it needn't be distance, it could be target-based. A man dressed as an American wearing a T-shirt with something rude on it about Canada could weave around the arena while the athletes aim to hit him.

What about snowperson-making? (Sorry, I've been in Canada for a while and have become very PC). This could be done on height of snowperson, with the tallest one winning. Competitors would not be able to use ladders or any help, so they'd have to climb up their own snowperson to do the top and would eventually collapse down in a heap. Maybe the snowballers could aim at the snowperson makers. I'm just riffing here... They could at least have a basic toboggan race from the top of a mountain to the bottom. I know things like bobsleigh and skeleton are dangerous (I did the Calgary Bobsleigh run and still have nightmares about it) but a no-rules downhill race would be awesome. I think I'll go and have a word with the organising committee when I get to Vancouver.

One thing I have got excited about already is the mascots. In Beijing they were a bit weird and kept popping up all over the place , with incredibly overheated young Chinese dancing in inflatable costumes. The mascots for Vancouver include, rather wonderfully, Quatchi, who is a huge, hairy Sasquatch. This, for those of you who don't know, is the infamous Bigfoot – the hairy missing link that is supposed to wander the thick woods of this area.

I love the fact that Bigfoot will be part of the Olympics. He looks a little like a crazy Chewbacca. The blurb that goes with each mascot tells me that "Quatchi loves all winter sports but he's especially fond of hockey. He dreams of becoming a world-famous goalie..." I'm hoping that he'll show a bit of attitude and let his new-found official recognition go to his large head. I want to see him beating up the other mascots in true ice-hockey style. They should bring out the mascots at half-time and just let them go at each other. Quatchi would quickly become a huge cult figure as Canadians, despite being a very polite bunch, love their ice hockey fights.

These should actually be an Olympic sport in themselves. I've never quite understood the rules. Everybody seems to give the fighters about 30 seconds to whack each other as they all stand in a circle around them (presumably chanting "fight, fight") before eventually intervening in a half-hearted fashion. Why stop it? If this is what the public want then give it to them. It could help hark back to Ancient Greece – it's Gladiators... on ice... with a Sasquatch... I'd watch it.

The other mascots are a rather fey "Seabear", a Marmot (a large squirrel) and the obligatory nod to "First Nations" Sumi – an "Animal Guardian Spirit". Quatchi will have these other three for breakfast. He's already a firm favourite with my kids, who want to head off into the forest to find the real deal. I'm up for that as I have always fancied myself as a bit of a Crypto zoologist (loony monster-hunter). I'm sure that I once saw the Loch Ness Monster but I was tipsy so I can't be certain... but I digress.

Canadian road skis put skids under opposition

Everywhere you look here you see Canadians zooming around on "road skis" – a kind of cross-country skiing on wheels. It looks incredibly tiring so I haven't tried it but I wouldn't bet against them in the cross-country events.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
An Italian policeman stands guard as migrants eat while waiting at the port of Lampedusa to board a ferry bound for Porto Empedocle in Sicily. Authorities on the Italian island of Lampedusa struggled to cope with a huge influx of newly-arrived migrants as aid organisations warned the Libya crisis means thousands more could be on their way  

Migrant boat disaster: EU must commit funds to stop many more dying

Alistair Dawber
Illegal African migrants arrive at the port in the Tunisian town of Zarzis, some 50 kilometres west of the Libyan border after Tunisian fishermen rescued 82 African migrants off the coast of the town aboard a makeshift boat bound for the Italian island of Lampedusa  

Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

Andrew Grice
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own