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Gary Hall Jr.: What are the winner and loser winter sports?

February 14, 2010 | 12:26 pm

Olyblog

What are the winner and loser winter sports?

It’s the Olympics and there are winners and losers determined in the sports being contested; why not have winner and loser sports?

There’s some guy out there who came in last place at the Olympics. Does it mean that guy is terrible at his sport? No, of course not! He’s a great athlete just like the worst Olympic sport is still a great sport.

There are Olympic statisticians that I don’t have access to who could better identify the winner and loser sport based on actual statistics. I’m just going to determine the loser sport at the end of this article through some crude guessing method.

Criteria for the judging:

1) The loser sport should have both the lowest ticket price and lowest television ratings. The winner has the highest.

2) Empty seats at the Olympic Games are a sign of a loser sport. The higher attendance in the larger venue scores higher scores.

3) General participation should also be considered.

Apolo Anton Ohno may be one of the best short-track speedskaters in the world (and a really superb dancer), but how many registered short-track competitors are there in the world? Are there 20,000 in the entire world? I would be shocked if there were more.

I’m not arguing that a low sport participation level discounts what these athletes are doing, athletically. Short track truly is remarkable and exciting to watch.

Considering that short-track speedskating has been an Olympic event only since the 1992 Games, it’s understandable that participant levels don’t match that of other sports that have been around for a longer time.

It is my firm belief that more competitors = tougher competition, and tougher competition gets higher points when determining the winner winter sport.

You may be the best short-track skater in the world, but if your world consists of 20,000 people it’s less impressive than a world of millions of skiers.

There are winner athletes in loser sports. There are incredible athletes that excel in their unpopular sport and elevate the unpopular sport's ranking among the other sports.

Thanks to Apolo Ohno, short-track speedskating is not in danger of earning the title of the loser sport.

John Langbein is an owner of Quint Events. His business is one of the largest Olympic ticket brokers in the world, which isn’t that impressive since there are fewer than 20,000 ticket broker businesses in the world.

According to John, the highest-priced ticket for the Winter Olympics is for gold-medal hockey.

The lowest-priced ticket? Curling.

Add up the crackpot rating system I am inventing, and curling is the loser sport of the Winter Olympics. Sorry, curlers, all 182 of you.

The winning sport that has the highest attendance with the highest ticket price and the highest television ratings should win a gold medal as a sport, and a bonus from the International Olympic Committee reflective of the gratitude the IOC should have for that particular sport.

The winner sport is swimming, if swimming was a winter sport.

-- Gary Hall Jr.

Photo: Thomas Ulsrud of Norway slides through the house as he prepares to throw the rock during a curling training session. Credit: AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty.

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