Winter Sports

Melina Hughes

Illustration by Sophie Cooper-Ellis.

It’s finally here, the time for which we’ve all been waiting: the Winter Olympics. I know this year I will be curled up on my couch, wrapped in a blanket, wearing a parka, mittens and ski mask, sipping hot cocoa while watching my favorite winter sporter duke it out for the bronze, silver and frozen, I mean golden, medal. What sports will I be watching, you ask? While the classics, such as luge and curling (who can say no to a sport in which a household chore is part of the competition?), are great, they are certainly not my favorites to watch.

Of course I will be watching the most rigorous sport: the ice javelin competition, where the most fearless of competitors race to find the largest possible icicles, scaling cliffs and skiing down mountains back to the javelin range, where they will then attempt to impale snowmen of varying distances through the head.

And without a doubt I will be watching everybody’s favorite sport, even if it has parental advisory warnings for being the most brutal and violent sport featured in the Winter Olympics: competitive team snowball fighting. A little known fact about the sport is that it was almost banned from the Olympics following the 1998 “Yellow Snowball Scandal.”

The event featuring the oldest Olympians by far is my favorite event: the traditional sweater knitting sprint, also known as the TSKS. This fast-paced race to the hem lasts just under 48 hours of non-stop needle-to-needle action as the world’s most skilled grandmothers knit their nation’s traditional sweater patterns. I have my money on the winner of the 2010 Winter Games: Francis McClaggen, 72, who was the youngest gold medalist of the TSKS, taking her first win for a gorgeous Fair Isle wool sweater.