Here’s something else the United States isn’t good at: Skiing around a loop with a high powered rifle strapped to your back which you will use intermittently to shoot at targets before taking off skiing again. Oddly, the most successful countries at this event are the historically war-torn, frigid countries whose people have a history of actually having to shoot things while skiing. One historian notes:
“Historical descriptions of warriors on skis date back to before Christ and include writings from Xenophon, Strabol, Arrian, Teophanes, Prokopius, and Acruni.”
That’s a lot of famous writers! No word on what Goethe or Tolstoy thought of the event, but Germany and Russia seem to be dominating the events along with Norway, who you have to assume just fancy going out on skis and shooting things up. The U.S. can’t seem to finish any biathlon event higher than ninth. No wonder Hemmingway once wrote of the biathlon: “It is a great event for people unhurried by nobler efforts such as fishing and drinking.”
Which got me to thinking, like Hem often does. Since Americans frequently succeed in sports they create (like Snowboarding), why not create a new biathlon combination? Such as:
1. Ice fishing / Running with tennis racquets on feet. Drill a hole in the ice, catch a fish and then take off running on snowshoes – carrying your catch!
2. Free throw shooting / Sledding. Sink 10 consecutive free throws then immediately turn around and launch yourself down a hill on a sled. You must carry your sled back up the hill for round two, ruining all the fun.
3. Snow dog racing / Show dog grooming. Race a 5K Iditarod-style event followed up by grooming your sled dogs for a grueling battle for Best In Show.
I’m just thinking outside the box here. Sure, my suggestions might not be steeped in “history,” but I think we can all agree that is Prokopius was writing about it, it’s probably out of style anyway.
(Note: It may seem like I’m making fun of the biathlon. This is not so. On the contrary, I can think of few things sexier than a woman skiing down a hill with a loaded weapon. Except maybe a woman skiing down a hill with a loaded weapon, wearing a bikini and telling me how funny my blog is. Yeah, that would do it.)