Posted by: Paul | February 20, 2010

Amy Williams and the Quest for the Golden Skeleton

Against my expectations, I’m thoroughly enjoying the Winter Olympics. Despite below par performances from Britain in several areas in which might we have been expected to be closer to the podium, there has, in the last few Olympics at least, been one area you can rely on for a result – and it’s the most insane event with the best name of the entire games – SKELETON.

The British have a reputation for eccentricity and you certainly need to be at least a bit “off the wall”, in my opinion, to consider hurling yourself down a bobsleigh track on what is essentially a tea tray balanced on a grill rack at up to 90mph. Reading up about it on the Oracle Of All Things (i.e. Wikipedia), it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’ve had success, since Britain has plenty of previous here – including inventing the sport and designing the sled from which the sport gets its name – the original looked like a human skeleton.

So now we have an Olympic Champion in the charming Amy Williams, and at least one person on Team GB comes home having excelled. I don’t mean to be overly critical – we are not a nation that has much of a history of success in Winter Sports, and the medal prediction is modest to say the least. It’s just that several people were built up quite significantly in the run up (Chemmy Alcott, Zoe Gillings to name two), and they didn’t get anywhere near the podium in the end. I think our expectations probably need to be managed better by the media next time – after all, they did amazingly well to place in the top ten at all since much of their funding disappeared last year when British Winter Sport went bust.

Still – one medal on the board, and it’s gold. Well done Amy! And there’s still the Curling to go, which I’ve been watching every day at 5pm without fail. Partly because of the extraordinary eyes of women’s team captain Eve Muirhead, which have me hypnotised like the Demon Headmaster, she must have cast some kind of spell. If they win gold – and on their day they can beat anyone, same as the men’s team who are also in with a good shout – then she is going to be very famous indeed.

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