I know I'm going to catch heat on this one from certain quarters, but I just have to say it.
If what you do for your country's Winter Olympic effort is to be one of the people riding in the back of the bobsled it doesn't really make you an athlete. A participant, yes, and certainly a person with lots of intestinal fortitude, but an athlete, I don't see it that way.
If what you do to bring home glory to your home country is to be on the curling team, and you get out on the ice, wearing shoes, and sweep a broom to make a slick path for a 40-pound oblate stone to get to a goal, that's admirable and noteworthy and probably pretty doggone cool. But athletic? Sweeping? I can sweep, and these days I can't hardly walk, what with my back.
Now here's the one that's gonna cause people all over to hit the 'comment' button. How is it that FOX Sports covers NASCAR races? I mean, I can drive, usually better than this and although I'll admit that I like the way these guys make nothing but LEFT turns, and that it takes a whole lot of courage to drive at 200 mph in a car that advertises laundry detergent all over it, it's still driving. Just a little bit faster than the Baltimore Beltway at rush hour, but no more dangerous.
Whereas, even the 25th man on any major league baseball team - heck, any minor-league baseball team - was always the greatest athlete in his family, neighborhood, school, college or athletic association, by far. Even a roly-poly third-string catcher with severe buttular splinterization from watching 150 games per year from the bullpen has athletic gifts and strength and power and grace to a sublime degree.
I know there will be a lot of people who take issue with all this, and I invite you to reply with your thoughts! Just send them, along with $5 cash to cover shipping and handling, to Mr. I. Con O'Clast, c/o Battle Creek, MI.